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Old 06-22-2011, 03:29 PM   #31
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Pilot on Williams millivolt wall heater goes out every 8 to 16 hours


It sounds like the thermopile is overheating the cold junction cause nonsense shut downs. The pilot flame only should engulf top 1/3 of the Thermopile. And if the TP is to close to burner it can overheat it as well.

By overheating the cold junction it will generate postive millivolts the once the cold jucntion overheats it will start to slow lose the millivolt signal till everything shut off.




Quote:
Originally Posted by wornways View Post
Hi folks,

I created this account for the sole purpose of seeking help with this problem, which I'm beginning to think is unsolvable or something to do with ghosts.

I live in a rental with a Williams millivolt wall heater. When I first moved in last March, the pilot went out about every 3 to 4 days like clockwork. I was busy and warmer weather was on the way, so I didn't problem it. By the time I shut off the heater for the summer months, however, the pilot was going out every 2 to 3 days.

Three months ago I relit the pilot and began using the heater. Now the pilot was going out about every 1 to 2 days. And also now, sometimes between outages, the thermostat would come on with a click, but the heater would not. I discovered that stomping once or twice on the floor by the heater would cause it to engage. I contacted the property managers and explained the situation and they sent the repair man out, who replaced the thermopile after briefly investigating the heater.

When he left I felt fine about this situation and expected no more problems. But, within 24 hours the pilot went out again, and subsequently began to go out within 12 to 16 hours ever since.

I contacted the property manager again and told them about the situation, and the repair man was sent out again. He decided to order a new gas valve, and after about three weeks of relighting the pilot now every 8 to 12 hours, it arrived and he came out and replaced the gas valve.

When he left I felt all assured that there would be no problems. But within 12 hours the pilot went out again. With the old gas valve, I knew the pilot was out only when it began to get cold. But with the new gas valve the behavior was different. Now the heater started up, ran for about a minute, then shut off with the pilot gone out. Always after about 8 to 12 hours of running normally.

I assume there's no need to express the profundity of my frustration nor the depths of my dismay at this point. The repair man even suggested I might be making this up. But, I'm not. When the pilot went out after the second gas valve was replaced, I began to log the times at which the pilot had to be relit. Still, I at least no longer had to stomp on the floor to start the heater when the thermostat engaged.

After a week and a half of logging outages twice to three times daily, many times noticed at the moment the pilot went out in the manner I described two paragraphs ago, I decided to see if the original thermopile had been replaced with a faulty one. I sought one out and purchased it for just under $40 and installed it. Very easy to install.

Within 12 hours the pilot went out again. I contacted the repair man (talking with him directly now) the next day and told him all about it. We decided that since the gas valve had been replaced and the thermopile had been replaced twice, the only thing left to replace was the thermostat--though he made it clear that he didn't see how this could possibly be the cause.

He came out the next day and replaced the old thermostat with a known good one from another unit. If it was a known good one, I have no idea under what circumstances it operated, because with this dysfunctional wall heater it barely worked. For the first few days I regularly had to thump the wall the thermostat is on in order to get the heater to turn on--a few degrees cooler and several minutes after hearing the thermostat click a closed connection. The pilot still went out every 8 to 14 hours. And not only this, but with the second gas valve and thermostat together, when the thermostat kicked in, the heater would often turn on for a minute, turn off, turn back on, turn off again, turn on for three minutes, turn off for four, turn back on again, and carry on in this manner for 20 to 30 minutes before deciding to either stay on (if all this didn't warm the house) or off (if all this did warm the house)--or go out altogether (if the magic 8 to 14 hour period was up).

There's another behavior to report that has been persistent through all this. If I leave the house for any length of time, with the thermostat off, when I come back, days or weeks later, the pilot is still lit. It is only after the thermostat has been turned up to keep the house warm and the heater has been starting and stopping over the course about 8 to 14 hours that the heater shuts off with the pilot gone out.

I managed to discover that if I slide a piece of paper behind the dial of the thermostat, which causes the dial to be pushed forward a little, the thermostat behaved more normally. However, the pilot still goes out every 8 to 14 hours of use, without fail, and I still occasionally had to thump the wall the thermostat is on in order to start the heater.

At this point, the repair man called in someone who repairs heaters for a living, and yesterday he came. He went over my outage log, did some checks, and proclaimed that he doesn't understand how the pilot could be going out all this time through two thermopiles, one gas valve, and one thermostat. He thought maybe it was a draft, but when I asked him if a draft could blow the heater out when it was on and warming the house for a minute, he said no, there's no way that could happen. I then explained to him that within the 8 to 14 hour period between outages, the wind could be raging outside without so much as causing the pilot to flicker. It's not a draft.

So this second repair man decided he'd start the heater off with a clean slate, and he replaced both the gas valve and thermopile there on the spot. When he left, the heater was running without the whole on-off-on-off business and I managed to let myself have a good feeling about it.

But about 40 minutes ago, a good 15 or so hours after the third gas valve and forth thermopile were installed, the pilot went out again--with an audible *click* heard from the other room.

I'm at my wit's end. Can someone give me any idea just what on god's green earth is going on with this heater? Has anyone ever heard of something like this before?

I am seething desperate for a solution. I'm afraid to call the property managers at this point because I'm sure they'll think I'm making this up. I need help and I need it bad.

Any assistance would be more than appreciated.

-----Erin


----- ----- ----- ----- -----


Supplemental info: There is no "limiter switch" on this heater. The wiring consists of the thermopile to the gas valve and the gas valve to the thermostat--that's it. All three gas valves have been wired exactly the same.


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