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Water Heater Pilot Lights

by | Jan 19, 2017 | Appliances | 0 comments

A few weeks ago I received a phone call from a past home inspection client indicating they had no hot water on the guest side of their home. After reviewing their home inspection report I headed over to help them problem solve the issue.

Once inside the home, we located one water heater immediately inside the attic access door being careful to keep the door closed to prevent the cat from doing an attic inspection. This water heater was operating as intended and was supplying hot water to the kitchen and master suite. However, there was no evidence of another water heater tank. I headed outside, much to the dismay of my client, in order to locate the other unit. It was late in the evening, so I had to use my flashlight to scan the roof. And there it was, the water heater flue was located in an attic above the second floor. Back in the attic access door, we were able to locate an obscure ladder that led to the upper recesses of the attic. (I need to add here that climbing a home built ladder with birkenstocks is probably a blatant OSHA violation.)

The pilot light was indeed off to this unit. After confirming there was no gas odor, we used the instructions located on the side of the tank to light the pilot. Holding down the pilot knob we pushed the ignition button. Once the pilot light was lit, we held the pilot knob down for a minute. I called a few days later to check on them and sure enough they had hot water just in time for out of town guest.

If you are unsure of where your gas appliances are located, look for the flues on the roof. Here in the south, most of these flues are metal. Sometimes there are high efficiency units that use PVC piping. Once you locate the discharge for the flue, you should be able to find where the appliance is located. If all else fails, call your home inspector and ask them for some guidance.


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