Gas Water Heater repair help


  #1  
Old 07-29-02, 09:40 AM
carlab68
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Gas Water Heater repair help

I woke up to a freezing shower this morning and I hope someone can help. Due to some unexpected medical bills, I don't have any money for a new water heater. So my husband is going to try and fix it himself after we have the gas cut.

Our water heater just died with little warning. About 1 1/2 months ago, I turned on the hot water and there was none. I freaked thinking it broke then, but later I had hot water and thought it was just a fluke. My husband just probably thought I was nuts, but this morning we go to take our showers and no hot water at all. I tried later and still nothing. He checked the pilot light and it was on. He tried to flush the water heater a bit and nothing! Does anyone have any other ideas on what to check for?

Thanks in advance.
Carla in KY
 
  #2  
Old 07-29-02, 05:27 PM
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Hello Carla. Welcome to my Gas Appliances forum and our Do-It-Yourself Web Site.

Based on the information provided and you mentioning that the pilot remains on, I would suggest you first try this. Turn the control knob to the pilot position. Depress the red button. Hold it down about 20 seconds and release it. Turn the control back to the on position.

Turn the thermostat up above it's current temp and the burner should lite. If this resolves the problem, the thermocouple is weak. Replace the thermocouple.

FYI NOTE:
A pilot can be on but the thermocouple may not be producing enough current to allow the safety to remain open. That being the case, the burner will not turn on even if the control is set in the on position.

There could be other assorted possibilities based upon factors not stated here. However, replacing the thermocouple is the least expensive and easiest attempt at correctling the sporadic condition described.

Regards & Good Luck
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  #3  
Old 07-30-02, 08:28 AM
carlab68
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Smile

Thanks Tom. We are going to the hardware store tonight to try and replace a few things. We noticed the ignitor button is not working either. I didn't get your reply until today, so we will definitely try that.

My husband did notice that although the pilot light was on, the main burner light was not and he could not get it lit. Another thing that I noticed is that I'm gone for a couple of hours and come back and turn the water on, for a split second I have hot water then it's cold and stays cold.

Thanks again!!
Carla in KY
 
  #4  
Old 07-30-02, 06:17 PM
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Hello: carlab68

The updated new info you just posted could indicate additional problems. The hot water for a few seconds before it turns cold and remains cold could indicate the internal dip tube is broken.

The dip tube is an extended cold warter inlet pipe that allows the cold water to exit at the bottom of the tank. When cold water exists at the bottom of the tank, it is closest to the thermostat to activate it quicker.

The dip tube also serves another purpose. The exiting cold water from the dip tube into the bottom of the tank also pushs up the hot water, which is where the hot water outlet is located.

If the dip tube is damaged or broken, cold water simply crosses directly over from the inlet to the outlet. The description you posted indicates the dip tube may be another source or the direct source of the problem.

To check this, you'll have to remove the cold water inlet piping and pull out the dip tube. It should be at least 3/4 the height of the tank and not have any holes, cracks or damage to it. If not, it must be replaced.

This usually happens to older tanks but you still have not mentioned the tanks age. Too late now. Without knowing the age, it's very possible the dip tube is rotted out and needs replacing.

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