My Mobile Home Water Heater Pilot Light Keeps Blowing Out: Now What?

Have you been having problems keeping your mobile home water heater pilot light burning? Does it blow out on every gust of wind? You most likely have a problem that can be easily fixed. Lets first talk about why this is happening.

The way wind flows over an airplane wing is the same way wind blows over your roof. As the wind reaches your roof surface, the wind on top of the roof speeds up and flows rather quickly. This has an adverse affect on stacks and chimneys of gas burning appliances such as your furnace and water heater. Wind then blows harshly down the chimneys or B-Vents, blowing out the pilot light. Lets get something straight though. If mother nature wants to blow out your pilot light, she will, and there is nothing you can do to permanently stop it. All you can do is persuade it not to happen all the time. When you have a gas burning appliance like a water heater or furnace that uses a pilot light, re-lighting it from time to time is perfectly normal.

What you don’t want to do to curb this problem is to install any screening around the top of the chimney or B-vent. This may seem like a common-sense solution, but it is very dangerous. In the winter, ice and snow will build on the screen material, causing a very hazardous situation. The flue gases can build up and become blocked. Spillage of the deadly carbon monoxide gas can occur, putting you and/or your family at great risk. Please do not solve your problem with this method.

A preferred method of curbing pilot outage problems is to install an exterior extension of the chimney or B-vent. The science behind this method is simple once you recall why this problem occurs in the first place. Remember that the wind picks up speed as it hits the roof? By raising the chimney or B-vent, you are changing the exit point the flue gases to a higher point, where the wind flows at the same rate as everywhere else. The wind will continue to flow faster near the surface of the roof while the top of the vent is untouched, not allowing wind to travel down and blow the pilot out. You can purchase exterior extensions at big-box home improvement stores and wholesale companies of heating and plumbing supplies.

Remember, solving this problem means working on top of your roof. If you do not feel totally comfortable working at that height, please call a professional to keep your mobile home water heater pilot light going.