My house and my neighbors' houses are going to have our water shut off from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm this week by our Water and Wastewater District.

I called the manufacturer of the water heater and also the gas provider. They recommended changing the gas knob to either "OFF" or "PILOT". They advised that "PILOT" would be better as I wouldn't need to go through the trouble of re-lighting the pilot light.

My question is if I switch the gas knob to "PILOT" do I have to change the water heater thermostat to "PILOT LIGHTING" or can I leave it to its current setting? I have been reading through the manual and am not sure.

I have a gas water heater from 2006 so the thermostat does not have a vacation setting.


2 Answers 2


You just need to set it to pilot. Pilot lighting is just the position used to light the pilot.

  • Yes if you put it in the pilot lighting position, the pilot will just stay on indefinitely. You would only have to press the button if the pilot had gone out and the pilot flame sensor had gotten cold and the gas valve closed. Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 17:41

That's interesting.

My gas water heater has a pilot setting but you only put that dial into that position if the pilot light has gone out and you want to light it.

Further in that position you have to depress the dial and gas starts hissing out, you then light the pilot while still holding and wait 30 seconds to a minute for the thermo coupling to reach temperature and turn the dial back to on.

What brand of hot water tank do you have? I've dealt with a few different and as far as I know they've all worked this way (Bradford White and Rheem).

Lighting your hotwater tank isn't a big deal - maybe just consider it a good skill to pickup and just turn it off while the water is off.

  • I have a State Select water heater. Thanks for the input. I may just shut off the gas. Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 5:30

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