Blinking Light on Your Water Heater: What It Means, What to DoA blinking light on the control panel of your water heater is a sign that something’s wrong. It could be an emergency or just a small problem you can fix yourself. 

The meaning of any blinking sequence varies from model to model. But, we’ll help you figure out what yours is saying. And, we’ll clue you into warning signs that you’ve got a big problem. 

Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the water heater in your home in or near York, PA, or if you need a repair, contact us right away at Air Comfort Technologies. 
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Four Reasons The Light On Your Water Heater is Blinking

You can tell which problem you’re having by the color of the light or how often it’s blinking. Of course, each brand and model are different. But, the four most common issues are: 

  • A Thermostat Problem
  • The Pilot Light Is out
  • Empty Tank or Tank Won’t Fill Up
  • Power or Electrical Issues 

Start with the small print on the control panel. Usually, the most common messages are printed right on the control panel. If it’s not on there, check the manual or look up your model number online.

For some models, a single flash is normal: It means everything is fine. Elsewhere, there isn’t much you can do about an electrical issue. A thermostat problem has to do with the built-in gauge, not the one on your wall controlling your heater and central air. 

If you’re seeing a message about an empty tank or it not filling up, do a quick visual inspection. You’re looking for water on the ground or outside the tank — any signs of a leak. If you see any, it can become a big problem really fast. We’ll explain more a little later here. 

Occasionally, no light at all is a problem — it means the pilot light is out. And, this is a problem you can fix on your own. 
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How To Restart Your Water Heater’s Pilot Light

You pilot light could be the issue

Restarting a pilot light on a water heater is simple and safe to do. You don’t have to ignite the flame manually or anything like that. The exact sequence may be different on yours, but you’ll find the instructions on the control panel. The basic method is: 

  • Turn the knob to “Pilot Light”
  • Push in the knob and hold it in
  • Push the “Pilot Light” button next to the knob
  • Release the Knob

If all goes well, you should hear some clicking and a whoosh. Now, look underneath the panel, and there should be a little opening so you can see underneath the unit. If there’s a blue flame there where there wasn’t a blue flame before, you’re all set!

When Is a Blinking Water Heater Light Dangerous?

Most times, the error message on your water heater isn’t a sign of danger. The blinking light tells you something’s up, but most models today shut off before anything becomes unsafe. 

But, if you are getting an error and notice any of the following, there’s cause for concern: 

  • Smell of Gas Around the Heater
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping
  • Water Leaking From or Around the Tank
  • Water That’s Cloudy or Has a Metallic Taste

We’ll break these down. 
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Smell of Gas Around the Heater

A natural gas smell means gas is leaking into your home. Call your utility company immediately. If it’s especially strong, open the windows and go outside. This is the kind of gas leak that can cause an explosion. So, you don’t want to waste any time. 

Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping

This is another kind of gas leak: carbon monoxide, or CO. This won’t cause an explosion or anything, but it can be deadly all the same. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels. It’s around if you have gas or oil heat, but when everything is working properly, it vents safely out of your home. 

However, if there’s a leak, a break, or a clog somewhere, it may begin building up around the water heater or furnace. But, it’s colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Unless you have a monitor, you won’t notice until it’s too late. 

As carbon monoxide poisoning sets in you’ll feel dizzy, nauseous, or sleepy. Eventually, you’ll pass out, and as you inhale more, you’ll stop breathing. 

Open the windows if the detector goes off once. Check to make sure the batteries aren’t low. Sometimes, they’ll sound off to remind you about changing the batteries. If it goes off after checking the batteries, call your HVAC company. And, if it won’t stop sounding, call the fire department. 

Water Leaking From or Around the Tank

The problem is obvious: You have a leak. But, you may not realize what can happen and how quickly things can escalate. If there’s a leak coming from the tank, then it’s rusting from the inside. You haven’t noticed before because you never see the inside of the tank. 

But, what you’re noticing is like the tip of the iceberg. If it’s gotten so bad that there’s a hole on the outside, the inside looks much worse. The oxidation has weakened a large swath of the metal tank by now.

With all that water pushing against the rusted, worn-out section, it’s only a matter of time before that tiny hole splits open into a huge break. At that point, you’re dealing with dozens of gallons of water all over the floor in a matter of seconds. 
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Water That’s Cloudy or Has a Metallic Taste

Another sign of a leak or rust comes from the water coming out of the tap. If it’s cloudy or tastes metallic, rust or other contaminants are in your tank and traveling through the pipes. You don’t want to bathe or wash with that water, and you definitely shouldn’t drink it. 

Instead, call your HVAC company right away. At this point, you’re not only stuck with water you can’t use. Your heater may also be about to burst due to the rust damage. 

24 Hour HVAC Repair in York, PA

If you can’t get your water heater in York, PA light to stop blinking, or if you’ve noticed any of the warning signs we’ve outlined here, contact us at Air Comfort Technologies. We’re available 24 hours a day to answer your call. Depending on the problem, reaching out right away could be the difference between a quick repair or a big disaster. 
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