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Question DetailsAsked on 9/3/2017

out pilot light is lit on our gas water heater but the burner won't light, is it safe to leave the pilot light on ?

We had to turn off the gas due to basement flooding, gas now back on but when we went to light the gas water heater, the pilot light came on fine but the burner did not. Didn't know if we needed to turn off the pilot light until we get someone in to fix the burner or ok to leave as is.

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1 Answer


I would - no reaon to leave pilot light on if burner won't come on, and this could indicate a gas control valve problem which needs fixing - or if any part of the unit went under water, quite likely one or more safety sensors got wet and cut the circuit which allows the gas to flow. If the gas control valve went under water, then it could be damaged - so makes no snese to leave pilot one and possibly create a risk. I would turn gas control valve to OFF, AND shut off the gas valve to the water heater (and ditto for any other gas-fired appliance which went under water.

Not the bad new - most repair people will not repair a unit which was drowned. Some will replace sensors and such in the firebox area as long as the control boxes and circuit boards did not get wet - but basically (and by law in many states) if the water got into the copntrol boxes OR wetted the insulation around the tank or boiler or heat exchanger or such, the whole unit it toast and has to be replaced. Yes it MIGHT work for many years if dried out - or might blow your house up, so most reputable repairmen will say if it got into insulation or controls, replace entire thing.

Ditto to furnace, A/C, any appliances lliek freezer or reefer, electrical panels, outlets, etc.

If potentially covered by insurance be sure to document it and get the claim prepared (likely for a lot more than that) - and if they say replace it and they will reimburse later I would hang onto the heater or at least have the repairman document on the invoice that the unit got flooded out so HAD to be replaced.

BTW - if your gas meter went under water it should be shut off and not used till replaced too (usually by the utility) - because drowned regulators can allow excess pressure to come into your household lines, which is a major hazard.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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