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judymar 12-23-2007 09:54 AM

Pilot light won't stay on
Please help! I have just spent over $500 for repairs to my furnace because of the pilot light going out all the time...The first repairman put in a new thermocouple and replaced the vent cover on my roof...The next one I had, replaced the valve...The pilot stayed on for about a week after the valve was replaced...Then I woke up to it having gone out again, for the last 3 mornings it has been out when I wake up. When it did this before, the pilot would be out in the morning, but after lighting it, it would stay lit all day, then go out at night...Within a few days it got worse, till it got to only staying lit long enough for the furnace to click on twice, then out again. If it could be the flame being too low, is it possible I could adjust it myself? This is a 15 year old Coleman Evacon Presidential. I can't afford nor do I want to call another repairman out, not only do they charge too much, but don't seem to know what they are doing....Judy

redline 12-23-2007 10:42 AM

Is this natural gas, LP, oil...?

judymar 12-23-2007 10:54 AM

Pilot light
It's natural gas, and was changed Nov 15th from propane, but worked fine for two weeks after the switch.

redline 12-23-2007 11:01 AM

The orifice size may not be correct.

Who did the change?

judymar 12-23-2007 12:14 PM

Pilot light
Please, what and where is the orifice? If it is the adapter used to switch back to natural gas, it is the same one that was on there before I had to go to propane.

judymar 12-23-2007 05:18 PM

Pilot light
I just tried one more thing...There is cold air coming up around the pipes on the outside of the furnace. I thought if that cold air is coming up on the outside it could be going up the inside as well...I took a terry-cloth towel, pushed it down and around as much as I could on the pipe...I am at my wits end, as well as spent too many $ trying to get it right. If this is it, I will be happy, then know I will get so angry for all the money I have spent. When the plumber ran the pipe from the meter to the hook-ups, he could have left something open or not right, I don't remember the cold air coming out like it has been.

bigMikeB 12-23-2007 05:30 PM

Why have you had two different guys work on it? Did either one mention a problem with the heat exchanger? Where both guys actual professionals? Why didn't you call the first guy back?

judymar 12-23-2007 05:58 PM

Pilot light
The first 'repairman' came out and told me what he hoped it wasn't, the valve. Then suggested changing the thermocouple, which he did...It stayed lit till that night, then had him back the next day, when I suggested he check the roof vent, he did then put a new one on...It went out again, not too long after. This time I called an appliance man who helped me over the phone before, asking him to recommend someon...He said he does furnace repair as well as other repairs. When he came, he cleaned the pilot, checked every thing, and said "lets see". It went out again, he said it has to be the valve. He also told me the repairman I had here before is his nephew, and doesn't know what he is doing...Told him I already knew that. After changing the valve, it lasted a week before going out again, Friday and Saturday nights. When I lived in Chicago, people seemed to know more of what they were doing, not here in Southern Illinois. Its the same with everything, landscaping here means operating farm equipment and mowing grass. I could go on and on, but think you get the idea. Hopefully the towel will be it, will find out tonight if not sooner.

judymar 12-23-2007 06:03 PM

One more thing, when I found this group on google today, also found two new things, external blower and probable cracked heat exchanger. Thanks for mentioning that, I have no idea what that could be. Everytime I have them out here it is an $80 service call, plus labor at $40 a half hour. I am going broke!

bigMikeB 12-23-2007 10:33 PM

I would have looked at the heat exchanger before doing anything else, the furnace might not be worth the repair. I wouldn't have paid for the first guy just to guess. And where did he learn, his uncle?

judymar 12-24-2007 07:52 AM

Thanks, and I know what you are saying, but no one here knows what they are doing...Reason for me feeling paranoid at times. After shoving the towel in where the air is coming out, the furnace ran all night without going off. I had asked one of them if that could be the problem, he said no. When I was on the verge of taking the furnace apart myself yesterday, thought why not try to block that cold air off just to see, that is what it was. This I learn after paying out all the money I have in the last month. I live in a mobile home and when I went from propane to natural gas, had to have a pipe run underneath from the meter. It was 2 weeks after, that I started having this problem, so didn't associate it with the pipe, though the same night this started, I heard a loud pop in the middle of the night. It had to have been something coming apart with that pipe, though I haven't smelled any gas. If you or anyone knows what that might me, please let me know. I would like to know something of what I am talking about when I call the one who put the pipe in...I bought property to retire to, and live as inexpensively as I can on my pension, believe me, in the last 3 years, my little savings have gone down from dealing with what I have had to here. Thanks for your help, and if you can think of what might have popped off under the trailer, please let me know.

judymar 12-24-2007 08:04 AM

To answer your question of where the first guy learned his 'trade'. I was told by the uncle, who has a separate business, when the coal mines shut down in this area some years ago, these so called repairmen went to the local community college and took a course in heating and a/c which they learned only the basics. Believe me, I have really been thinking it was me, how could everyone who comes for repairs be so inept, now I know...The uncle, who is in his upper 50s, told me he learned the business, hands on. I had a fleeting bit of happiness thinking I finally found someone who knows what they are doing...So much for that! Another thing they all try to push whenever coming out, is to buy a new furnace and a/c, as the uncle said, they don't know how to fix the old. I have a leak in my a/c, and has had to be filled every year for the last 3 years...I was told it could cost up to $800 for someone to find it and fix, this by the ones who try to scare me into buying new. Believe me, it has not been a peaceful retirement so far. Okay, off my pity-pot...

fireguy 12-24-2007 12:52 PM

The towell could have been used to fill the oversize hole made by whoever did the original install, or ran the Natural Gas pipe. There should be an air inlet for combustion air, near the furnace. If there is not an air inlet, you could be using conditioned air for combustion. Inadaquate combustion air can lead to serious problems, such as poor combustion, or CO in the house. You need to go to and ask your questions. You might also be able to find a good contractor and not a hack. Are these people you hired licensed, insured and bonded? Does your state even have any regulations for tradepeople? You need some good help for this problem.
Good luck.

judymar 12-24-2007 04:19 PM

Everyone I have had out here has been out of the yellow pages for the furnace or a/c. It is the area of Southen Illinois, I have never seen people like this. I just called the guy back who put the pipe in, he wasn't lisenced, but at the time I didn't have time to call around, and there aren't that many to call anyway....When he came today, he put caulk around where the two furnace pipes are. They come up from underneath the trailer. I am sure I wasted my breath when asking him if he is sure that is okay to do. The lack of work ethic and drive are like no place I have ever been in this county of Franklin, Ill. When I told him about the popping noise I heard that night, two weeks after the propane switch was made, he explained that away on the trailer settling (it's been here for 3 years) or the wind hitting the roof. All I could have done was stand there and argue with him which would have been to no avail...Please let me know if that caulk around the pipe coming through the floor will be alright? Thanks.

bigMikeB 12-24-2007 04:46 PM

Wow I don't know what to say about the guys you are dealing with. As for the a/c it's illegal to just dump freon into a leaking unit. You need to have it fixed or replaced that's a given. Good luck with your heat. Merry Christmas.

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