Why your shower may go cold because of the water heater, and how to fix it.

If this has not happened to you yet, rest assured that sooner or later it will: You open the tap for a hot shower and out comes nothing but a stream of ice water. Whether due to a gust of wind, a glitch in the gas supply or an issue with the gas controls, when the pilot flame goes out the water will be cold in about 6 hours. But most of the time just relighting the pilot flame will get you back into business within 30 minutes and its so easy a novice can do it in less 90 seconds.

Here is how:

(suggest print these instructions and tape them to the water heater)

1) Find the control valve the front of the water heater. It will have pipes coming into it.

2) Turn the smaller control knob (usually red or black) to the ‘pilot’ position.

3) Remove the sheet metal access panel at the bottom of the tank to expose the lower service hatch.
There may be an inner panel that needs to be removed as well.

4) Locate the pilot flame orifice. This can be tricky. Follow the tubes leading from the gas control valve  through the hatch to their terminus. The pilot flame orifice is at the end (use a flashlight if necessary to find the end of the pilot tube).

5) Use a fireplace match or extended lighter to light the pilot flame AT THE SAME TIME that you are holding the red ‘pilot activation knob’ on top of the control valve down as far as it will go. A blue flame should appear within 20 seconds.

6) Continue to hold the red knob down for about 30 seconds before releasing it. The flame should continue to burn.

7) Carefully reinstall the sheet metal inner and outer panels.

8) Turn the control knob from ‘pilot’ to ‘on’ You should notice an audible “whoosh” as the main burner ignites.  Hot water awaits in about half an hour.

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