Is it dangerous if the pilot light goes out on the water heater? This post will answer this question and give recommendations. 

The temperature drops as you relax in a hot shower to prepare for the day. It’s not enjoyable and can put a damper on your morning. A faulty pilot light in the water heater is a common cause of this issue.

If the pilot light in the water heater goes out, losing hot water is inconvenient but not dangerous. Head downstairs and relight the pilot if the water heater ever goes out. 

This can help get the water back up to a usable temperature. Let’s see what could have gone wrong for the pilot light to go out and try to get it going again.

The Mystery of the Pilot Light

Most gas and propane water heaters have a pilot light, while electric versions do not. The burner is usually ignited with a little flame called the pilot light. 

The water in the tank may be heated rapidly thanks to the pilot light, which ignites the gas burner. This is the typical procedure whenever the water heater needs to heat water.

It must stay on at all times, so if it ever goes out, you’ll need to be resourceful in finding a quick fix. There are several straightforward metaphors for the pilot light, but one common example involves a handheld light and a match.

Preparing a meal using a fire or a gas stovetop is only possible if matches or a lighter are available. You can also use this ignition switch to light matches or a lighter.

When the pilot light goes out, there will no longer be hot water in the residence. When you relight your water heater, it will pick up where it left off and produce hot water again.

Can I Let the Pilot Light Switch Off Without Worry?

If your water heater’s pilot light goes out, don’t worry; every drop of water will just turn cold. If you want to use hot water again, you must relight the pilot light. You can have as much hot water as you like if you ignite it quickly.

Is It Dangerous if the Pilot Light Goes Out on the Water Heater

In most circumstances where a pilot light has gone out, all that is usually required to restore heat is to relight it. If the pilot light on your water heater has gone out, try turning it back on and waiting a few minutes before attempting to take a hot shower. 

The indicator light will remain on for an extended period if this occurs, although it usually only occurs once. When the light goes out frequently, though, it’s high time you investigate other potential issues

A foul odor, like that of a rotting egg, might be noticed near the water heater. This foul smell indicates a problem with the water heater and the gas leaks. 

Immediately contact your gas provider and disconnect the gas supply to your home. There would be an enormous explosion if you attempted to light the pilot with that odor present, and anyone could be easily hurt in the process.  

You should investigate the cause of the pilot light’s extinguishment before attempting to light it up. The indicator bulb can switch off unexpectedly at certain times. 

Nevertheless, if the heating element in your home malfunctions and the fire dies out, the issue must be fixed before it happens again.

Three Causes of Outage in the Pilot Light

It’s best to figure out what caused the pilot bulb to switch off before you bother to reignite it. Often, all it takes is a gust of wind to clear it away, but other times there may be more serious, expensive problems with the heating element itself. 

The usual causes of a non-working pilot light in your heating element might be related to one of these:

1. Flame Has Gone Off

 A gust of wind could have extinguished the flame in your pilot light. 

Because the ignition mechanism in sure vintage heaters isn’t enclosed in a windproof space, the heat source is more likely to go out in gusty conditions due to the constant blowing of the wind. 

If your heating element is located near a window or drafty door, this may be the cause.  

2. A Thermocouple That Has Dirt or Has Bent

The thermocouple can detect the pilot light’s status, which turns it on and off. The thermocouple is also designed to extinguish the pilot light if this light goes out, preventing the accumulation of toxic gases

However, it is possible that dirt can accumulate on the thermocouple as time goes by, making it more difficult to detect if the pilot light is lit. If this happens, the indicator light could cease functioning because the gas supply has been cut off. 

Is It Dangerous if the Pilot Light Goes Out on the Water Heater

This accumulation of dirt occurs when things bend slightly during the procedure. If you straighten it out or wipe it down, the indicator light should light up again.

3. Lack of Sufficient Air for Combustion(Oxygen)

There may not be enough oxygen in the air for the pilot light to remain lighted if the water heater is installed in a very closed space. For a fire to continue to burn, oxygen is required. The pilot light may go out if this air isn’t supplied with oxygen in enough quantity. 

That’s a worse issue because it’ll also cause carbon monoxide to accumulate.

4. A Thermocouple That Has Worn Off

If the thermocouple you’re using looks dusty or is bending, it’s time to replace it. Although these pieces of equipment typically have a long service life, failures sometimes occur. 

If the thermocouple that controls the ignition is malfunctioning, the ignition indicator will keep trying to be cut off from the gas.

This causes the power to shut off frequently and randomly. To restore the proper operation of your pilot light, have an expert help you repair this component.

Other Possible Causes of a Dead Pilot Light

5. Problems With the Flex Tube

A long flex tube connects the gas regulator to the burner, which houses the thermocouple and the pilot light. The burner is also connected to the gas regulator. If the flex tube is seriously damaged or obstructed in any way, there will be no gas available to be burned in the burner.

Unlike thermocouple problems, luckily, flex tube malfunctions are relatively rare. This is why it’s essential to double-verify that the thermocouple is in good working condition before worrying about the long flex tube.

Here’s how you can work it out: The Flex Tube must be entirely free of coils. Check for apparent damage that could lead to gas leaks. If gas leaks, less fuel will make it to the burner. It could cause your furnace to flicker or the pilot light to die.

6. The Wiring Wasn’t Up to Code

Most electric water heaters have this issue. This is why you should always have a professional handle installing your water heater. If your water heater turns off unexpectedly, it could be a symptom of a problem with your electrical system.

The Fix: Turn off the heating system and get in touch with a professional right away. Tampering with the electrical system is not permitted. Furthermore, it could be dangerous for you and others in your household. 

7. The Main Regulating Valve Has Broken Down

This could be the rarest issue you ever face. Before beginning tinkering with this component, ensure the pilot tube, thermocouple, and flex tube are all in good working order. The failure of the Main Control Valve Unit occurs infrequently.

Wait to count it out, though immediately; it could be what’s causing your water pilot to malfunction. The gas and water pressure in the heater is controlled by a valve found in the primary control system. It’s the ultimate help for your water heater.

The process is now kicked off by first giving the pilot light a tiny amount of gas. The primary valve is fully opened when the pilot light is activated, ensuring a constant gas flow.

A faint, sputtering flame results from a primary regulating valve that closes without warning, cutting off the gas flow.

Common warnings of a malfunctioning main regulatory valve are:

  • The malfunctioning pilot pushbutton does not activate once you press it
  • Something wrong with the dial
  • Water temperatures beyond the acceptable limit have often been an issue for you.

The solution: A broken primary control valve can’t be easily avoided in any way. Producers don’t recommend trying to repair this yourself. However, some professionals say they can.

Instructions for Lighting the Pilot Light After It Goes Off

The moment has come for us to understand how to reignite the pilot light now that we’ve identified some of the most common causes of its extinguishment. 

Is It Dangerous if the Pilot Light Goes Out on the Water Heater

If there is no rotten egg or gas odor when you enter the area where the heating element is located, try and relight the indicator light. To simplify this procedure, just follow these instructions:

  • Turn the regulating device back down to its minimum setting. 
  • The pilot indicator toggle must be turned on.
  • Remove the water heater’s access panels to get to the pilot light. 
  • Keep your finger on the ignition button or pilot. Use a lighter or long match to relight the fire while holding the pilot down. This feature is standard on some water heaters. You can start the fire without touching anything. 
  • After lighting the flame, keep your finger on the pilot or ignite button for a full minute. This will ensure that the flame continues to burn. You should strive for a blue flame as your goal. 
  • You can now turn the switch to the “on” position to return everything to how it was first configured. 
  • Put a plug in any holes that aren’t being utilized, then readjust the thermostat to the level it was at before. 

That settles the matter, then. You may have hot water by turning on the pilot light again in minutes. If this doesn’t work, or if you have to reset the pilot light and turn it on again constantly, you should have a professional inspect the pilot light to determine if it needs repair.

Bottom Line

Is it risky if the pilot light in your stove suddenly goes out? It is generally safe to do so. You only have to relight the pilot light to get things back up and running. However, if these solutions don’t work or if you suspect a gas leak, it’s time to call a plumber!