Lighting a pilot light in a gas water heater can be tricky, but for the do-it-yourselfer who feels comfortable with it, here are a few simple steps. Remember that working with gas can be dangerous, and if anything feels unsafe, get help from a professional right away.
Step #1: Turn Down the Temperature
Your gas water heater should have a temperature control knob or dial. The first thing you’ll need to do is set this to the lowest level.
Step #2: Turn the Heater Off
Turn the knob that controls the gas to the position labeled pilot. If there’s no pilot label, turn it to the off position.
Step #3: Wait for all the Gas to Dissipate
This step is critically important. If any gas is in the air, you could cause an explosion. Wait 5 to 10 minutes for the smell of gas to disappear. If it doesn’t disappear in that time, you may have a leak, so call a professional right away.
Step #4: Remove the Access Panels
Use the instructions that came with your water heater to perform this step.
Step #5: Light the Pilot Light
Use a flashlight to find the pilot light. It will be a small tube inside the access panel of your water heater. If you have a pilot reset button, press and hold it down as you light the pilot light with a long handled lighter or match.