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Why does my gas hot water heater keep going out?

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Is there anything more frustrating than the hot water going out halfway through a shower on a cold morning? Hot water plays an essential role in our daily lives, and if your gas hot water system keeps cutting out, it’s a problem you’re going to want to get on top of. Today, we’re going to look at one of the most common issues with gas hot water heaters. Problems with the pilot light.

If your gas hot water heater is out, your pilot light is out

The water heater pilot light plays an essential role in the operation of your hot water system. Your pilot light flame lights the main burner of your heater, thereby creating hot water. It should be operational at all times, and therefore, if it is faulty, broken or simply won’t stay lit, you’ll experience inconsistent or no hot water at all.

7 Reasons why your pilot light goes out or won’t stay on

Fixing a pilot light isn’t a DIY job and can be incredibly dangerous if done incorrectly. Always call a professional for these issues unless you’re qualified to fix this problem yourself. Never try anything while the gas supply is still on. Always disconnect your gas and leave for at least five minutes before attempting any maintenance with your hot water heater.

1. An unclean or clogged pilot tube

The pilot tube supplies gas to the pilot light so it can combust and heat your water. If this tube is clogged, gas will struggle to get through. The result of this is inconsistent or no functionality in your hot water system and an unpleasant shower for you.

This is one of the most common issues gas hot water systems will experience. The great news is it’s easy to fix and there’s nothing wrong with your hot water heater.


Hopefully, a good clean is all you’ll need to get your hot water system back in good form. A needle can be used to gently unclog the tube. This can be finicky and take longer than you’d think, so be patient.

2. An unclean or clogged thermocouple

Your thermocouple plays a simple but vital role, which is cutting of the gas supply in the event there is any issue with your pilot light goes out. When this part is clogged or unclean


Turn off your gas supply and allow everything to cool down. Then, it’s time to get cleaning, using sandpaper to scrub away the grime and debris from the thermocouple.

3. A kink in your thermocouple

Your thermocouple needs to be close to the pilot light to work in order to sense the heat and open the gas valves. Being kinked or too far away will mean the electric current won’t be produced, and the thermocouple won’t do its job.


Turn off the gas, allow everything to cool down, and adjust the thermocouple to ensure it is in the right position.

4. Your thermocouple is broken

If you’ve tried step 2 and 3 and notice your thermocouple hasn’t improved, it might be time to consider that it’s broken.


The thermocouple will need to be replaced by a professional.

5. Issues with your flex tube

A flex tube connects your burner that houses you pilot light and thermocouple to your gas supply. Issues with this tube can impact gas reaching your heater, which will bring any gas power water heater to a stop pretty quickly.


Check the flex tube for any kinks or obstructions, and while you’re there, see if there’s any damage or holes where gas leaks may be occurring. Gas leaks not only reduce the amount of fuel reaching your pilot light, they are potentially dangerous and need to be fixed.

6. Your gas valve is faulty

A faulty main valve will result in the valve closing at random times, not opening at all or affecting the pilot light flame. As you can imagine, this means your heating elements won’t functions properly and your hot water will be at the very least, unreliable.


If it is your main control valve that is faulty, its a problem that probably can’t be fixed. The good news is that while this is an appliance ending problem, it’s also the rarest issue on this list. Whoever is checking your system should check numerous other parts of the heater first as these will be much more likely to be the culprit.

7. Poor Electrical Wiring

Most likely to be an issue with an electrical water heater. It’s a mistake that’s easily avoidable by having a professional install your unit for you.


Electric water heaters, or any type of water heater tanks, should be installed by a professional to avoid issues like this.

When to replace a gas hot water heater

There are a few general rules of thumb when it comes to determining when you should replace your hot water heater. First, if your repairs are going to cost more than half of what you initially paid for your system, your best bet is to replace the system. This is also the case if your heater is nearing or has exceeded its expected lifespan.

If you’re experiencing low water pressure, inconsistent water temperature or just find your system isn’t heating water, your system may just need a service. Something as simple as mineral deposits in your storage tank can be easily sorted, leaving your hot water heater as good as new.

Same Day Hot Water Service are your water heater experts

When your hot water system needs a service, repair or replacement, Same Day Hot Water Service is the only name you need to remember. Whether you’re after a new gas hot water heater or need your current hot water tank services, our team will ensure your home has warm water in no time. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.

More resources for Gas Hot Water System Related Topics:

Electric VS Gas Hot Water Systems: How To Choose The Right One For Your Household

How to Reignite Gas Hot Water Systems

The Best Gas Hot Water Systems for Your Home

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