If you live in a windy area, it is not easy to keep warm water. Your pilot light is one that suffers from consequences. So, how do you stop a pilot light from blowing out on your water heater?
First, you need to check on the condition of your water heater. The most common situation that causes this is a bad thermocouple. Check to see if it is broken, dirty, or not aligned properly. Otherwise, check for air leaks or the quality of the gas regulator.
Below, we are going to delve into some further information behind this guide. While it can be frustrating, try not to give up. Often, a good chunk of the job is finding out where the problem originated.
Table of Contents
- Wind Blows Out Water Heater – What Causes This?
- Can I Use A Pilot Light Shield?
- Related Questions
Wind Blows Out Water Heater – What Causes This?
- You have a dirty, broken, or misaligned thermocouple
- You have a downdraft coming from your air vent.
- Your gas release or the electric heating element is malfunctioning.
- You have a chimney and need a cap.
- Someone improperly installed your firebox cover.
Your Thermocouple Is Dirty, Broken, Or Misaligned
The most common issue that causes your pilot light to go out continually relates to your thermocouple. Otherwise known as the flame sensor, the thermocouple automatically shuts off the gas if the pilot light goes out.
When the thermocouple is dirty, broken, or misaligned, it can’t see your flame. As a result, it is continually assuming that your pilot light is out. If this is happening, you first need to check on the thermocouple’s condition. If it seems dirty, start by cleaning it. If properly cleaned, it should be a copper-colored pipe connected to a tube.
If you need additional help determining a lousy thermocouple, check out our guide on making that determination. If you need to replace it, be sure to turn off the power and the gas. You should be able to loosen a series of nuts, bolts, or screws nearby the thermocouple and twist it off.
For more detailed instructions, consult your owner’s manual. If you wish to hire someone to do it for you, it will cost $150. You typically pay up to $30 for the part.
You Have A Downdraft Coming From Your Air Vent
The next potential happening behind your pilot light going out is related to a downdraft coming from your ventilation. This section is assuming your vent is separate from your chimney.
To check your vents for any leaks, place your hand near the duct connects to the water heater. Please do not put your hand on any of the exhaust pipes, as they will cause burns. If you feel cold air running towards the vent, that means that your ventilation system is working correctly. However, if you feel slow, drifting warm air, that means it is releasing into the same room.
If there is a blockage on the air vent outside, you will also run into this issue. Chimney or night, these vents are typically located on the roof, which you will have to check.
Your Gas Release Or Electric Heating Element Is Malfunctioning
The pilot light starts after the igniter sparks, which causes this flame to activate the water heater. If there is no release of any combustion agent, the pilot light will fail to start.
For gas heaters, you will need to check on the release valve. If the release valve seems dirty or broken, you will either need to clean or replace some parts. It typically means to replace something at the end of a pipe, but consult your owner’s manual for further details.
If your electric heating elements are not functioning, you could link it to many wires in the unit. Also, your breaker may be off, which is the result of your system overloading.
You Need A Chimney Cap
Many water heaters connect to ventilation that goes to your chimney. Given that it is a stone pillar that points up, it is a natural choice for ventilation. Some people picture the ideal version of chimneys being this big, red=brick pillar with no cover. The lack of a cap here would cause major ventilation issues, especially during winter months.
If you know your ventilation system is connected here, check the chimney cap. It may have gaps in it due to being improperly installed. Corrion and age aren’t too uncommon here, especially if it has been up there for many years.
Your Firebox Is Not Covering Your Fire Properly
Water heaters will typically spend time in the basement, if possible. Because of a natural knowledge of many basements being drafty, a firebox is around the pilot light to prevent it from blowing out.
If there are any significant gaps in your firebox, your pilot light will go out regularly. To address this, check your firebox for any significant gaps. If they are large enough to blow out your pilot light, they should be pretty visible.
If the gaps are small enough, you can apply furnace sealant to this area. Be sure to follow the instructions on the sealant package.
Can I Use A Pilot Light Shield?
Pilot light shields protect your pilot light from potential drafts. Because of this, they are not a bad idea to use if your pilot light keeps going out.
However, this is not a one-stop solution for all potential heater issues. Regardless of whether you buy one, we still recommend going through the list of potential problems above.
These solutions not only address your pilot light but can save you money on your heating as well. Suppose a draft is still traveling through your house. In that case, many automatic thermostats used in the modern era will crank up to address this issue.
Is It Dangerous If The Pilot Light Goes Out On The Water Heater?
If your pilot light isn’t working on a gas heater, your gas valve can potentially continue to release gas in the air. Enough gas in the air causes a potentially dangerous situation, which can sometimes lead to major fires.
If this is a concern, the easiest way to solve this issue is by turning off the gas valve on your water heater. Also, ensure that any potentially flammable objects are removed from the premises. The gas valve is typically a handle located on the bottom of your unit.
Will The Gas Company Light My Pilot Light?
If you smell gas at your location, shut off the valve, and contact your associated gas company. Be sure that any family or pets are removed from the house as well.