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Old 05-16-2012, 01:27 AM   #1
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Troubleshooting Rheem water heater

Just moving into my new house and the Rheem sealed water heater is no longer functioning. The water heater will light when on "pilot" when I turn to "on" the flame will expand and then within seconds go out completely. PG&E came out and checked the gas pressure and said it was functioning properly. PG&E repair man believed the problem was the air being blocked somewhere and it is suffocating the flame. Had Benjamin Franklin plumber out who said the problem was the control valve and recommended replacing the whole tank because it was approximately 8 years old. I asked Benjamin Franklin if they would be willing to do a cleaning to try and open the air inlets and they refused because they said they were positive it was the gas valve. I am very skeptical . After searching google I found information about taking the tank out flipping it over and removing bottom plate and cleaning air inlets. Not sure if this is even possible on this sealed unit. I am willing to give it a try if I have to replace it anyways.

On a side not the previous owners did not vent the dryer causing lots of build up on the walls inside the garage. I think the vents might have sucked up the particles from the dryer. thanks


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Old 05-16-2012, 07:13 AM   #2
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if the main burner is yellow it is starving for air is the pilot yellow got a model number or pix that dryer lint would of burned off going thru the HWH.if there is an removable cover to view the pilot that should be plenty of air for the pilot and the burner..a little steel wool or sandpaper on the thermal couple rod (that copper tube) from the top of the gas valve into the pilot..just grab it couple of turns.make sure it is tight on the connection into the top of the gas valvefinger tight then easy wrench it....if it is a standard HWH with a flue pipe standing pilot is is ptretty simple...we'll get it don't flip it... change parts... or replace it.when the pilot flame is hitting the copper end of the TC and generates a voltage to tell the Main Gas Valve to open up and heat the water....set the temp dial to 12 O'Clock position.flue should draft with the heater on or off...take a match and light it and hold it up to the vent opening it should pull the flame or smoke right up


Last edited by biggles; 05-16-2012 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:50 AM   #3
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Thank you for taking the time to help me out. So after talking with Rheem they asked if I was comfortable removing the gas chamber. I removed the chamber and they asked if I could see a glass or metal rod in the center. All I could see was a metal rod. Rheem informed me that a glass vile should be visible and if not the TRD valve needed to be replaced. They even agreed to send out another valve for free with a new gasket for the sealed chamber. I will advise if this valve corrects the issue.

I have been thinking about what could have caused the TRD to be damaged. I had some plumbing work done in a bathroom remodel. New valve and trap....
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