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Old 12-16-2013, 12:28 AM   #1
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


I have a Whirlpool 40 gal gas water heater that I got around 2 years ago.

Doing dishes tonight, I noticed the warm water was getting colder. When I went to check the water heater, the signal light which indicates proper function was off. It had been continuously on since I got it.

I first tried reigniting it following the instructions on the heater: turned the little knob to PILOT and kept clicking the igniter button once every second but the light wouldn't come on.

Then I thought that some weird little object could be stuck in between the gas pipe shutoff valve and the heater so I disconnected the yellow flex connector at the heater and confirmed that that was not the problem -- the gas flow was normal.

When I reconnected the pipe, I went ahead and tried reigniting the pilot, the same as before. This time it worked after a few tries but the heater would actually not start heating water. In other words, even though the water in it is cold (I tried releasing a few drops from the drain valve at the bottom), the flames don't light up and the heater remains cold. So I have no hot water now.

The little signal light is not powered by external electrical supply but instead there is something inside the heater that generates the low voltage out of I guess burning gas. So evidently, the pilot flame IS burning inside the heater but the burner won't come on.

What could be the reason of this malfunction?

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Old 12-16-2013, 07:00 AM   #2
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


sorry to say but those whirlpool heaters from lowes are junk.....anyway.. did you remember to turn pilot knob to the on position after lighting it...if so tap gently on the control see if it fires..... if not check the little safety switch by burnner assy may have tripped.....ben sr

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Old 12-16-2013, 08:37 AM   #3
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


Yes, I did turn it to ON. What kind of water heaters are better than Whirlpool?
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:43 PM   #4
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


further research suggests it may be the thermocouple...
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:04 PM   #5
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


is the pilot light comming on then going off when you release button...or is it not lighting at all...if its lighting then going off yes it could be thermocuppler ...if pilot wont light ...then it could be ignitor not working ..or plugged pilot tube..or bad valve.....i thing those heaters have a thermocuppler with reversed threads ..which means a normal over the counter thermocuppler wont work...but dont know if that was changed....ben sr
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


I believe the left hand thermocouple thread issue was solved several years ago with a class action lawsuit. doesn't guarantee it went away though.

Several years ago we ran into several bad gas valves on water heaters. We tried all the usual fixes...thermocouples, clean pilots etc. Turns out we had to replace the gas valve itself. These were all heaters from big box type stores. We got to the point whenever we came across one we would pull the serial # and call for warrantee replacement of the valve. We replaced all but one of them at some time within a year of getting the replacement
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:30 PM   #7
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


Turns out my heater doesn't use the same kind of thermocouple I got (coiled bendable copper tube with some terminals at the ends) but just something that looks like gauge 22 or 24 wires.

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Old 12-17-2013, 06:41 AM   #8
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


If you call up their customer service,they might send you a new burner unit---in the past,they would only give the parts to a licensed plumber--but that may have changed---

This is the reason I always suggest buying a water heater from a local plumbing supply house---they stock the parts for what they sell.

Bradford White--AO Smith are the brands carried by my local supply house.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amakarevic View Post
Turns out my heater doesn't use the same kind of thermocouple I got (coiled bendable copper tube with some terminals at the ends) but just something that looks like gauge 22 or 24 wires.
Sears Kenmore is the same way. You have to purchased the entire burner assembly to fix a thermocouple problem. The 6 dollar over the counter thermocouples won't work. Ridiculous. No wonder they were sued. Being how it's only 2 years old, they may send you a new one for free, as mike has suggested. May be worth the call to save a little money.

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Old 12-17-2013, 12:12 PM   #10
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


I called them and they said my heater doesn't use a thermoCOUPLE but a thermoPILE and they will send it to me, charging only for S&H
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:25 PM   #11
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


That's great. Glad everything worked out for you. Thanks for sharing your experience, it may help someone else.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:34 PM   #12
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


Quote:
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That's great. Glad everything worked out for you. Thanks for sharing your experience, it may help someone else.
we're yet to see if it works out. will keep you posted. thanks for chiming in.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:33 PM   #13
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2 yr old gas water heater not lighting up, signal light on


The days of changing out just a thermal couple are over..now its either a Pilot Assembly, thermal pile, or Hot Surface Ignighter.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:15 PM   #14
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Remember to thank the congress for the explosion proof hot water tank.....
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Remember to thank the congress for the explosion proof hot water tank.....
...and they said you can't legislate stupid. Reminds me of the quote I may have read on this forum.

"The trouble with stupid people is there is nothing that eats them"

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