Water Heater - Pilot goes out


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Old 05-03-08, 07:48 AM
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Water Heater - Pilot goes out

I have a Bradford White 40 gallon natural gas water heater. It is about 4 years old. One night I noticed that the cover over where you can see the pilot and burners was not completely on. This cover is about a foot long and 5 inches high, and cut out to fit over this opening on the bottom. I positioned this cover so it would fit in the slots. The next morning I had no hot water, the pilot was out. I lit the pilot, left the cover off, and left for work. When I came home later that afternoon, the pilot was still on, and I had hot water. I replaced the cover, and the next morning, the pilot was out and no hot water. I lit the pilot and did not replace the cover, which is how it is now, and everything seems to be ok.

There is some sort of control or connecting device to the left of the window where you can view the pilot and burners. There are 2 wires connected to this - the middle of this control is circular, black with a red button in the center. If I press this red button the pilot goes out, and if the burner is on at the time, the burner also goes out. My guess is that when I put the cover on it is contacting this button and shutting it off.

I would like to know what is wrong, and also put the cover back on. Any ideas or information on what the problem may be?
 
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Old 05-03-08, 01:08 PM
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Your guess maybe right, since no one else can see what you are seeing.
Try to install it in such a way that it doesn't come in contact with the red button.
Post pics if available.
 
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Old 05-03-08, 06:16 PM
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Good evening, and welcome to DIY

I have a few Ideas to check.

Coming back from the pilot there should be either a heavy solid copper wire going to the gas valve or a high temp wire also going to the gas valve. Check those connections and make sure they are tight. If it is the copper line (thermocouple) then it will tighten with a small wrench.
If is is a wire (theromopile) you will tighten a screw, or a wire connector.

Before you tighten anything, gently wiggle things and see if anything appears to be loose.

Next I would make sure nothing is touching that switch with the red button after you put the cover back on. That switch is a flame roll out switch and checks for high temp down by the burner area. If nothing is touching the switch as I believe is so, you may have another problem which could be quite serious. It is possible you are having some kind of vent problem and could have hot fumes backing up into the house. Can be deadly !!!

When the cover is off, roll-out switch stays cool enough. When cover is replaced, high heat and fumes trip the switch.

Just a possibility, but something to look at just the same.

Let me know what you find. Mark
 
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Old 05-04-08, 06:42 AM
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I carefully put the cover on and then turned the water temp setting up a little to see if the pilot was on and the burner would kick on. (I can't see if the pilot is on with the cover on). The burner did come on. After the burner turned off (I assume because it reached proper temp) I filled the washing machine with hot water - and the burner came on. It seems to be working ok now. I will check it later today. I hope I don't wake up tomorrow to no hot water.

My next question is - is it normal to have to be so careful putting that cover on?

If it continues to function normally, do you think I can rest assured I don't have any safety issues? You have me concerned now that I may have venting issues, but my boiler for my heating system vents through the same flue (stainless pipe) and I haven't had any problems throughout the winter.

I only noticed a problem when I put that cover on when I found it not properly on. and I guess I bumped that red button.
 
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Old 05-04-08, 12:20 PM
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It is possible that you hit the switch before. If it stays lit I would not worry too much. Another thing you could and SHOULD do is have a CO (carbon monoxide)detector. That way if you are getting a backup of flue gases you will be notified before anything bad happens.
 
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Old 05-04-08, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for the advice.

I have CO detectors as well as smoke alarms in the house. Have for years. That is very good advice that I appreciate and advocate. As a matter of fact that was one of my Christmas presents to my children when they moved into their own places.

Thanks again - I will keep my eye on it.
 
 

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