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Old 12-02-2011, 10:28 PM   #1
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Hot water heater pilot light goes out


I have a Ruud Model P50-6A, installed in 1994, and for the past few years the pilot light will just go out occasionally. I've never been able to correlate it with anything like the weather or some household activity. It seems random and not so frequent that I felt like I needed to bring in someone. But obviously often enough that I find myself checking the pilot light.

Bad thermocouple? Something else? It's 17 years old, is this a sign of impending failure?

Thanks,
Dante

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Old 12-03-2011, 07:19 AM   #2
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Hot water heater pilot light goes out


That's a sign of a dirty pilot burner---often cleaning the tip with a knife or bit of wire will increase the flame height and end that problem.

A thermocouple either works or it doesn't--that been my experience--

Some times a back draft down the flue will cause that---those are more difficult to cure--Mike--

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Old 12-03-2011, 07:30 AM   #3
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Hot water heater pilot light goes out


Thanks. I was thinking back draft too, but it isn't consistent with windy days. To clean the pilot burner, I guess I have to remove it. Should be straightforward from the exploded parts diagram, but anything I special I should be doing? (besides turning off the gas!)

Dante
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:52 AM   #4
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Hot water heater pilot light goes out


Is that a modern sealed unit with the little window and a clicker?

Or is it the old style that you light with a match?
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:33 AM   #5
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Hot water heater pilot light goes out


Match....definitely match!
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:52 AM   #6
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Hot water heater pilot light goes out


shut the gas on the pipe..break the gas nut into the valve and the entire burner should come right out coupling and all.check the aluminum pilot gas tube..bugs like the odor....then work the pilot assembly orifice carbon dirt....
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
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Hot water heater pilot light goes out


hello. kinda sounds like a problem with the thermocouple ready to go south, maybe. it could also be a looseness where the thermocouple threads into the control box. sometimes, for whatever reason, they loosen a bit. gently try tightening at this area. even a little bit loose will affect the on and off of the pilot. if you take the whole assembly out to clean the thermocouple why not just change it? it's 17 and might be on its way out anyway. and lastly, it could be time to start shopping for another heater, yours sounds like it may be ready to give you a surprise one day. and we all know when that will happen! at the most inopportune hour of the day! hth

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