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Old 07-26-2011, 08:57 PM   #1
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Water heater pilot problems


Pilot light goes out ONLY when hot water heater shuts off.

Stays lit for hours with no problem after relit.

This only happens in dead of summer.

Has done this for the last two years.

Every thing works fine the rest of the year, even when it is windy, no problems.

No whole house or attic vent fans.

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Old 07-26-2011, 10:45 PM   #2
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Water heater pilot problems


Seem to recall that if the vent from the water heater is too small, the increased velocity of the exhaust gasses will pull the little pilot flame right off its gasline. Or was that if the pipe is too big?

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Old 07-27-2011, 06:40 AM   #3
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Water heater pilot problems


Clean out the burner if it is accessible. Make sure the thermocouple is directly in the middle of the flame, adjust if needed. New heaters with anti explosion devices are not accessible.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:48 PM   #4
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Water heater pilot problems


I've got the same thing going on with our Sears water heater. It is about 4 years old, it's not leaking, and if I light it on pilot, it stays lit... but when the burner kicks off, it runs and heats, and then when it shuts off, the pilot goes out.

This is a newer unit that has a glass window to see into the pilot area, how do you change the thermo coupler on one of these? That would be the logical first thing wrong with it ??? Or is it not serviceable without a Sawzall?
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:38 PM   #5
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Water heater pilot problems


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Originally Posted by Paisley Pirate View Post
I've got the same thing going on with our Sears water heater. It is about 4 years old, it's not leaking, and if I light it on pilot, it stays lit... but when the burner kicks off, it runs and heats, and then when it shuts off, the pilot goes out.

This is a newer unit that has a glass window to see into the pilot area, how do you change the thermo coupler on one of these? That would be the logical first thing wrong with it ??? Or is it not serviceable without a Sawzall?
Mine is a 4yr old Sears as well.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:00 PM   #6
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Water heater pilot problems


the burner/pilot /thermal couple is nutted on the bottom of the gas valve loosen all and pull the entire burner out..check the pilot for sooot the aluninum pilot gas line for blockage...finger tight the compressions back on and easy wrench them tight..box wrenches work best
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:08 AM   #7
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Water heater pilot problems


I just had something similar with my 4 year old Whirlpool. You need to get a brush under the tank, and clean the air intake, then vacuum. A mirror may help find the air intake. In extreme cases you may need to remove the burner and clean it from the sealed area. I used a car snow brush, but you need to let it cool down. Mine even had the "wrap around filter" on the bottom, but it still clogged.

Mine has a resettable breaker - I'm not sure what your model has.
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Old 07-28-2011, 04:19 PM   #8
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Water heater pilot problems


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Originally Posted by biggles View Post
the burner/pilot /thermal couple is nutted on the bottom of the gas valve loosen all and pull the entire burner out..check the pilot for sooot the aluninum pilot gas line for blockage...finger tight the compressions back on and easy wrench them tight..box wrenches work best
Got it, thank you. Had a bit of a fight with the inner cover, but other than that, it was all good. Cleaned it (it was somewhat sooty) and reinstalled. It is burning now, so I have to wait until the water is hot to see if it stays lit when the burner shuts off.

BTW, if the thermocoupler is bad in that, it looks to me as if you have to replace the entire assembly.

EDIT: The complete burner assembly is available from Sears, as is the thermocoupler/pilot subassembly. The burner assembly appears to have the thermocoupler/pilot assembly included.

FWIW: Cleaned mine, didn't cure the problem. I called the gas company to check our house (since the water heater is the only gas item running at this time of year, and I wasn't going to kick the furnace on when it is 105 outside today). They verified that there was nothing wrong with the gas supply to the unit, and he wasn't real sure what would cause it either... he didn't think it was the thermocoupler, but no way to know for sure short of just replacing it. Now checking to see if I can get Sears to give me those parts under warranty.

Hope this helps everyone.

Last edited by Paisley Pirate; 07-28-2011 at 09:51 PM. Reason: updating the information on the unit
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:55 AM   #9
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Water heater pilot problems


Quote:
Originally Posted by biggles View Post
the burner/pilot /thermal couple is nutted on the bottom of the gas valve loosen all and pull the entire burner out..check the pilot for sooot the aluninum pilot gas line for blockage...finger tight the compressions back on and easy wrench them tight..box wrenches work best

Why would it work great from Sep to May?
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:27 AM   #10
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Water heater pilot problems


possible air temp into the burner area from the house it's football season double check that thermocuouple removed sounds boggus on the entire change required...set the temp dial back a it warms up to get the burner to cycle and eyeball if it bumps the pilot....MATCH trick...during the burner run take a match light it and blow it out with it right near the flue vent up on top see if the smoke trips into the louver olening to show DRAFTING
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:58 PM   #11
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Water heater pilot problems


Ended up paying for a service call... turns out, they have a thick flame arrestor in the bottom of the water heater. I had cleaned the top and bottom, but I didn't blow through it... the service guy did with his home made attachment on his shop vac (a pvc tube with a 90 on it) and it blew out a tremendous amount of crud.

It all works now, so it was not a thermocoupler or a valve... so I can understand why they were hesitant to send one out, but the design on that flame arrestor on the bottom of a water heater with less than 1" of clearance (and an outer grill to boot) is just overkill to my mind... still, now I know what to do and can do that from now on.

Hopefully this will save some others from this... get an air compressor or a very strong shop vac and BLOW that arrestor clean!!!! Make sure it's clear.
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:12 PM   #12
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Water heater pilot problems


Thanks for all the replys.
Heater has been working just fine for the last 3 weeks.

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