Water Heater Myths & Misinformation Blog #7

Traditional Water Heaters

In this blog series, we will explore some of the common water heater myths and misinformation that customers frequently call to talk about.

Myth #7 – “My pilot light went out, is my tank going to explode!?” and “My water heater is leaking, will it explode!?”

To answer these questions is a resounding NO! A pilot light being out doesn’t signify an impending explosion. What it means is that your hot water is no longer being heated. When this happens you can simply re-light the pilot light. This is easy and can often be done by yourself or a member of your household, but if you are unsure, always call a plumber! If the pilot light doesn’t stay lit after it has ignited again, you may instead need to have some parts replaced. Common pilot light replacement parts are as follows:

Thermocouple: This is responsible for keeping the flame lit. It helps to control the amount of gas released to the flame, and if it is not functioning the pilot cannot be lit again.

Thermal Combustion Switch: This helps to monitor the flame while the pilot is lit and acts as a safety feature by monitoring the flame.

As far as a leak causing an explosion, it is highly unlikely. A water heater leak is a sign that your tank has begun to corrode from the inside, causing water to slowly be released from the tank. (Depending on the location of the leak, it could also indicate a water pipe leak or a leaky valve on your plumbing system near your water heater.) In this case, refer to your water heater Owner Manual for directions to shut off the water going into the tank. This is save you from having more water on the floor than needed. In addition to this, if you water heater is powered by electricity, make sure that you shut it off. This can be done using your breaker panel which should be labelled for emergencies.

What a relief!


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