What solvent to use to clean propane gunk in pilot orifice? Somewhat urgent.

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Old 03-09-11, 07:21 AM
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What solvent to use to clean propane gunk in pilot orifice? Somewhat urgent.

Hi,

I was wondering what the best solvent is to clean out any gunk that might clog up a pilot light orifice.

The pilot light on our water heater won't light currently. It could of course be the thermocouple, or something else for that matter, but I'd like to check the pilot light orifice first. The orifice had given us problems before (about 1.5 years ago). Back then, it was cleaned by a professional and worked fine since then. I suspect/hope it's the same issue again.

Unfortunately, I didn't ask what solvent was used. I will blow air through the tube as well, and that might already take care of it. However, I am hesitant to use a wire as the danger of enlarging the hole is just too great.

I already called our propane service company, but the resident specialist won't be in until much later today. I hope I'll get a good response before the afternoon is over so that I can pick something up on my way home.

Many thanks in advance,
MM
 
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Old 03-09-11, 10:53 AM
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I suggest using "canned" air like you use on the computer keyboard to start with. If that fails, you can use automotive carburetor cleaner followed by the canned air to dry things out.
 
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Old 03-10-11, 06:03 AM
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I did end up using carburetor cleaner and air. I was also recommended to use CLR by the service guy who serviced our water heater last time it had issues. I am not so sure about the CLR as it is corrosive to metals and may lead to more problems down the road. I used it anyway since it was used before and probably caused some more rust buildup.

The orifice assembly was sparkling after the cleaning, and the water heater is working again.

I think the best would be to get a couple of spare orifices and thermocouples and perhaps even a whole assembly when purchasing the water heater. Eventually, all these things will fail at some point.

I don't know what's been done to that poor thing in the past, but the nuts on the assembly look terribly beaten up. Perhaps the previous owner didn't realize that the main gas line uses a left-handed nut...

Thanks again.

Best,
MM
 
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Old 03-10-11, 10:40 AM
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I have no idea why anyone would use CLR.
If you can determine the orifice size it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick up a couple of spares as well as spare thermocouples.
 
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