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Discussion Starter #1
I got evacuated from my home due to wildfire on 8/18. I shut off the gas at the propane tank and the angle valve at the house entrance. Back in the undamaged house now with both valves fully opened back up. I was able to get the stove burners to burn with a match to light the burner. Took a couple matches but they burn blue and normal. No electricity yet so need a match.


The propane water heater is much further from the tank than the stove and the pilot will light when the pushing the valve button down and using the piezo lighter. I held it down for about 3-5 minutes but when the pilot button is let back up, the pilot flame fades and goes out in about 3 seconds.
The 10 year old 30 gal water heater is a GE and the pilot area is 'sealed'. Pipe is 3/4" and probably 30' from where the stove tees off the main line. The igniter works and I can see the flame in the window. Any suggestions??
 

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Kind of confusing sounds like your other post exactly the same except one is furnace and one is water heater??

My advice would be the same. Sounds like some debris found its way in your lines?? May need a service tech as sealed units usually mean no user parts.

Check, clean or replace the thermopile/thermocouple. But in your case, when you say "it's a sealed unit", this usually means no user parts, so you can't. you may have to hire a certified technician to correct/replace it. Just a suggestion.

Hope you get it fixed and working soon hamhound. Winter is coming. Sorry to hear about all the wild fires. hope you are safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, jmon. It is the Water Heater. Never trouble and all I did was turn off the valves to the propane source. No breaking into the lines or anything at all. After doing this, I assume that the pilot will continue to burn gas until there is just not enough pressure or gas to keep it lit as fed from the safety valves. If so, maybe it takes time to rebuild the pressure in the line after it was reduced by burning till it went out? Only guessing as I have no experience with these valves. Maybe I will put a stool next to the tank and hold down that valve in the pilot mode and sit until I cannot stand it any more. BTW, the flame is a nice 'strong' flame that suggests that the gas can flow freely while I am holding down the button during the lighting process. Tomorrow is another day. Since I have a furnace issue hat I have not troubleshooted yet, perhaps I bite the bullet and get out an expert, if I can find one that has the proper tools and knowledge and not one that swaps parts.
 

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Without experience, I'd say get a plumber.
However, ask for an estimate, because a 10 y.o water heater may not be repair worthy.
If it were mine, I'd start with the thermocouple, clean the burner chamber, clean the area around the water heater base to ensure good air flow.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I called the propane vendor. They said that when the gas is off for a period of time, it needs a purge to get 'good gas' into the appliance. Though he was not was really supposed to give details, he did offer something after assessed me me as someone that understood most of the issue.
He suggested shutting off the supply at the water heater and disconnect the flex pipe to the heater's valve. Then, connect a garden hose to that somehow to send the gas out of the enclosed area where the heater is. Then, turn the shutoff valve back on and run some 'bad gas' out of the pipe via the water hose so that 'good gas' would be presented to the heater's valve when I reconnect it. I did all that and did a soapy water test for leaks. Tried again to get the pilot to stay lit, but it did not. I ran the open flex pipe for almost 20 seconds which I assumed would be enough. Perhaps not but I am not going to keep trying until I blow up the house! I called for service.
 

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Sounds like a bad or bumped thermocouple to me. If the control box (?) doesn't see a flame, it will turn off the gas. So, if the TC got bumped some way, and is too far from the flame, gas never turns on when you release the button. But it's probably easier to just replace the thermocouple. It seems like I've done it before. I don't remember the job, so it must have been pretty easy.

I just looked. There are a few youtube videos on how to do it.

Glad to hear you and your home made it through the fires unharmed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
After purging the gas line twice and still not getting the pilot to stay lit, I bought a thermocouple Meanwhile, the propane provider came out and said the gas looked good, purged again, say a steady flame while holding down the pilot button for a minute. No success; flame dies when the button is released. He then tapped lightly on the side of the valve housing a couple of times. Then, the pilot lit and stayed lit. Finally... He believes the TC is likely going bad but for now, I am heating the tank again.
Takeaway is that a little tapping on the housing costs nothing and might work. Nothing to lose and in my case, it let the pilot light to be corrected, at least for the time being. I will likely start shopping around for a new heater since this one was built n 2006. A GE unit.
 

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You already have a new TC, go and install it. You can rely on the magic of tapping.
When installing a new TC, it has to sit in exactly the same position as the old one, meaning: the same distance from the fire.
Follow the instruction carefully. Also, watch demo videos on youtube.
Good luck.
 

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Brother.............do not mess with a malfunctioning LP gas valve. LP gas is heavier than NG and leaked gas lays in the living space filling up the lowest cavities first.
By smacking the side of the valve you may have freed up a sticking valve allowing it to open. Imagine what can happen if it sticks when the heating cycle is over and time to close.

That said, from here, I would guess thermocouple as already stated. That thermocouple senses heat from the pilot and sends a signal back to the valve saying "yes we have flame - ok for gas on". Yours is saying "no flame - shut down". Usually a quick cleaning with Scotch-brite or emery cloth is all that is needed, but nothing wrong with just changing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Brother.............do not mess with a malfunctioning LP gas valve. LP gas is heavier than NG and leaked gas lays in the living space filling up the lowest cavities first.
By smacking the side of the valve you may have freed up a sticking valve allowing it to open. Imagine what can happen if it sticks when the heating cycle is over and time to close.

That said, from here, I would guess thermocouple as already stated. That thermocouple senses heat from the pilot and sends a signal back to the valve saying "yes we have flame - ok for gas on". Yours is saying "no flame - shut down". Usually a quick cleaning with Scotch-brite or emery cloth is all that is needed, but nothing wrong with just changing it.

Good advice on not messing with a malfunctioning valve. One would except them to fail safe but blind faith is not something to which I subscribe.
The TC will be changed since it is easy and cheap. Since I understand the science in them, t=getting it in the correct position is critical. Use of a 'universal' TC comes with the understanding that it still needs to sit at the same point in the flame as the OEM.
Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You already have a new TC, go and install it. You can rely on the magic of tapping.
When installing a new TC, it has to sit in exactly the same position as the old one, meaning: the same distance from the fire.
Follow the instruction carefully. Also, watch demo videos on youtube.
Good luck.

I'll change it and I know it is easy if you are careful and understand what you are handling. Small diameter gas tubes do not like to be kinked, etc.!
The TC needs to 'feel the heat' of the flame so positioning it properly is key. Too far off and it will not send the required millivolts to get the valve to open. Thanks for the reply.
 
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