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Old 01-27-2011, 09:27 AM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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Hot Water heater troubles, got any ideas?

Ok, simple enough the pilot light won't light, it needs a thermocouple and I install a new one. Along with that I take the guys advice at the hardware store and clean out the vent under the heater blowing it out with compressed air to be sure it is clean and the flame can get oxygen. It wasn't even dirty, under the heater was a little dusty but no dust bunnys or anything like that.


After the cleaning and the new thermocouple it takes a LONG time to light, you have to keep the button held for a long time, maybe a few minutes before the pilot light stays on. This was not done when I first found the PL out so I have to assume it was exactly this way before I replaced the thermocouple and there was nothing wrong with the old one.

I fired it up (finally) and checked it over and over throughout the evening and it was still lit when I went to bed last night at 11:00.

This morning I wake and it is still lit. WHOO HOO....not so fast. I check it again 15 minutes later before jumping in the shower and it's out! ***?

I lit it again, taking about two minutes for it to finally stay lit.


I have to assume it's the thermostat it's self that's bad but this is not cheap so I hate to "throw parts at it".

Anyone have any ideas?

Brian

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Old 01-27-2011, 09:56 AM
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Why do you want to heat hot water ????
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:58 AM
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Try cleaning your pilot oriface , also make sure that the tip of the blue cone in the pilot flame is touching the tip of the thermocouple.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:35 AM
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DBM, LOL, that is a good point.

Henry, I have done both those things. I made sure the thermocouple was positioned correctly and it is. It is exactly the same length as the old one and the flame is hitting it the same. The underside of the water heater is clear, including the intake. This is a 2 year old unit at most. The last couple of years in this area there has been a lot of changes to water heaters to make them more "green". The only air intake on this unit is an 8 inch square metal "screen" on the bottom right under the burner. I blew it out with compressed air making sure it was spotless, and it is.

The thing is the damn pilot light will stay lit for hours then mysteriously just go out!

Brian
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:27 AM
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Roof Vent Cover?

I had a gas furnace with a similar problem once. The roof vent cover had blown off, breeze forced down the pipe was blowing the pilot flame out. Maybe you just have a gummed up control valve. Bad thing about gas water heaters is you don't have to replace many parts to get close to the cost of a new one. Nolan
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:50 AM
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I used to be a service tech for So. Cal. Gas Co. a long time ago. You've done just about everything you can do with replacing the thermocouple and making sure the pilot is burning properly on the therms tip.

As you know the therm. gets hot and provides millivolts to hold the magnetic valve open when you release the button. If the new therm. is working properly and the downdraft deverter is in place on top of the water heater to keep the pilot light from getting blown out (really not likely) then its most likely the mag valve assembly that's kaput. If the wtr. htr. is more than 10 yrs old or so then I would just replace it unless you can find a new complete control and know how to fix it....for far less than the price of a new heater........good luck.
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:04 PM
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If that is a Whirlpool, and purchased from Lowe's they have major problem with some models. Lowe's will supply a free kit to replace the burner and several other components. I had that problem and told them what the model and s/n was and that it was less then 5years old - the lady handed me the kit and said to have a good day.

My furnace, coldest day of the year (Sunday just past and -15F) ate a thermocouple Ten bucks later and about an hour to get it, basked in warmth again.

Dave W
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:47 PM
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Check your millivolts at the valve, you should be getting at least 350 M.V. My guess is with the slow start up when you first light it is a bad coupler or improperly aimed on the coupler. Buy a brand name, there are a lot of gas units available now, this time of year parts get scarce.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:55 PM
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Had a similar problem with the Central Heat and the problem ended up being in the valve unit between the gas line and pilot light. Turned out that this old house has some flakes/particles that come from the old galvanized pipe and therefore screw up the valve unit preventing proper propane flow.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:49 PM
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I was thinking about that, it all looks good and I blew out one section of the pilot light pipe but there could be something there. Hmmmm


Brian
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