Pilot light too small -> exploding water heater

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Old 03-11-11, 05:20 AM
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Pilot light too small -> exploding water heater

In a recent thread, I reported that I had cleaned the pilot light orifice in our propane water heater. The water heater fired and worked fine - for a day. Then the pilot light went out again. When I relit it, it seemed fairly small to me...

I remembered to put the assembly cover back on before turning up the thermostat. I thought the heater should have come on after a couple of seconds. Instead it just sat there. Then all of a sudden it ignited with a big boom. Luckily the assembly cover was on, otherwise the flame might a shot out across the crawlspace, or the thing would have lifted off orbiting the planet by now.

I reckon that the pilot light was too small to ignite the main burner, so gas accumulated until it all ignited.

Unless somebody has a good suggestion as to how to proceed, I'm inclined to call in the pros now as I don't know how big the pilot light orifice should really be. Perhaps there is a problem somewhere else. I smelled gas as well, and the nuts on the assembly are beaten up pretty badly.

Cheers!
MM
 
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Old 03-11-11, 03:00 PM
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Unless somebody has a good suggestion as to how to proceed, I'm inclined to call in the pros now
I think you already know the best suggestion... you just said it!

LP gas is heavier than air. It will pool in the low spots of the home (basement). If you've got ignition problems with that appliance, you could have a bigger boom at some point...

call a pro!
 
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Old 03-13-11, 06:30 PM
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Invigorating

Yeah, the previous meddling with the assembly as well as my own finally created a small hole in the pilot light tube.

It's amazing how invigorating cold showers can be while we are waiting for a replacement assembly to come in...

Cheers!
MM
 
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