How to Light Your Propane Water Heater: A Comprehensive Guide

Lighting a propane water heater can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and a few simple steps, you can easily get your hot water back up and running. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of lighting your propane water heater, providing detailed instructions and valuable insights to ensure a safe and successful experience.

Preparing the Propane Water Heater

  1. Shut Off the Water Heater: Begin by ensuring the water heater is turned off. This is typically done by rotating the control knob to the “off” position.

  2. Wait for Gas Dissipation: Turn off the gas supply to the water heater by rotating the valve handle perpendicular to the gas pipe. Allow at least 5 minutes for any residual gas to clear out of the area.

  3. Check for Gas Leaks: Carefully smell around the gas valve and pilot light area. If you detect the distinct odor of gas, do not proceed. Immediately shut off the gas supply, open a window, and call for professional assistance.

Accessing the Pilot Light

how to light my propane water heater

  1. Locate the Pilot Light Cover: Identify the cover or panel that provides access to the pilot light. This is usually secured with a tab or screw that needs to be released or removed.

  2. Remove the Pilot Light Cover: Gently pinch or press the tab to release the cover, or use a screwdriver to remove any screws holding it in place. This will expose the pilot light assembly.

Igniting the Pilot Light

  1. Set the Control Knob to Pilot: Locate the control knob and turn it to the “pilot” position. You should see a small notch or indent that allows you to push the button down.

  2. Turn On the Gas: Rotate the quarter-turn ball valve to the open position, allowing gas to flow to the pilot light.

  3. Ignite the Pilot Light: While holding down the control button, use a long lighter or a match to ignite the pilot light. Continue holding the button for approximately 60 seconds to ensure the pilot light remains lit.

  4. Adjust the Pilot Light Flame: Observe the pilot light flame. It should be a steady, blue flame. If the flame is yellow or flickering, you may need to adjust the air-fuel mixture by turning the pilot light adjustment screw slightly.

Adjusting the Water Heater Temperature

  1. Set the Desired Temperature: Once the pilot light is lit, turn the control knob to the desired temperature setting. This will allow the main burner to ignite and heat the water to the selected temperature.

  2. Verify the Main Burner Ignition: Ensure the main burner ignites and the water heater begins heating the water. You may hear a slight clicking sound as the burner ignites.

  3. Monitor the Water Heater: Keep an eye on the water heater for the first few minutes to ensure the pilot light and main burner are functioning correctly.

Finalizing the Process

  1. Replace the Pilot Light Cover: Carefully replace the cover or panel over the pilot light area, ensuring it is securely in place.

  2. Perform a Final Safety Check: Conduct a final inspection of the water heater area, checking for any signs of gas leaks or other potential issues.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority when working with gas appliances. If you encounter any difficulties or have concerns at any point during the process, it is best to consult a qualified professional for assistance.

Additional Tips and Considerations

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Water Heater: Take the time to understand the specific features and controls of your propane water heater. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for any model-specific guidance.

  • Maintain the Water Heater Regularly: Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank and inspecting the anode rod, can help extend the lifespan of your propane water heater and ensure its efficient operation.

  • Consider Upgrading to a Newer Model: If your water heater is older or experiencing frequent issues, it may be worth considering upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient propane water heater model.

  • Seek Professional Assistance if Needed: If you are ever unsure about any step in the lighting process or encounter any problems, do not hesitate to contact a licensed plumber or HVAC technician for assistance.

By following the detailed steps outlined in this guide, you can confidently light your propane water heater and enjoy reliable hot water in your home. Remember to prioritize safety, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.


  1. How To Light A Gas Water Heater Pilot Light – YouTube
  2. Easiest Way To Light A Gas Water Heater Pilot Light – YouTube
  3. How to Light a Propane Water Heater – YouTube