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Old 05-10-2011, 06:18 PM   #16
BIGRED
 
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


You should check that the pilot flame is bathing the end of the thermocouple in flame first. If the flame is beside the end of the thermocouple probe there is a chance the pilot flame is a gnats heartbeat from going out anyway. The probe has to be buried in the flame or there is not enough pressure to hold the valves open. While you are down there shine a strong flashlight into the firebox and see how much rust debris is in the firebox and in particular covering the top of the main gas burner. It looks loke a 4-5" plate with holes around the edge in the middle of the firebox. The most you should ever see in there is about a teaspoonfull. Use the snorkel tool on your vacuum to reach in there and clean it all out if you need too. If you do these two things and it still turns off as soon as you raise the temp on the dial go to your hardware store and get a replacement thermocouple and put it in. It's real simple. Only after you have tried these three things should you even consider the gas valve. As a rule the valves on Rheem 40 and 50 gallon heaters hardly ever go bad. In fifteen years and 200+ heaters I only had to change 2 valves and one of those was because the factory had put a propane valve on a natural gas heater.

OOOPS!! I just saw your pics. You have a sealed combustion chamber and Rheem will void the warranty if anyone goes in and attempts to repair anything inside it. We were told by Rheem that this type of firebox has to be REPLACED if anything goes bad and only by their authorized repair centers. Check to see if the air door under the heater has tripped shut or if it is blocked by debris and/or dust or lint. You can sustain a pilot with the air door closed, but the main burner will cause a shut down like this if it can't get any air. Sorry.


Last edited by Grampa Bud; 05-10-2011 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Saw the pictures
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:44 PM   #17
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


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Originally Posted by Grampa Bud View Post
You should check that the pilot flame is bathing the end of the thermocouple in flame first. If the flame is beside the end of the thermocouple probe there is a chance the pilot flame is a gnats heartbeat from going out anyway. The probe has to be buried in the flame or there is not enough pressure to hold the valves open. While you are down there shine a strong flashlight into the firebox and see how much rust debris is in the firebox and in particular covering the top of the main gas burner. It looks loke a 4-5" plate with holes around the edge in the middle of the firebox. The most you should ever see in there is about a teaspoonfull. Use the snorkel tool on your vacuum to reach in there and clean it all out if you need too. If you do these two things and it still turns off as soon as you raise the temp on the dial go to your hardware store and get a replacement thermocouple and put it in. It's real simple. Only after you have tried these three things should you even consider the gas valve. As a rule the valves on Rheem 40 and 50 gallon heaters hardly ever go bad. In fifteen years and 200+ heaters I only had to change 2 valves and one of those was because the factory had put a propane valve on a natural gas heater.

OOOPS!! I just saw your pics. You have a sealed combustion chamber and Rheem will void the warranty if anyone goes in and attempts to repair anything inside it. We were told by Rheem that this type of firebox has to be REPLACED if anything goes bad and only by their authorized repair centers. Check to see if the air door under the heater has tripped shut or if it is blocked by debris and/or dust or lint. You can sustain a pilot with the air door closed, but the main burner will cause a shut down like this if it can't get any air. Sorry.
Well there is no warranty to be voided so I guess I can check the air door, any other advice since there is not a warranty to void?
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:16 PM   #18
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


Furthermore what exactly do you mean by Air Door?

EDIT: I think you may be referring to this? http://onsmartpages.com/weilhammerpl...s/DSC09018.jpg

I am not seeing that in my model's manual: http://globalimageserver.com/fetchDo...8-a11aac3bd668

Last edited by sublimesed; 05-10-2011 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:02 PM   #19
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


I take it the water heater has a 6 year warranty. GE ? Call the 800 number listed by the model sticker on the top. The tech people are good at trouble shooting the problem. But they might not help you if your out of warranty. It doesn't hurt to try. There is a glass piece under the burner in the combustion chamber(I forget what it's called). It is designed the break if the air mixture somehow gets screwed up. If that breaks, you won't get it going no matter what you do. You have to open the combustion chamber to check it. If you do that, you are supposed to replace the gasket. They sent me a kit with both in it. But I was still under warranty.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:17 PM   #20
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


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I take it the water heater has a 6 year warranty. GE ? Call the 800 number listed by the model sticker on the top. The tech people are good at trouble shooting the problem. But they might not help you if your out of warranty. It doesn't hurt to try. There is a glass piece under the burner in the combustion chamber(I forget what it's called). It is designed the break if the air mixture somehow gets screwed up. If that breaks, you won't get it going no matter what you do. You have to open the combustion chamber to check it. If you do that, you are supposed to replace the gasket. They sent me a kit with both in it. But I was still under warranty.
It is actually not under warranty, I called them today. And it is a Rheem Water Heater. The manual is saying that the combustion shutoff system has tripped..does that help any?
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:32 PM   #21
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


More Detailed image of the internal system can be found here: http://globalimageserver.com/fetchDo...f-6d3316afca2a
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:28 PM   #22
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


So they wouldn't help? I believe the shutoff switch is the same thing I was talking about. I had similar problems with my GE heater(made by Rheem) that looks exactly like the pictures you posted. I would assume it is the same. The glass holds the switch down. When it pops, the switch comes up and prevents the gas valve from letting gas in. I don't know if you can buy the glass. They sent me one cuz I was still under warranty. I installed it myself with the help of a licensed plumber on the phone cuz he was too busy to come. That fixed the problem, but it happened again a year later. They said since it happened already they just replaced the entire unit. You might have to replace yours. If you want to know for sure, you can remove the combustion chamber door and look on the bottom for little pieces of glass.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:34 PM   #23
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


If that glass deal is still in tact, you can try replacing the pilot assembly. You can find them online. The thermocouple comes with it. They are somewhere around $40. You can't buy the thermalcouple separate.
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:14 PM   #24
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


If your pilot can be lit and will stay on with the gas control in the pilot position And will stay on with your hands off the controls but goes out the instant you turn the control from "pilot" to "on", you need to have the gas valve changed.
The dummy question is to make sure you are not mixing up the "on " position for the "off" postion.

If your pilot can be lit and will stay on with the gas control in the pilot position but goes out as soon as you let your hands off the controls then it could be the thermocouple, thermocouple position, pilot orifice, inline limit switch( i didn't see one in your pic's) or the gas valve.

Note # unclamping the gas valve from a hot water tank is very hard on the glass lining of the tank and can often lead to a leaking tank. Compare the labour & gas valve costs on fixing a 6yr + tank against the price of a new tank.

Last edited by how; 05-12-2011 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:52 AM   #25
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Used Rheem 50gal water heater - Pilot won't light...Any ideas?


Sublimesed: the combustion shut off system IS the air door I spoke of. It's that round metal disc they show in the bottom of the picture. We were never allowed to mess with a heater where the air door was tripped so I don't know how or if it is actually tied to the gas valve. The manual indicates some form of tie, but they don't show any.Try lifting or opening the door with a 1/4 or 3/8 drill bit on one side and reliting the heater. If the main comes on after lighting the pilot you have your answer and you can talk to Rheem about how to repair the "Combustion Shut Off System".

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