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Water Heater Pilot Light Problems

Hot water heaters stop working for a number of reasons, but the most common reason is because the pilot light won't stay on. Here's why:

Pilot Lights

A pilot light is a small gas flame that powers your gas burner. When that light goes out, your water heater doesn't work.

"Nothing Happens When I Light It"

With age, parts stop working and usually the pilot light is the first to go . If you constantly try to light the pilot light and nothing happens, here are some reasons why:


The thermocouple may need to be replaced, which is the tube that connects to the left or right side of the pilot light and detects if it's lit or not. If not, the heater turns off. If the thermocouple is bent, it can usually be bent back into place.


Dirt can build up quite a bit with age and can get in the way of sensors, like the thermocouple. In this case, clean the pilot light and thermocouple. The dirt should be visible, if not, dirt is not the problem.

Gas Supply

Without gas, your pilot light won't spark and you won't have hot water unless you have an electric hot water heater. Call a professional to check your gas supply to ensure it's connected properly

Bad Electrical

For electric water heaters, if a fuse keeps blowing, you'll need to contact an electrician to fix it. Without electricity, the pilot light won't light. Your thermostat may not be working or your heating coil could be the culprit as well. Only a professional will be able to diagnose and repair.

If your pilot light keeps going out, call 72 Degrees Comfort Company at 515-965-7272 or email us at

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