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How to Turn Off Gas Water Heater Pilot Light [4 Super Safe Steps]

While you are enjoying your vacation, there might be an accident at your home. So it is always better to be safe than sorry. You should always check the hazardous appliances such as gas water heaters. And it’s better to turn them off before leaving.

How to turn off gas water heater pilot light?

It’s not too tough to turn off the gas water heater pilot light. At first, reduce the temperature. Then gently turn the heater off. Now you’ve to take out the access panel. It’s kind of the end of your work. But as the process is a bit complex you have to recheck the whole process.

Why don’t we go and look at the procedure? Keep notes!

But let’s first know what a pilot light is and where we can find this.

Water Heater Pilot Light: What is it and Where to Locate?

The pilot light is a tiny constantly burning spark that starts the burner. This section’s job is to light the burner.

When you switch on your appliance, gas is produced. From there the main burner is ignited by the pilot light flame to generate heat.

As the main burner warms, the air or water inside your device heats up. The heat is then dispersed as needed.

Access panel is located just beneath the thermostat at the base of the gas water heater. The gas water heater pilot light is located within the access panel. A gas meter will be there where you may check if the pilot flame is lighted.

The pilot light on your water heater is a little flame that lights the gas burner. This is required to warm the water before it is dispersed around your house. Gas water heaters are great because mostly they require no electricity.

In the next part of the article I will tell you how to turn it off.

4 Steps to Turn Off Gas Water Heater Pilot Light

It’s a good idea to know how to properly switch off your water heater. If you have a water leak, a gas leak, or the pilot light goes out.

When you aren’t using your gas water heater for a time, turn it off. It helps avoid overheating issues from occurring when you aren’t there to deal with them.

Now I will take you through the steps. Read it carefully!

Step 1: The Right Temperature

First, take care of the temperature of the water heater. Reduce it to the absolute minimum. 

On the side of your water heater, between the energy inlet and intake ports, look for the dial. The sizes of the inlets might vary from brand to brand 

Lower the heater’s temperature as much as possible by turning the dial clockwise. This will lower both the amount of gas entering it and the intensity of the flames.

Temperatures may or may not be labeled on the dial. If it doesn’t indicate “Pilot Lighting,” crank the dial clockwise as much as you can.

Step 2: Turn the Water Heater Off

Turn the water heater off by pressing the “Off” button. Above the temperature dial, look for the “On,” “Off,” and “Pilot” buttons.

To rotate the button, press down on it. Rotate it till the arrow points to the “Off” position.

The switch will switch off your water heater’s gas supply and dim the pilot light.

While the water heater is switched off, you won’t be able to utilize hot water.

Step 3: Take out the Access Panel

To check if your water heater’s light is out, open the access panel. Find and remove the access panel on the underside of your water heater.

Depending on the model, you may need a screwdriver to remove the access.

Here are some screwdriver suggestion for you that will help you as well-

Klein Tools ScrewdriverProvides industrial strength and firm hold 
SATA Multipurpose Ratcheting ScrewdriverHex style screwdriver with comfortable grip

You’ll either discover an inlet or a viewing glass behind the access panel. You can peek inside your water heater through that. 

Switching off the water heater worked if there was no flame within. If you still see a flame, you may have a malfunctioning component. 

Step 4: Recheck the Process

If the pilot light is still on, twist the gas intake valve 90° to the pipe. The gas intake pipe is directly connected to the water heater’s base. 

Retrace your steps up the pipe until you reach an intake valve.  It will have a straight lever parallel to the pipe.

To turn off the gas supply to the heater, turn the handle until it’s vertical to the pipe.

That was easy, right? Do it then. If you can follow such steps turn off the light, you can surely solve the filling problem of the water heater if it ever rises.

What If it Doesn’t Turn Back on?

Return to the gas valve and push the handle to the “On” position. The main burner will usually make a noise when it ignites. After giving the heater time to restart, the access cover needs to be replaced and hot water should be rechecked.

While turning it back on sometimes there might be some difficulty initially. Then you might have to repeat the process of relighting to troubleshoot pilot light issues.

If the water heater’s pilot won’t light or keeps going off, there’s something wrong with it. A distorted, cracked, or unclean thermocouple is the most usual problem I find.

Keep in mind that a hot water heater’s basic service life is 12-15 years. I will suggest calling a mechanic at that time. If the water heater is too old then it is better to get a new one.


Question: Is it possible for gas to leak if the pilot light is turned off?

Answer: Not all current gas appliances with pilot lights contain a fail-safe system. It shuts off the gas supply to the appliance if the pilot goes out.

Question: Is it possible for a water heater to explode if it is switched off?

Answer: If this valve is leaking, it means the pressure within the water tank is too high. And it might explode if it builds up too much.

Question: In the summer, should I turn off my pilot light?

Answer: Turning off your pilot light if you have an older furnace is a good idea. Throughout the summer, a continually running furnace pilot light will create heat and moisture.


By now you all must be a pro on how to turn off gas water heater pilot light. 

But I would still suggest you all take professional help if needed. Be careful of the gas leaking and make sure you are under proper guidance. 

Until then take care!