Water heater piezo igniter won’t spark

A water heater is a must in our daily life. In the winters, there is no better alternative for a water heater. It is necessary that you know when to replace your water heater and when to fix it. 

Sometimes just for lack of knowledge, a lot of people change their water heater. However, they could have fixed the problem without a repairman! 

In this article, you will find a discussion about some common problems with water heaters. The most common problem with water heaters is that the water heater piezo igniter won’t spark. Let’s start, buddy.

Water heater piezo igniter won't spark

Water heater

A water heater is a machine that heats your water. In winter, bathing with cold water is close to impossible! And after a hard day at work, you need a hot water shower to relax. So the hot water heater is an essential part of your life without any doubt.

Residential water heaters are usually natural or lp gas powered. You can also buy an electric water heater. Both gas or electric-powered water heaters have the same components. The major difference is in the way of heating. 

I will focus on the gas-powered water heater in this article. 

Gas-powered water heaters have a gas burner. This burner burns gas, creating a flame. The flame heats the cylindrical metal pipe holding cold water. As the metal gets hot, the surrounding water also gets warm. You can set a specific temperature to heat your water. When the water is hot enough, the heater will store that hot water.

Gas burner and assembly of the heating elements of a gas power water heater is a crucial part. Without this part, your water heater is of no use. But this burner is not your typical cooking burner, where you can create fire with a matchbox or fire pistol. 

A complex process has to run successfully in order to ignite the burner. Piezo igniter is a famous ignition system for gas burners. It creates the spark that makes the fire.

Piezo igniter 

Piezo is a spark igniter for a stove, water heater, or gas furnace. Piezo igniter works using the piezoelectricity principle, which in short, is an electric charge that accumulates from mechanical deformation. But this happens in some materials. 

A piezo ignition system consists of a spring-loaded hammer. When a particular button is pressed, the hammer hits a PZT crystal. This creates a sudden deformation and produces high voltage. This follows an electrical discharge or spark. And the spark ignites the gas.

Piezo ignition is operated by a lever or a press button. Sometimes the button can be built into the gas control knob. 

Water heater pilot light and its work process 

Pilot light of any water heater is a device that provides flame to light the gas coming out of the gas valve and main gas burner. When you need to heat your water, the gas control valve releases gas. The pilot burner ignites the gas.

Apart from igniting, the pilot also has another job. It heats the thermocouple. This creates a small amount of electricity. This electricity keeps the electromagnetic valve open. Otherwise, no gas will enter the combustion chamber from the gas valve. 

Problem with your water heater 

If one day your water heater stops working, don’t panic. Most of the time, the problem isn’t that serious. If you have a DIY mindset, you can easily do water heater repair.

The most common problem with gas-powered water heaters is the water heater igniter not sparking or the pilot light not lighting. If your water heater isn’t working, then check the igniter system.

Upon holding down the pilot switch and clicking the igniter, a small spark should be igniting the pilot flame. If there is no pilot flame after clicking the igniter, then you need to verify whether there is a spark. 

You create an electric spark by pressing down on the piezo igniter. This spark lights the primary gas burner. The spark is created with a spark electrode. If there is no spark from the electrode, then you need to change it. Remember, without spark; there will be no flame in the main burner.

The water heater igniter won’t spark

When there is a click on the igniter, there will be a spark in the pilot. You can dim the lights of the room to better see the spark. If you see no spark, then there are any of the problems stated below with your burner assembly.

  • There can be a clogged pipeline. If there is not enough gas flow from the gas line, there will be no spark. Also, check the gas supply to ensure sufficient gas pressure. Make sure there is no gas leak.
  • You may have loose wire connections. Check the wire connections. If necessary, then tighten where required. 
  • Your spark electrode can have issues. It may have broke somehow. If there is any issue with the spark rod, then there will be no spark. 
  • You can have dirt or grime or carbon deposits on your electrode or pilot light. If so, then clean it thoroughly.
  • Turn off the igniter switch and gas knob before doing any of the above.

Other than the above-stated problems, you can have one last issue. That is a problem with your piezo igniter. 

Water heater piezo igniter won’t spark

Almost every water heater brand, like Rheem water heater, uses piezo igniter. Piezo is famous for its longevity. But sometimes, piezo ignition fails. 

If you find your piezo igniter not working, don’t worry. You can search the internet typing water heater piezo igniter replacement or water heater igniter replacement cost. Changing your piezo igniter can solve your problem. And this is not that hard of a task. 

As you find there is no spark, this means your piezo ignition is faulty. The whole system can be faulty. In this case, depending on your igniter module, buy a new one. Replace the old one. Your water heater will be good as new.


How long does a piezo igniter last?

Piezo is the best electric ignition system. You need to refill your matches or lighters. Match-free piezo ignition can last for life though sometimes malfunction occurs. The average life for a piezo ignition is ten years.

How do you test a piezo water heater ignitor?

You can test the piezo electronic ignition system very easily. Hold the electrode half inches away from the metal. Once you are ready, touch the electrode with the metal. If there is a spark, your ignitor is fine.


A water heater is one of the most important things in everyday life. You need hot water for showers, dishwashing, and laundry. You don’t need to change your entire heater if the ignition doesn’t work. 

Simply searching for a gas water heater igniter won’t spark or water heater igniter replacement. You can easily fix this problem without any professional help.

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