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Old 02-04-2012, 04:20 PM   #16
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


Thankfully, I found this thread before I went out to fix this.
I took some pictures to hopefully assist others with this issue:

My water heater is a 50 Gallon GE Smartwater that was born on 1/2005, according to the sticker.
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?-1.-plunger.jpg   Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?-2.-clip-.jpg   Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?-3-holding-plunger-down.jpg  

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Old 03-22-2012, 12:12 AM   #17
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


I followed the Paperclip trick, but instead of using a paperclip, i bent the clipboard/spring so that it holds the metal rod down, enabling air to come through and it works like a charm. thanks for the advice. it made my day
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:56 PM   #18
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


Hi,

Thanks for all of the tips and advice. I am now well informed about TRD! When I called Rheem they had me take out the burner (1st time-had a hell of time doing it, but made it happen). Called back, diagnosed the TRD, saw the broken glass. They're mailing one to me, however, much like others, I have to have a "certified tech" install it.

In the meantime, I paperclipped it and my burner is heating our water! My question becomes, how long will this fix last? Is it temporary or should I go ahead and have a "certified tech" come out after awhile? I'm worried about potential danger. Can someone give me a little peace of mind? Thanks again!

Carlos
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:56 AM   #19
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


I have the same situation as described above and made the same jury rig as described above to hold down the plunger using the old omega shaped glass bulb TRD holder but with no new glass bulb.

I was not able to push the plunger rod all the way down (I have weak fingers) so I put the glass bulb holder in cockeyed resting against the underside of the diamond shaped opening instead of properly in its two side brackets.

Thinkng that the partially depressed plunger did not open the air vents enough, I removed the old gasket from the burner and hatch cover assembly and put it back together with the hatch cover a bit ajar to let more air in like on an old style open combustion chamber heater.

By the way, the D shaped clip sits on the bottom of the TRD holder to both hold the glass bulb centered above it and to hold the plunger coming up from below down all the way.

As described above, presto, now I have hot water. My guess is that it will work forever this way.

Can anyone think of any disadvantages to operating the heater indefinitely in this fashion 'sans' the safety feature of the glass bulb TRD assembly? Not counting the flammable vapor problem the TRD was invented for and is meant to address (I moved all the paint thinner, etc. to the other side of the basement).
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-05-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:16 PM   #20
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


I came across this thread via Google, and found it very helpful. Now, I want to add something to it so others may benefit.

My old heater is on its last legs (slow leak) so I went shopping for a replacement. The only one in the area that I could find was at Home Depot (a 30 gallon GE). The box it was in had obviously been opened and taped closed. Looking in from the top, it looked OK, and the store people didn't admit to any problems, so I bought it. Got it into my car, and started to drive, and I heard water sloshing inside. Someone had returned it, and the Home Depot crooks sold it as new.

Went back into the store, and complained. I should have just cancelled the sale, but instead I got them to give me a substantial discount.

Got it home, connected it to the gas source, and (of course) the main burner wouldn't stay lit.

Opened it up, and the shutoff device had been tripped.

I called the customer service number, and the woman I spoke to couldn't have been nicer. She offered to send me the repair kit FedEx overnight. It consisted of the new shutoff device, a replacement gasket, and hardware.

This is what it looks like:



This is the label on the box:



You can buy this kit (about $50) here:

http://www.plccenter.com/Buy/RHEEM/SP20246B

I don't know if this kit fits all GE/Rheem heaters, so check before ordering.

The question that was bothering me was what caused the safety device to trip. Careful examination gave me some clues. What I believe happened was that rain water came down through the flue pipe into the burner, and caused the device to trip. The main burner is concave on the top with two holes. You can see that water had pooled on top to the level of the holes and then dribbled down below (the safety device is directly below the burner).



Looking up the flue pipe, you can see trails where water was running down the pipe.



I also took the bottom off the heater (4 screws), and you can see what the safety device looks like from below.



You can see a little rust on the insulation.

I haven't been able to find any evidence that the tank itself was leaking, or that it was in a flood. The manufacture date is March 2012, so it isn't that old.

I wonder if this heater was a victim of hurricane Sandy? If cold water got onto that glass ampoule when it was hot, it could easily have caused it to shatter.

So, I should now have a fully operational heater. I will know in a couple of days when I complete the installation.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:51 PM   #21
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mike356 View Post
I came across this thread via Google, and found it very helpful. Now, I want to add something to it so others may benefit.

My old heater is on its last legs (slow leak) so I went shopping for a replacement. The only one in the area that I could find was at Home Depot (a 30 gallon GE).

(snip)

Got it home, connected it to the gas source, and (of course) the main burner wouldn't stay lit.

Opened it up, and the shutoff device had been tripped.

I called the customer service number, and the woman I spoke to couldn't have been nicer. She offered to send me the repair kit FedEx overnight. It consisted of the new shutoff device, a replacement gasket, and hardware.

(snip)

I also took the bottom off the heater (4 screws), and you can see what the safety device looks like from below.

So, I should now have a fully operational heater. I will know in a couple of days when I complete the installation.
You connected it up the gas source and later you show the heater turned on its side to show the air shutoff damper from below.

I hope you did not activate the burner with the water lines not connected and the tank not completely full. That could have severely damaged the tank if the burner did not shut off in a few seconds.

To be sure the tank is full, you should have water gushing from a hot water faucet before firing up the water heater.

A big warning to anyone eavesdropping on this thread and being inspired to experiment with things.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-12-2013 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:30 AM   #22
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
You connected it up the gas source and later you show the heater turned on its side to show the air shutoff damper from below.

I hope you did not activate the burner with the water lines not connected and the tank not completely full. That could have severely damaged the tank if the burner did not shut off in a few seconds.

To be sure the tank is full, you should have water gushing from a hot water faucet before firing up the water heater.

A big warning to anyone eavesdropping on this thread and being inspired to experiment with things.
I was aware of that possibility. Actually, I did have several gallons of water in the heater for my brief trial run.

In any event, my intention was never to run it more than long enough to verify that the burner and ignition functioned properly, maybe 5 seconds max.

Your warning is well taken and appreciated though.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:04 PM   #23
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


Also worth noting is that if it was submerged then you're in trouble. Once a burner has been under water you're supposed to replace it. The water can do terrible things to the small orifices and cause catastrophic problems. Any other signs of submersion?
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:45 PM   #24
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


What a patently stupid safety device. One step forward, three steps back.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:20 PM   #25
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by eclark View Post
Also worth noting is that if it was submerged then you're in trouble. Once a burner has been under water you're supposed to replace it. The water can do terrible things to the small orifices and cause catastrophic problems. Any other signs of submersion?
None at all. The water heater is working quite nicely, at least for now.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:30 PM   #26
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


On this and many similar models, the burner lifts out with the hatch cover. You can then make sure it is dired out after a flood and you can ream out the various orifices and get rid of rust and dust and soot. But you must be careful not to force a rod or wire through so as to deform or enlarge any orifices.

Cleaning the control assembly that got flood water inside is not much different from overhauling a car carburetor. It's complex enough that it is more expedient to discard and replace the control.

More likely for furnaces and ovens but not ruled out for water heaters: If the orifices nearest the pilot light are clogged, then more gas will come out into the combustion chamber before the pilot light catches. This can result in a noisy kick on or, in extreme cases, an explosion at every kick on that eventually damages the heater.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-17-2013 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:42 PM   #27
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


If you notice the glass tube is broken and you have no air flow causing the flame to die out do what I did assuming you know your furnace is in good running order. Lets say your vent holes around the base had dust, lint etc. plugging them up which led to an overheating condition which led to the glass tube shattering and shutting your flame off. Take a piece of steel about 5"x 2" and press down on the steel pin that pops up when the glass tube shatters. Start with the 5" length running from front to back. With the pin depressed now turn the piece of metal 90 degs. and slide it under the diamond shape cut-out. This will keep the pin depressed, opening the damper and allowing air flow to feed the flame. WAALLLAHHH. Back in business!
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:21 AM   #28
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


I am amazed that no one has figured out the most common cause of a TRD failure. I have been a plumber for over 31 years, & have been installing water heaters long before these safety devices came out. The number one cause of failure is due to back drafting, resulting from improper flue pipe sizing. A lot of the time a water heaters flue is common vented into a furnace flue, & it is inadequately sized for the volume of flue gas that needs to be vented out of the home or business. Sometimes it can also be a matter of it being too long of a horizontal run of flue pipe, before the flue pipe goes vertical & up and out through the roof vent. What happens in both situations is the very hot excess combustion gas has to go somewhere, so it backs up & goes to the combustion chamber & will cause the TRD to shatter. The one person who thought his water heater had taken on water as a result of a hurricane. If he checks the vent tables that came with his water heater (paperwork that is usually in a clear plastic pouch stuck on the side of the heater) & he can do a rough estimate as to the overall length of his flue pipe with elbows (3' per elbow) & overall length, he will most likely find his flue pipe is too long. A flue pipe that is too long allows the combustion gas to cool down too much before it exits the flue, & the combustion gas has so much heat taken out from the cooler walls of the metal flue pipe that it starts condensing. The end result is condensate starts running back down the inside of a flue. The only proper way to check for this is by using a vent tables guide, that comes with every water heater. Good luck.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:04 PM   #29
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Rheem hot water heater - pilot / burner not staying lit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
I have the same situation as described above and made the same jury rig as described above to hold down the plunger using the old omega shaped glass bulb TRD holder but with no new glass bulb.

I was not able to push the plunger rod all the way down (I have weak fingers) so I put the glass bulb holder in cockeyed resting against the underside of the diamond shaped opening instead of properly in its two side brackets.

Thinkng that the partially depressed plunger did not open the air vents enough, I removed the old gasket from the burner and hatch cover assembly and put it back together with the hatch cover a bit ajar to let more air in like on an old style open combustion chamber heater.

By the way, the D shaped clip sits on the bottom of the TRD holder to both hold the glass bulb centered above it and to hold the plunger coming up from below down all the way.

As described above, presto, now I have hot water. My guess is that it will work forever this way.

Can anyone think of any disadvantages to operating the heater indefinitely in this fashion 'sans' the safety feature of the glass bulb TRD assembly? Not counting the flammable vapor problem the TRD was invented for and is meant to address (I moved all the paint thinner, etc. to the other side of the basement).
The TRD is designed to break when excess heat builds up in the combustion chamber of your water heater. The TRD "IS" a safety device. The number one cause of failure is due to hot combustion gasses back drafting down the vent pipe, due to inadequate flue design. Flue gasses (combustion gasses) contain carbon monoxide. You needed to get a professional plumber or a reputable hvac person to check out your flue, measure it out & check the draft tables on it. At the least have several carbon monoxide detectors in your home, as you are going to need them.

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