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Old 11-26-2010, 07:26 PM   #46
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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Originally Posted by flypsyde View Post
Well, my problem ended up being the gas control valve. I had a plumber come out and he came to the same conclusion and replaced it. Once the new one was in the pilot light lit up on the first try. The water heater has been working perfectly since.

-FlypSyde
Wow, I guess I was wrong. Good thing your plumber got it right.

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Old 12-18-2010, 09:53 PM   #47
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The replacement gas valve was sent to me priority so it came in a few days. However, the company was reluctant to send it to me because the representative kept saying it wasn't the control valve according to what I told them and they were right. No receipt was necessary, they go by the serial number to see how old it is.

I still think it's caused by the air flow being clogged. Here's something you can do to test the air flow. Remove the screws that connect the glass on the water heater. Then loosen the glass, that way the burner will have a little more air flow. If after you loosen the glass and the water heater stays lit longer or stay lit all the time, then you know it's the air flow and the shop vac should fix it. Removing the glass will make the water heater less safe. However, I won't worry about that, since all the water heater made 10 years prior didn't even have the glass that sealed the burner.

Remember that the water heater is made so precise that it has to allow enough air to allow the pilot and burner to work, but not enough to ignite a gas leak if there was one. All you need is a spider that spins a web to block the air flow. The water heater can look perfectly clean from the outside. It's the inside where it matters.

My Water heater wont stay lit, I tried what you suggested. and when I have the cover open it stays lit. How do I fix this issue, is it just a matter of cleaning it with a shop vac. the water heater will stay on for a day or so but eventually will turn off, even with the access door cracked opened. Any suggestions
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:15 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by sergio7500 View Post
My Water heater wont stay lit, I tried what you suggested. and when I have the cover open it stays lit. How do I fix this issue, is it just a matter of cleaning it with a shop vac. the water heater will stay on for a day or so but eventually will turn off, even with the access door cracked opened. Any suggestions
There were 2 water heater that I was working on that had the same problem. One water heater has been working for over a year since I cleaned it out with the shop vac. The 2nd water heater worked for a little while, then the same problem happened again with the pilot turning off every few days. I eventually unscrewed the screws on the glass where the pilot is and it has been working for several months and still working.

Try the Shop Vac. I think my 2nd water heater would of worked, but my shop vac couldn't clear the water heater vents enough.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:40 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by stanlam View Post
There were 2 water heater that I was working on that had the same problem. One water heater has been working for over a year since I cleaned it out with the shop vac. The 2nd water heater worked for a little while, then the same problem happened again with the pilot turning off every few days. I eventually unscrewed the screws on the glass where the pilot is and it has been working for several months and still working.

Try the Shop Vac. I think my 2nd water heater would of worked, but my shop vac couldn't clear the water heater vents enough.

I am going to try the shop vac, It all stated after the water heater had a leaky hose, water was sprayed all over the water heater. Can it be possible for the moisture to have blocked the water heater vents since they are covered with insulation. I am thinking that the insulation is damp and is preventing air from getting into the combustion chamber. What do you think?
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:45 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by sergio7500 View Post
I am going to try the shop vac, It all stated after the water heater had a leaky hose, water was sprayed all over the water heater. Can it be possible for the moisture to have blocked the water heater vents since they are covered with insulation. I am thinking that the insulation is damp and is preventing air from getting into the combustion chamber. What do you think?
My family owns several properties and I am the person who does all the maintenance for all the water heaters on about 25 units in the last 20 years. I've repaired and replaced over 30 water heaters. It seems like the older water heaters that did not have the flame sealed never had these problems. 99% of my water heater never had any maintenance problems until the tank busted so the whole unit was replaced. With my experience I'm still convinced that it has something to do with the vents. Try the Shop Vac. If you have to buy a shop vac, make sure you buy one that also blows air out.

I'm the type of person that is somewhat ethical. So what I would go to Home Depot, look for a Shop Vac that is a open item box. When somebody returns things at Home Depot, this just put it back on the shelf. I would just look for a box that has been obviously opened and used, then buy that shop vac. Bring it home and clear the water heater. Then return it. I don't feel that guilty doing that since it's was opened before I bought it.

Last edited by stanlam; 12-19-2010 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:47 AM   #51
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


Good day.

I have a A.O. Smith Model FSG 50 232 NG water heater. I noticed that at least twice a week during the last few months that my shower water was only luke-warm in the morning. When I checked the pilot light, it was in fact still lit and the burner was going at full blast.

What could the problem be? Is my gas company rationing my gas supply?

Regards,
Bjoern
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:52 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by HandymanMick View Post
Newer unit is probably starving for air.
Intermitent pilot failure is the clue.
Clean air screen (plastic) on bottom of tank.
If thermocouple is bad, will not relight.
~~~~~~~~~~~

HandymanMick,

Your advice was RIGHT ON. I have a 5 year old A.O. Smith GVR 50 water heater, where the pilot would light and stay on for only a short period - usually a few hours to a day. I cleaned the air intake screen (long black plastic screen) at the bottom of the tank and that did the trick.

Thanks for your help!
Novice DIYer

UPDATE:

After initially thinking that my problem was solved by cleaning the air intake screen, my problem surfaced again. My pilot and gas burner would light and burn for about 4-5 minutes; then, there would be a click (gas shutting off) and the pilot and burner would shut off. I followed some other advice (discussed above) by vacuuming the flame arrestor at the bottom of the water heater, but my problem still persisted. Therefore, I waved the white flag and called a plumber who was a licensed A.O. Smith service provider. He immediately knew what the problem was - apparently, the pilot assembly on these units do not have the best design (or it's planned obsolescence on the part of A.O. Smith). He replaced the pilot assembly and it's up and running. I actually watched him install the pilot assembly unit, and it was a very easy process. I hope that others can benefit from this.

Last edited by Novice DIYer; 01-31-2011 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:56 PM   #53
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


AO SMITH SENT ME A VIDIO TO HELP EXPLAIN PROBLEM WITH PILOT OUTAGE--ITS A POS DESIGN TO ME BUT ONCE YOU SEE IT YOULL SAY THE SAME-------

http://www.hotwater101.com/video/gas...rcleaning.html
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:08 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by oldwildman View Post
AO SMITH SENT ME A VIDIO TO HELP EXPLAIN PROBLEM WITH PILOT OUTAGE--ITS A POS DESIGN TO ME BUT ONCE YOU SEE IT YOULL SAY THE SAME-------

http://www.hotwater101.com/video/gas...rcleaning.html
THANKS A MILLION. The video makes it so much easier to understand.
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:10 PM   #55
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A O SMITH gas water heater problem


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Originally Posted by oldwildman View Post
AO SMITH SENT ME A VIDIO TO HELP EXPLAIN PROBLEM WITH PILOT OUTAGE--ITS A POS DESIGN TO ME BUT ONCE YOU SEE IT YOULL SAY THE SAME-------

http://www.hotwater101.com/video/gas...rcleaning.html
THANKS A MILLION X 2!!!! I was able to clean it, and it is finally burning strong. Let's hope it stays this way. By the way, my water heater sits in a pan so I didn't know what I was doing because I couldn't see....that is until I turn on my camera feature on the iPhone and looked inside as I was cleaning.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:44 AM   #56
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Ok 'bump' to this older thread...

I had the same exact problem so many are experiencing. My AO Smith Promax is about 4 yrs old and installed when my house was built in 2007. It has since been shutting off after 10-15 min of operation. The flame goes out completely along with pilot. I can relight it with no problem and the burner relights as well, but ultimately does not stay lit. My wife (originally I wrote this as 'we'...but i'm not taking the blame here because I told her we'll 'get what we pay for' going cheap!!), called a plumber she found on Craigslist, and he came out and thought it needed a new thermocouple. He said he would try to clean it first and I said I would do it. I didnt want to pay the $80 he was going to charge to reach in with some fine grit sand paper or emery cloth to clean the thing (a neighbor had told me it was easy). I managed to clean it up and get it going again. It worked for a while but is doing the same thing now. I'm not sure why I did not check the net, because this thread showed me to check the filter screen! (I didnt even know it had one.) A REAL plumber probably would have pointed to that right from the start, although the guy we called probably was just trying to make some extra money.

Anyway we had my oldest daughters cats down there for the better part of the year and the hair was horrible. I'm guessing that thing is clogged to the hilt. Note;- there is no screen at the base where the holes to the underside of the tank are located, and in the video (by the way was that Al Gore doing the video? Sounded like him, lol), it showed a plastic one. Mine never had one so apparently they left it off when installed.
So now i'm going to go try the clean out and see what happens.

I do have one last question. When the (so called) plumber opened it up to show me how to clean the thermocouple, I was the one who put the cover back on. I see all this discussion about 'new seals' when you do this. I'm not sure what that refers to. My burner compartment cover had sort of a fiberglass insert on the inside, which i'm assuming is the seal they are referring. It fit back in just fine and looked exactly like it did when it was removed. I made sure the little rubber gaskets that fit around the tubing were in place as well, as I did read in the manual the burner chamber needed to be sealed. I'm hoping it is on there correct but again, looks just like before we removed it and I made sure the cover was good and snug. Thoughts?

Thanks again to all
Scott
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:35 PM   #57
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I've read all these posts. There seems to be a common thread...design problems with sealed combustion chambers. Anyway, my AO Smith has been relit multiple times daily by me for the last six years. It is part of my daily tasks. We can't just go take a shower, we have to light the hot water heater, wait for about 30 minutes, go shower, then relight the hot water heater so we can do dishes, then relight the hot water heater over and over again. What a pain in the arse. I feel like I live in the 1800's and have to boil water over a fire to get it warm.

I've tried brushing the flame arrestor, vacuuming the flame arrestor, cussing at the flame arrestor... all with limited relief of my daily routine of relighting the hot water heater. But here's the kicker... it only does this in the winter months in Colorado. And usually only when the outside air temp is below 40 degrees. Never have any problems during the summer.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:54 AM   #58
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Yellowish pilot light a sign of starving for air or oxygen. Vacuuming the filter under the burner will only clean a little and you cannot see the filter if it is really clean. It will only work a few days and you'll back to the same problem. Use air compressor, get a long blow gun, bent the tip about 90 degrees and blow air on the filter from the top. It will clean the screen pretty good. Use eye protection and mask to protect yourself from flying debris and breathing the dust. I hope this will help you.

Last edited by tony d.; 02-25-2012 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:09 PM   #59
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Hey dhedges
If after cleaning the filter and arrester the problem continues then...
The primary difference in a HWT that works above 40F but not below is the chimney draft. The colder the outside temp, the stronger the draft up the chimney and the more the pilot flame is pulled away from the thermocouple. Possible solutions can be replacing the thermocouple if the dcmv output is low, cleaning the pilot orifice, replacing a faulty gas vave that is not allowing enough gas to the pilot or putting in the replacement pilot assy).
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:04 AM   #60
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Just wanted to thank you and bump this. This solved my problem. No hot water yesterday. Called for service with the gas company, they said 2 days. Since that wasn't a good option... I came here. I couldn't locate the thermocouple locally after calling about 5 different plumbing supplies and Home Depot, so I cleaned both ends of it with brillo, vacuumed under the unit (thank you to the poster of the video) and cleaned the front screen, and voila the unit is working again.

Was not happy to see that AO Smtih offers that filter screen for free. Obviously there is a known problem with this unit.


Last edited by andrewb; 05-01-2012 at 08:07 AM.
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