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Old 02-14-2010, 07:27 PM   #1
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Water Heater repair


Hey guys. I have a forty gallon Whirlpool gas hot water heater. The pilot light was going out so I changed the thermocouple. Unfortunately, the pilot light is still going out. It is acting as if, at times, the gas supply suddenly stops. I spoke with a plumber a Lowes, and he suggested it could be the regulator valve. I am not certain of the water heater's age but think that it is relatively new. Therefore, I am reluctant to buy another one if I can fix this one relatively cheap. Thanks in advance for the suggestions.

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Old 02-14-2010, 08:52 PM   #2
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When the pilot light is lit, does the burner come on as needed?

It is possible for the tiny nozzle that feeds the pilot light to be clogged with a bit of sediment or rust. Dismounting it is somewhat comparable to removing the thermocouple except it together with the tube connecting it to the control box is much stiffer.

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Old 02-14-2010, 09:02 PM   #3
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The pilot will stay lit ocassionally when the button is pressed for a long enough period of time. I can then turn the burner on. The last couple of times the burner has stayed on for a little while but then shuts off. Usually, though, unless I hold the button down for thirty seconds or more it immediately goes out.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:30 PM   #4
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is this the new style water heater with the closed chamber and you light with the button or old style you use a lighter or match?
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:03 PM   #5
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The pilot light flame should play directly on the thermocouple.

If the pilot light goes out even when you are holding the button down, then you have a malfunction.

If the pilot light stays on while you hold the button down for 60 seconds but then goes out when you let go of the button, then you have a malfunction.

If the main burner shuts off before the tankful of water is heated then you have a malfunction.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:22 PM   #6
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It is one of the newer ones. It has a semi-sealed panel and you just punch the igniter while pressing the gas button.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:25 PM   #7
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The pilot does not go out as long as I hold the gas button. As soon as I lift it, the pilot goes out. It will though, stay lit if I hold it for maybe thirty seconds or more. But even after that, the burner will eventually shut off.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:08 PM   #8
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have you checked to make sure the flame arrestor is clean? it looks like a screen under the heater. If it gets clogged it will cut the supply of air to the burner chamber and cause the pilots outage problems. here is a link to a page that has a picture of it.

http://www.broomfieldplumber.com/wat..._cleaning.html

has the limit switch on the door poped and needed to be reset?
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:41 PM   #9
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I will check the vent and the limit switch tomorrow. Thanks for the help guys. I will let you know.
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:20 AM   #10
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Ha. I just had the same problem this weekend with the same 40 gallon model Whirlpool. The pilot would sometimes stay on but would go out for some unknown reason. Anyway, I replaced the thermocouple and it still did the same thing. I thought I had solved the problem because the pilot stayed lit after holding down the valve button for a few seconds. But, it went out later and we still had no hot water. This morning I went to Lowes and got the last valve they had in stock. It was identical to the one that was on the water heater originally. It's been making hot water all day so I recommend you replace the valve. Like yours mine was relatively new. I put it in two years ago. The valve was 58.00. Not cheap but was easy enough to install. Draining the tank took longer than actually replacing the valve.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:25 AM   #11
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Thanks for the advice Mike. I am sure you are correct. Prior to viewing the post, I called Whirlpool. They told that was in fact the case and that the valve on that model was defective. They are supposed to fix it tomorrow. I wish you had known about this as well. 58 dollars is substantantial plus the headache.
Thanks to everyone else who was troubling shooting.
Have a great day.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:27 AM   #12
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P.S. I live in Arkansas too, Little Rock. Unfortunately, the Lowe's here in North Little Rock did not have that valve nor do they carry according to the plumber I spoke with.
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike in Arkansas View Post
This morning I went to Lowes and got the last valve they had in stock. It was identical to the one that was on the water heater originally. It's been making hot water all day so I recommend you replace the valve. Like yours mine was relatively new. I put it in two years ago. The valve was 58.00. Not cheap but was easy enough to install. Draining the tank took longer than actually replacing the valve.
Valve? What valve? Drain valve?

I'm trying to fix a water heater right now, and after replacing the thermocouple it still isn't working.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:16 AM   #14
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This isn't going to be helpful to ANYONE, but : Plumbers are working at Lowes???

Did you ask to see his journeyman's card?
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwise View Post
Valve? What valve? Drain valve?

I'm trying to fix a water heater right now, and after replacing the thermocouple it still isn't working.
Nevermind, you meant the gas valve. Ok, I figured I ought to try one last thing before ditching a 2yr old water heater.

I unhooked my gas valve/thermostat, and prepared myself to unscrew the module.



The pipe attached to the left side of my thermostat is not pictured on any of the literature or demonstration videos I have watched. I assume it is a gas trap of sorts, but I'm not sure what its purpose is.

I tried to find something that could give me leverage to unscrew this module, but finally gave up and went to Lowes for a bigger tool...



4.25" channel locks, baby... Oh yeah!

I went ahead and picked up a new gas valve/thermostat while I was there.

All set with my new tool!



The module is only 3.5" wide, so the big channel locks had room to spare.

Easy cheesy...



Uh oh - I hit a snag!



The pipe contraption won't get past the drain valve! I had to turn the pipe slightly to get it past some of the other obstacles, but this part is a show-stopper!

So, here I am AGAIN, needing some help.

(1) What IS that pipe for?

(2) How do I get it off?

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