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Thread: Pilot won't light on Reliance 501 Water Heater

  1. #1

    Unhappy Pilot won't light on Reliance 501 Water Heater

    I got up this morning and the pilot lights on my gas furnace and gas water heater were out. It was cold in the house, so I lit the furnace first. I had no problems with it lighting right up.

    I then went outside ( I live in an older mobile home where the access door to the water heater is on the outside with it's own door) to light the pilot on my water heater. I turned everything to the positions that the instructions stated. I waited 5 minutes, turned the big red knob to pilot, held down the red button and attempted to light the pilot on my water heater. Nothing happened. No matter how many times I repeated this process, the pilot would not light. I know I have gas to my home because my furnace is running as I write this. I have never had this problem with any of my furnaces or hot water heaters in the past and I'm quite stumped.

    Does anyone have any idea what the problem is?

    Thanks to all for any help.

  2. #2


    It sounds like the loss of heat from the pilot going out caused the gas valve to freeze closed. You could try warming it with a hair dryer while gently tapping with a wood block. If that doesn't work, I would replace the thermocouple. (Not a pro)


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