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Discussion Starter #1
I am trying to turn the flame back on in my water heater. It is less than 5 years old. I pressed the red button, lit the pilot light, waited a minute with button pressed, then turned dial to on. The pilot light stays lit when the red button is not pressed, but when the dial is switched to on, the burner starts to light up, but then the flame goes out.

I talked to an employee of Lowe's who suggested cleaning the area and making sure there is not too much air movement. I cleaned the area with a towel, though it was initially pretty clean, and this didn't help.

Any ideas what's wrong?

It seems like the pilot light is okay, the problem might be associated with the burner. Also the bottom of the water heater is damp and the insulation near the bottom is damp. I'm not sure if this is due to my recent activities with the water heater.

Thanks in advance for any helpful ideas.
 

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It's very possible that the the pilot flame is pulling away from the thermocouple when the draft gets established.

Try letting the thermocouple warm up for 5 minutes on pilot mode before turning the main burner on, as it may take time to warm up completely.

Check the pilot flame. It should be a strong blue with no consistent yellow and shoot out of the burner, not just go straight up.

The orifice may be dirty.

I saw the same thing happen on a spark to pilot ignition furnace and cleaning the orifice solved the problem, granted the flame proving circuit responds much faster on spark ignition than standing pilot.
 

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Healthy pilot:



Pilots with Dirty orifices:



When the flame goes up like a candle instead of out, it doesn't fully engulf the thermocouple.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
cleaning

Thanks. The pilot flame looks closer to the bottom photo, so I'm guessing the orifice is dirty. I'll give cleaning that part a try.
 

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Also the bottom of the water heater is damp and the insulation near the bottom is damp. I'm not sure if this is due to my recent activities with the water heater.

Thanks in advance for any helpful ideas.
Your recent activities with the water heater might give us a better clue. Did water get into the burner assembly? Is the gas supply valve fully on?
 

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You have to pull the entire pilot assembly and disconnect the line to it. Don't waste your time with in place cleaning.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Water Heater Flame

Okay, I'll be sure to remove and clean the parts. I'm not sure if the water got to the burner assembly. I'll check that as well. Thanks for the input.
 
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