Why Water Heater Igniter Won’t Spark and How to Fix It

Water heaters are mostly reliable, and if properly maintained, they will serve you for a long time. However, just like any other appliance in your home, the water heater is prone to malfunction from time to time.

One of the common issues you might get with the heater is the igniter not sparking. You should learn what might be causing the issue to know the best approach to fix it.

Why a water heater igniter will not spark and the best way to fix it.

Having a Defective Igniter

The majority of water heaters have igniters that rely on gas to light. When the igniter is malfunctioning, then there will not be any light in the water heater. In most cases, this happens when the heater igniter gets insufficient voltage to make the unit work.

The best way to deal with this situation is to ensure that the igniter gets the voltage needed. If the igniter is getting the voltage but the heater is not lighting, this is a sign that the igniter is defective.

If so, it needs to be replaced by a skilled technician. The right professional can fix the igniter without causing further damage to the unit.

Having a Defective Spark Electrode

Some water heaters use the spark electrode to initiate the ignition. The system works by sending signals or high voltage sparks so that it can light the pilot flame. However, for the electrode to produce the spark, it should be in the best position.

In case the spark electrode is defective, then the water heater ignited will not work. In such situations, you need to find a qualified contractor who will help to replace the defective spark electrode safely.

Issues with Thermocouple

The thermocouple plays a vital role in the water heater. It is used to detect the pilot flame and enables ignition. However if you have issues with the thermocouple, it will not detect a flame and that will lead to the ignition process stalling as a result the burner will not light.

The best way of dealing with such an issue is by finding a licensed contractor to help you address the issues with the thermocouple. Since they have the right tools, it is possible that they will fix the issue within a short time.

Failing Pressure Switch

The other reason why your water pressure igniter is not working is that you might have a failing pressure switch. The work of the pressure switch is to close when the water heater system gets ample airflow.

By closing the pressure switch signals the control board to continue with the ignition process. However, if the system is failing then it will stall and that might lead to the water heater no lighting.

In most cases the failing pressure switch might be due to defective elements or poor connection. All these issues can be fixed if you find the right contractor to handle the system.

The professional will find out the reason your pressure switch is failing and fix it.

Pilot Not Lighting

The work of the pilot in the water heater system is to ignite the water heater’s gas burner. So, in case the pilot does not light, then the water heater will not heat.

Thus, this will lead to the water heater igniter not sparking. One of the common reasons why the pilot is not lighting is having carbon deposits building up around it. When the accumulation is too much then it will lead to there being a restriction.

If the issue is having a pilot light that is restricted, you can easily fix this by clearing the buildup using a stiff brush or using compressed air. If the pilot cannot be cleaned, it means that it needs to be replaced. Hire a qualified contractor to replace the pilot for you.


Discussed are reasons why your water heater igniter won’t spark. When you understand the reason, it will be easy for you to strategies of the best way to fix the issue.

However, if you are not a skilled contractor, do not attempt to fix the heater’s igniter. You will need to do your due diligence to find a contractor that is skilled so that they can examine the heater for serviceability and efficiency.

The right contractor will get to the root of the problem and help to fix the water heater igniter for you.