Gas Burner pilot won't stay on

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  #1  
Old 12-26-07, 09:35 PM
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Gas Burner pilot won't stay on

I have an older (conversion) gas natural gas fired burner. The gas was turned off from the main for some work on a new gas dryer ans when turned back on everything was fine with the exception of my burner pilot. The pilot will light when I set the switch to pilot AND PRESS A RED SPRING LOADED RED BUTTON. I'm assuming that this is a safety switch. The only way to get gasl to flow is to depress both the red spring loaded button (in line with the pilot) and depress the pilot button down. I've held both down for minutes a a time but when I release one or the other the pilot goes out. Is this button a safety switch and if so how do I reset? I know that it could likely be the thermocouple and need to see where it sits in relation to the flame.
I may need to cal in a plumber but if it's something tha I can handle I'd rather do it myself. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 11:09 PM
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Is this an Economite conversion burner Model E20 or so ---usually with a painted gray sheet metal cover?


If so, lighting the pilot involves turning the gas control valve to pilot and holding down that knob control valve. That supplies gas to the pilot light deep inside the furnace.

The red spring button turns gas on to a flash tube which allows you to light the gas outside the furnace and then the flames run down the tube to light the pilot. Once the pilot is lit you can release the red spring button, but you must hold the control know down another 30-60 seconds before the pilot will stay lit one you release the control knob.

Then you can turn the control to the on position and the furnace will operate. If everything is working properly. Frequently it isn't.


Actually seeing whether pilot light is lit can be difficult. You may need a mirror on a stick to hold inside the furnace to observe the pilot light ---even then it can be difficult.

Also, the flash tube often gets plugged up over the decades and wont worked without being disassembled and cleaned.

Furthermore, these old oil and coal furnaces are OLD! They need to be inspected carefully and maintained every year, and that goes especially for checking vent pipes, chimneys, and carbon monoxide levls in flue gasses. Oiling combustion air motors is important to prevent furnace outages and expensive parts replacement.

It's common for combustion air fans to get plugged up with dust over the decades which can cause high levels of carbon monoxide in the combustion gasses.


Frankly, if you haven't has a skilled repaiman maintain your equipment in the past year or two, I'd do that now. These old conversion burner installations can be killers unless they are inspected and maintained properly.
 
  #3  
Old 12-27-07, 07:01 AM
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I think that you have answered your own question. Replace the thermocouple. Before you get into what if scenarios, correct the obvious.
 
  #4  
Old 12-27-07, 07:07 AM
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Hi,

Thanks for responding.

You are correct; it's an Economite 200 N02

I'll give it a try. It has actully been serviced within he last 2 years but everytime the gas is turned off anyone including the Plumbes and heating specialisthave problem lighting the pilot.

I do have a mirror set up and when I press the pilot in I can faintly hear a hiss but do not smell gas andi t will not light. I can howevr light the pilot when I depress the pilot and the red button . I can see a strong blue flame. It's when I let up on the red button that the pilot flme goes out or if I hold the red button down and let up the pilot switch it also goes out. Should I be calling for heat during this process? I turnd the burner switch off because the motor would come on and blow out my match when I tried to light the pilot. Should I light the pilot and then turn the burner switch back on?
Any chance it could be the thermocouple?
Also is it difficult to change the thermocouple or clean some of the part that you talk about? Does the cover come off with the 2 screws?
Thanks for any help.
 
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Old 12-27-07, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by fd19993 View Post
Hi,

Thanks for responding.

You are correct; it's an Economite 200 N02

I'll give it a try. It has actully been serviced within he last 2 years but everytime the gas is turned off anyone including the Plumbes and heating specialisthave problem lighting the pilot.

I do have a mirror set up and when I press the pilot in I can faintly hear a hiss but do not smell gas andi t will not light. I can howevr light the pilot when I depress the pilot and the red button . I can see a strong blue flame. It's when I let up on the red button that the pilot flme goes out or if I hold the red button down and let up the pilot switch it also goes out. Should I be calling for heat during this process? I turnd the burner switch off because the motor would come on and blow out my match when I tried to light the pilot. Should I light the pilot and then turn the burner switch back on?
Any chance it could be the thermocouple?
Also is it difficult to change the thermocouple or clean some of the part that you talk about? Does the cover come off with the 2 screws?
Thanks for any help.

You want to shut the power off while lighting the pilot.

It sounds as though you are getting the pilot light kit using the zip tube lighter, but the pilot isn't staying lit.

That can be caused by a bad thermocouple, plugged or dirty pilot orifice, worn out gas valve magnet or other causes. The correct solution is to diagnose the actual problem rather than resort to guessing, but replacing the pilot orifice, thermocouple, cleaning the pilot burner and zip tube would be reasonable maintenance to do and has about a 70% chance of solving the problem.

The pilot orifice is something of a specialty item. You might find a thermocouple that would work at a hardware store, but the 200NO2 burner has a pretty long barrel and may need a thermocouple with a longer length of copper tubing than you are likely to find.


Taking apart the burner to do this maintenance work isn't all that difficult, but I wouldn't recommend it for the DIYer. There are a series of decisions and steps that must be done correctly, and the odds are that a DIYer will have difficulty doing all the parts of the job correctly.


I can't tell if the reason people are having problems lighting the pilot is because the method of doing this is awkward and unusual or because there has been a long term problem with keeping the pilot lit. Doing the maintenance on the pilot burner that I describe makes it easy enough to light the pilot if you know what you are doing. If there is another problem such as a worn out gas valve, that problem should have been identified for you.

Typically, the magnet on the gas valve will be held open with about 5 millivolts of power from the thermocouple. If the magnets drops out and shuts the pilot off at a significantly higher level, the gas valve needs to be replaced. This is tested using a special fitting that fits in the gas valve.


The maintenance work on the pilot and such should take about an hour for a skilled person to do. Another hour if the gas valve needed to be replaced.
 
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Old 12-27-07, 06:25 PM
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And, of course I don't know what safety device you have. Could be a General Control A-100 or a type of Baso safety. I kinda doubt you can replace like for like, so this is where experience comes in. Knowing what you may use to replace existing parts properly. Hopefully it is only the tcouple.
 
  #7  
Old 01-02-08, 08:56 AM
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Burner pilot

Thanks for the help guys.

It turns out that it needed a good cleaning near the pilot.

There was a large amount of dust built up and the entire pilot had some carbon build up so I cleaned it up with a toothbrush and compressed air. This time the entire pilot ignited and I was able to fire up my burner.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 01-02-08, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fd19993 View Post
Thanks for the help guys.

It turns out that it needed a good cleaning near the pilot.

There was a large amount of dust built up and the entire pilot had some carbon build up so I cleaned it up with a toothbrush and compressed air. This time the entire pilot ignited and I was able to fire up my burner.

Thanks again.


Keep in mind that a furnace with a conversion burner needs annual maintenance work by a repairman competent and experienced enough with conversion burners to check for the real hazards that can exist.

These furnaces can be killers, especially when chimneys and burners are neglected.


It's actually pretty rare for modern furnaces to kill people. They have a lot of built in safety checks. That's not true for old furnaces with conversion burners, which are dependent on the skill of the repairman to make sure they are safe to operate.
 
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