Gas Water Heater


  #1  
Old 06-22-03, 03:33 PM
Bugman70
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Gas Water Heater

My water heater is acting funny.

I smelled gas this afternoon and when I checked, the water heater was not lit. I relit the pilot light and let it burn a little while.

When I turn the heater from "pilot" to "on" it burn for about 10 seconds and the flame including the pilot light goes out.

Any ideas as to what is wrong??

Thanks,
Bugman
 
  #2  
Old 06-22-03, 07:12 PM
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Hello: Bugman. Welcome to my Gas Appliances forum.

The most common cause and likely part to fail is the thermocouple.
The thermocouple is the element that the pilot flame heats. This element is located in the pilot assembly where you lite the pilot. The other end screws into the gas valve.

The thermocouple is the most likely part to cause the problem you described. It is also one of the easiest and least expensive parts to replace.

If you presently have an all BLUE pilot flame at the pilot assembly that encircles the existing thermocouple, replace the thermocouple with a new one first and retry lighting the pilot.

The only differences between T-couples is their length. Be sure to purchase one of the same length as the existing one.

Replacements are available at all hardware stores. The package contains a various assortment of holding clips and complete installation instructions.

There could be other major problems with tanks over the age on 10 to 15 years old. Try replacing the thermocouple to resolve the problem first.

Regards & Good Luck.
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  #3  
Old 06-22-03, 09:56 PM
Bugman70
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I tried several times to relight the pilot. It lit fine every time but as soon as I turned the heater to on the flame (both pilot and burner) "blew" itself out. The pilot flame looked orange/yellow like I would expect. The burner fire would be blue like it was fine, but it just went out. It looked strange like the wind was blowing it (we haven't had much wind and certainly not enough to blow down the exhaust stack for this heater). Also, I believe the flame under the heater looked "larger; bigger around" than normal.

I realize any mechanical part can go bad at any time but the thermocouple was replaced by the gas company about a year ago. They fixed a leak outside and couldn't relight the pilot. The therrmocouple wound up having to be replaced.

This evening I relit the pilot and everything seems to be working normally.

Please tell me more about the symptoms that the older heater would display with the more serious problem you mentioned. I would guess that this one is about 10-15 years old.

Could this be a momentary problem that went away suddenly on the gas company side?? I really doubt this since I had the stove on at the same time and the burners never wavered. I'm just trying to think though this logically.

Thanks,
Bugman
 
  #4  
Old 06-23-03, 06:31 AM
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Hello: Bugman70

Based on the additional problem information described, flames appear to be wind blown, the firebox has a major non repairable restriction or distortion of the burner, flame spreader and or internal venting flue.

Smothering flames will result. Which simply means the entire water heater has to be replaced. Anything less is a major hazard.

Pilot flames are not suppose to be orange/yellow in color. Blue is the only acceptable color. Orange/yellow indicates lint, dust and or other debris in the air opening.

The larger bigger appearing flames of the burner or those under the burner certainly indicate conditions that will cause smothering flames, deteriorated firebox, restricted firebox conditions, etc.

Once again, based on the problem description, which is very well written and understood, the tank has served it's purpose, reached it's normal service life and is in need of total replacement.

Regards & Good Luck, Forum Host & Multiple Topic Moderator.
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