Reliance 606 Water Heater Pilot Won't Stay Lit

Reliance 606 Water Heater Pilot Won’t Stay Lit [7 Easy Solutions]

Reliance 606 Water Heater pilot won’t stay lit one of the following reasons: 

  • Air in the gas line
  • No gas or low gas pressure
  • Dirt in gas lines
  • Clogged pilot line or orifice
  • Bad thermopile
  • Defective gas control/thermostat 
  • Igniter or electrode gets broken

Throughout this entire troubleshooting guide, I will walk you through every step to fix those issues. So, stay in tune with us to fix the pilot light issue. 

Table of Contents

Reliance 606 Water Heater Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit [7 Easy Solutions]

This chapter will reveal the reasons that cause the pilot light to not stay lit. 

1. Air In The Gas Line

Your Reliance Hot Water Heater pilot won’t stay lit if there is air in the gas line. If you want the pilot light to stay lit, you must purge the air from the gas line. 

How To Fix: 

To bleed the air from the gas line, ensure you turn the gas control knob counterclockwise. Leave the gas control knob for 10 minutes to let the gas clear out. 

Then, turn on the gas control knob and open a nearby hot faucet to purge the air from the water line as well. 

Once the water runs flawlessly, turn off the hot water faucet that indicates no gas is in the gas line and the water line. 

2. No Gas Or Low Gas Pressure

Without enough gas, you can’t turn on your Reliance Water Heater. And when you fail to light up the unit, how could it be possible for the pilot light to stay lit? 

No gas will flow to the burner if you don’t fully open the gas control valve. Turns out, sizing up the gas lines incorrectly can prevent the pilot light from coming on. 

Furthermore, if you install a gas meter improperly, it will cause the pilot light to not stay lit. 

Nonetheless, low inlet gas pressure is another culprit behind the pilot light issue. 

How To Fix: 

Begin by inspecting the position of the gas control valve. If you don’t fully open this valve, turn the gas valve counterclockwise to let the gas flow into the burner. 

In addition, ensure the gas line you install is sized up according to the manufacturer guideline. It will be better to call a certified plumber to check the gas line and let him size it up properly. 

Next, move forward and take a look at the gas meter. Ensure you install a gas meter that can handle the total BTUs load of all the gas appliances along with the water heater. 

Finally, make sure the inlet gas pressure of your water heater is within specification. If your Reliance 606 Water Heater is functioning properly, the gas pressure should be between 5” WC to 14” WC. 

I highly recommend you hire a qualified service guy to fix the gas pressure issue if it goes out of range. 

3. Dirt In Gas Lines

If sediment or dirt makes a home in the gas lines, gas will not flow through the gas line due to blockage. And without gas supply to the unit, the pilot light won’t stay lit. 

How To Fix: 

Before doing anything, make sure you turn off the gas supply to the unit. Then, unhook the gas line from the unit and release the blockage from the line. The best bait is to call the gas utility company as this task involves gas. 

4. Pilot Line or Orifice Gets Clogged

Every gas water heater including your Reliance 606 has a pilot line to feed the burner with gas. At the end of that pilot line, you can find an opening there which is known as pilot orifice. 

Over time, the pilot tube or its orifice gets clogged by gunk, dirt, or fuel residue. Consequently, the gas fails to flow through the pilot line or orifices to the burner. And guess what, the pilot light won’t stay lit if no gas is flowing into the burner. 

How To Fix: 

Cleaning the pilot line or orifice will be a simple fix to this issue. Before heading over to clean the pilot line, turn off the gas valve. You can find the gas valve on the gas supply line. 

Next, locate the pilot orifice under the access cover and unscrew it from its fitting. Then, use a damp cotton swab and clean all the surface of the pilot orifice. 

After cleaning the pilot line and the orifice, reassemble everything. Turn on the gas supply valve. Finally, relight the pilot. If you don’t know how to light the pilot light, keep reading as I will discuss it at the end of this guide. 

5. Defective Thermopile

A faulty thermopile is another culprit that prevents the pilot from coming on. In this case, the only solution to this problem is to replace the thermopile with a new one. Check the ‘How To Fix’ section below to learn how to make the replacement. 

How To Fix: 

Follow the below step-by-step procedure to replace the thermopile: 

  • Set the gas control knob to the off position. 
  • Shut off the gas supply to the unit at the manual gas shut-off valve. You can find this valve beside the water heater. 
  • Leave the unit for several times until the unit cools down. 
  • Take out the outer door from the bottom of the unit. 
  • Now, disconnect everything like the pilot tube, igniter wire, and manifold tube from the gas control valve.  
  • Detach the thermopile wire from the gas control valve using needle nose pliers. 
  • Remove the nut that secures the manifold burner assembly to the combustion chamber. Then, pull out the burner assembly carefully from the combustion chamber. 
  • Unscrew the nut that secures the pilot or thermopile assemble to the pilot bracket. 
  • Use a flat-blade screwdriver retainer clip from the back of the manifold component block. 
  • Now, lift the thermopile assembly up from the manifold assembly. 
  • In this step, I recommend you use the old pilot/thermopile assembly as a guide. Bend the new pilot tube to match the existing one.  
  • Run the new pilot tube, igniter wire, and thermopile wire through the opening in the manifold door. 
  • Connect the new pilot/thermopile assembly with the pilot screw you removed earlier. Don’t forget to reattach the burner to the manifold and secure it with the nut you removed earlier. 
  • Put back the manifold component block in the manifold door. Make sure you position the pilot tube and wires correctly. 
  • Bend the pilot tube to match the manifold tube. 
  • Reinstall the burner or manifold assembly into the combustion chamber. 
  • Connect everything into the gas control valve. 
  • Turn the manual gas shut-off valve as well as the gas control knob. 
  • Relight the pilot. 

6. Faulty Gas Control

If the gas control valve is at fault, no gas will flow to the burner for combustion. In other words, the pilot light won’t stay lit if the gas control valve gets defective. Replacing the gas control valve will help the pilot light of your Reliance Water Heater to come on. 

How To Fix: 

Complete the following procedure to replace the gas control valve: 

  • Ensure you shut off the gas supply to the unit at the manual gas shut-off valve.
  • Remove the access door from the bottom of the unit.
  • Now, disconnect everything like the pilot tube, manifold tube, and igniter wire from the gas control/thermostat. 
  • Don’t forget to detach the piping connected with the gas control valve. 
  • Use a 4” section of gas pipe and thread it into the inlet of the gas control/thermostat. Then, turn the gas control counterclockwise to remove the old gas control. 
  • Now, install the new gas control/thermostat. Use the 4” section of gas pipe to tighten up the gas control. Ensure you use approved Teflon tape on the gas piping connections and fitting on the back of the gas control valve that goes into the tank. 
  • Ensure you put everything like the pilot tube, igniter wire, and manifold tube back into the gas control/thermostat.
  • Turn the main gas supply on at the manual gas shut-off valve and check the gas supply connections for leaks.
  • Light the pilot. 

7. Igniter or Electrode Gets Defective

A defective igniter or igniter gets coated with rust can also prevent the pilot from staying lit. Similarly, if the electrode at the igniter gets broken, you can’t light the pilot. 

How To Fix: 

Start with testing the igniter system to verify whether the igniter is at fault or not. In this case, shut off the main gas supply to your water heater at the manual gas shut-off valve. 

Then, take a look at the electrode tip through the view-glass while activating the igniter. If you see a spark jumping from the electrode, understand the igniter is fine. Otherwise, you should check the igniter wire connections. If the igniter wire is ok, I bet the igniter goes bad. 

Regarding this, you must replace the igniter. 

Nonetheless, don’t forget to check the electrode tip for rust or carbon deposits. If there is carbon buildup on the electrode tip, use an emery cloth to clean the electrode tip. 

How Do You Light The Pilot Light On A Reliance 606 Water Heater?

Follow the below lighting instructions to light the pilot:

  1. Set the gas control/temperature on to the off position by turning it counterclockwise.
  2. Leave the water heater for 10 minutes to allow all the gas to clear out.
  3. Now, turn the gas control/temperature knob clockwise and set it to the Pilot position.
  4. Press and hold the temperature knob all the way in. While holding down the temperature knob all the way in, keep pressing the igniter button for up to 90 seconds or until the status light comes on. 
  5. Release the temperature knob right off the bat when the status light starts blinking. Then, set the temperature knob to your desired temperature settings. 

Note: If the status light doesn’t come on within 90 seconds, try out the step from 2 to 4. Try the lighting attempt 3 times. Wait 10 minutes between each lighting attempt. If you fail to light up the pilot after three attempts, shut-off the gas supply to the unit. Then, call a qualified plumber. 


Why does my Reliance Water Heater keep shutting off?

Your Reliance Water Heater will keep shutting off due to one of the following reasons: 

  • Set the thermostat too low
  • No gas flowing to the unit
  • Defective thermocouple
  • Bad gas control valve 
  • You may install the unit in a confined space

Why does my pilot light go out when I release the pilot light knob?

The pilot light will go out when you release the pilot light knob if the thermocouple is at fault. To fix this issue, you should replace the thermopile. 

How do I know if my thermocouple is broken?

Try to relight the pilot. If the pilot light doesn’t stay lit, understand the thermocouple is the culprit.


Unable to light the pilot means unable to turn on your Reliance 606 Water Heater. And when you can’t turn on the unit, you will get no hot water from it. 

Indeed, it’s a must to fix the issue: Pilot light won’t stay lit if you want to enjoy the comfort of hot water. And this guide comes handy in this case. I mentioned every culprit behind this issue.

So, follow the steps I mentioned as troubleshooting and light the pilot successfully. 

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