Fotolia 89732670 SubscriptiIf you’re new to propane, you may not be familiar with pilot lights. Many older propane-powered appliances have these small flames inside them that burn constantly. They’re designed to restart the device’s main burner and prevent gas leaks. And once in a while, they go out.

If your pilot light goes out, it usually means the device has been cut off from propane, either because your propane tank is empty, or the gas has been turned off.

But if it happens more than once every season, it’s time to have it inspected. Frequent issues with your pilot light could signal problems with your appliance, tank, or connection.

If you don’t see a pilot light on your propane-powered appliance, don’t worry. Many newer models don’t have them.

Here’s what you should do if your water heater’s pilot light goes out, courtesy of SF Gate’s Home Guides section.

  1. Find the gas regulator knob on the outside of the water heater, where the gas pipe connects to the heater. Turn the knob on the valve to the “off” position and wait a couple minutes.
  2. Find the pilot burner under the water heater and remove any cover you see on it. Turn the regulator’s knob to “pilot,” press down on it and hold it down. Depending on your model, you may need to push a separate button to ignite it. You’ll hear a click as the igniter sparks. If your system requires manual lighting, use a long-necked barbeque lighter.
  3. Continue holding down the valve knob for about a minute after the light reignites. If it stays lit after you let go, turn the knob to “on.” You should hear a muffled sound as the main burner ignites. Replace any covers you removed.

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