How to Light the Pilot Light on a Propane Gas Water Heater

Lighting the pilot light of a propane gas water heater is similar to performing the task on a natural gas water heater. With the exception of where the gas comes from, the gas valve and pipes are the same on the water heater. The task should take just a few minutes. You can light the pilot light yourself, saving the time and money of calling out a serviceman.

Step 1

Shut off the water heater's gas valve. Open a door or window and let the room air out for about 10 minutes to remove gas fumes.

Step 2

Pull the cover plate off the side of the water heater near the bottom. Use a flash light to locate the pilot light on the inside of the water heater behind the cover plate.

Step 3

Turn the gas valve back on to the "pilot" position, pushing down on the button and holding it down to get the gas flowing through the tube. Use a spark ignitor to light the pilot light inside the bottom of the water heater, continuing to hold the pilot button down.

Step 4

Hold the pilot button down for about a minute and slowly let your hand off the button. Verify that the pilot light is still lit and turn the pilot button to the "on" position.

Step 5

Reattach the cover plate onto the lower section of the water heater.


  • Never attempt to light the propane gas water heater pilot light with the smell of gas in the air.

About the Author

Carl Pruit has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in service journalism and travel. His work has appeared on various websites. Born and raised in California, Pruit attended Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo, Calif. and received an associate degree in the administration of justice.