How to Light RV Water Heater Pilot? – A Complete Guide

how to light rv water heater pilot

Lighting an RV water heater pilot is as easy as 1-2-3. What you need to do is to access the pilot light and ignite it. However, for others who are not too familiar with it, the process can be very complicated.

If your RV is brand new, then you don’t need to worry about any pilot light whatsoever. However, if your RV is a couple of years old already, you may need to manually ignite the pilot light of your water heater and other appliances in your RV. If you want to know how to light RV water heater pilot, scroll down below.

3 Easy Steps to Light the Pilot of Your Water Heater


Step-by-Step Instructions

Before you do this process, make sure that your water tank is full. If it’s empty, turning the water heater on may cause damage. Here is a detailed step-by-step instruction that will help you.

Step 1. Turn the knob to Pilot


The first thing you need to do in this process is to turn on your propane tank. Make sure that it’s on before you remove the cover of the water heater’s access panel.

Next, press down and turn the control knob to Pilot. Make sure to hold it down to feed the propane. Do not be alarmed if you hear hissing sounds; it’s just the gas passing through the lines.

Step 2. Use a Lighter to Ignite the Pilot


While you are holding down the knob on the Pilot, light up the pilot light using either a lighter or a match. You can keep on holding down the knob for a minute or so or as long as you see the pilot light lit.

Once you can see the pilot’s flame, hold the knob for 30 seconds more just so the pilot light can be established well.

Step 3. Switch on the Water Heater


Now that the water heater’s pilot light is ignited, all that’s left to do is open the water heater and enjoy a nice warm shower. Ensure to set it to just the right temperature and wait for a few minutes for your water to heat up.

Tips to Ignite the Other RV Appliances

Light the Pilot of Your Oven


Now that you’ve lit up the pilot light of your water heater, it is now time to ignite the pilot light of the other appliances in your RV. To start, we will first ignite the pilot light of your oven.

If you are the type of person to reheat your food, a microwave will do. But if you want to have sumptuous meals, you can choose to get an oven.

A crucial thing that you should note is always keeping your oven off when traveling, as this will prevent any possible mishaps. So, without further ado, here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to light the pilot of your oven.

Step 1. Put your Oven into Pilot Mode

Turn the knob of your oven to pilot mode and open it. It would help if you made sure that the propane is flowing through the lines inside your oven.

Keep your lighter in hand so that you can ignite the pilot light immediately. Keeping the oven door open for so long can cause a lot of fuel vapor that can cause fire to occur.

Step 2. Kindle the Pilot Lights


Once you open up your oven door, get your lighter. Make sure that your lighter has a long handle so that you won’t have a problem reaching the back of the oven. Keep holding down the knob of the oven.

Igniting the pilot light may take more than 30 seconds to heat the thermocouple, so hold on to your knob.

Step 3. Preheat the Oven to a Preferred Temperature

Once you light up the pilot of your oven, all you need to do is set the temperature and wait for the oven to heat up. You’re now set to cook up delicious meals.

When you’re done, turn the knob off so you can make sure that the oven is turned off completely.

Light the Pilot of Your Refrigerator


For this process, check if the refrigerator in your RV is propane-fueled. If it is, then you would surely need to ignite the pilot light of the fridge too.

Before doing this, one necessary step is to check if the refrigerator is level. Once this is finished, you can start the process of lighting the pilot of your refrigerator.

Step 1. Locate the Refrigerator’s Pilot Knob

First, you need to find the pilot knob of your refrigerator. There are two spots where it can be located, the access panel outside your RV or on the fridge’s side. Once found, you can now turn on the propane tanks.

Step 2. Press the Knob to Turn it on


Next up, press on the pilot knob to let the propane flow. Continue pressing until the propane reaches the pilot light. When the pilot is lit, you can now let go of the pilot knob. Easy as that, you can now use your refrigerator.

Light the Pilot of Your RV Furnace


The last appliance on the list is your RV’s furnace. You may not feel the need to turn on the furnace if the weather’s nice, but you need to do so in the cold season. Before we start, make sure to have proper ventilation by opening the windows, just in case there is a propane leak.

Step 1. Switch on the Propane

When you turn on the propane tanks, make sure that the electricity is off. Next, turn the fan on and set your thermostat to the highest setting. Let your fan run for a few minutes before going to the next step.

Step 2. Open up the Access Panel and Light up the Pilot


Next up, locate the pilot light by opening up the access panel. Turn the knob to the pilot to let the propane flow through. If you can use a striker system, all you need to do is press on it and wait for the pilot to light up.

On the other hand, if you use a match or a lighter, you would need to turn on the furnace and light the pilot immediately.

Once the pilot is lit, you can now set your thermostat to the desired temperature.


Nowadays, RVs are all advanced, and you wouldn’t even need to ignite pilot lights anymore. However, this is a problem that old RV owners still struggle with.

You must know how to light RV water heater pilot, especially if yours is a couple of years old. Understanding the process would help you in more ways than you think.

Were you able to follow the steps on how to light an RV water heater pilot? If you could not do so, leave a comment down below on which part you struggled with.

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