American Pilot Going Out


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Old 08-28-11, 12:41 PM
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American Pilot Going Out

Installed an American 40 gallon gas BFG6140T403NO for my neighbor last Nov. Everything was fine until Friday when the pilot went out. Yesterday it did it again. I am a pretty good handy man, but have never serviced a heater. I have installed bunches and never had this occur before.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 01:08 PM
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Until a Pro shows up.....I think many new WHs require a bit more maintenance than old ones. It may be that it just needs vacuuming out. Seems some of these have flash arrestors or screens that can get easily blocked and doesn't allow enough air in.

While you wait for an Expert to show up.....try reading this thread....http://www.doityourself.com/forum/wa...-stay-lit.html
 
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Old 08-28-11, 01:24 PM
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Hi,

Without going into details about how to fix the heater, I would suggest you call the manufacturer and find out the warranty.

Most all basic units today carry 6 yr tank, 6 yr parts, and 1 yr labor warranty.

Its best to call and find the authorized service company in your area and have them take a look. It may not cost you anything.

Again I coulod tell you what to look for and possibly do to correct the issue, but its best to get it documented for future issues and warranty claims.

Hope this helps...

Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-28-11, 01:41 PM
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Hey Mike.....just wondering if the thing about the screens is valid for this unit? I'd be concerned about calling, getting the service and then they disallow it under warranty because there was lint or dirt? That would be probably be a chunk of change?
 
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Old 08-28-11, 02:54 PM
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Well it depends. The new units do have a better airflow system then the first FVIR type units.

If the unit is by the furnace or a dryer they can clogg up sooner then average,

It may just be a faulty part. ( Pilot assembly)

American had gas valve issues that they did not recall, but the company I worked for had a deal with us and we were replacing the gas valves. American would reimburse us $150 per unit. I believe this was all hush, hush and it was on a per company basis if you complained enough. They sent us 100 gas valves to replace if any homeowners complained.

Its better to call and get it documented. Like I said its probably under warranty. Just need to get the right tech that gives a hoot. Most techs have no clue. Come in and give a line of BS. This is why you need it documented so when you call 20 times more during the life of the waterheater.

Sorry to say the american is a premier brand ( I think) and is junk IMO. Although made in TN AO smith may own the company.

Just look at the gas valve...Uggggg. Legs? Bottom air intake? Alittle behind the times.

http://www.americanwaterheater.com/p...NRGSS01310.pdf

Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-28-11, 03:26 PM
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Thanks Mike

If if involves just some cleaning, I can do that. I'll call American tomorrow and see what they say. It should be under warranty at less than a year. Fortunately, I called American when installing and registered the warranty.

I am confused. I know you like AO Smith and I think worked for them. I used to think AO Smith hung the moon, but my wholesaler now bad mouths them out the wazoo. Yet he sold me this American, made by AO Smith. This tank is the only non Bradford White that I have bought from him, and the only one that has given a problem.

I agree with your observation that many techs with plumbing firms don't know any more than I do, but I'll admit it.

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 03:55 PM
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I used to think AO Smith hung the moon, but my wholesaler now bad mouths them out the wazoo.
This is because AO smith was the first with the FVIR technology. There were issues with these first units and most contractors got annoyed by all thier call backs after installs.

So they think its just a AO smith issue and bad moth them because they did not understand the technology or how to repair them in the field.

With that said all the other manufacturers followed later what AO smith had developed.

AO smith IMO was the inovation leader following the legal guidlines and the guinea pigs really.

Just to let you know that water heater is something I have not worked on. I have been out of the trade for 3 yrs or so. Technology seems to be passing me by quickly.

But all FVIR technology is similar.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-28-11, 05:11 PM
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Appreciate you Larosa

I am 66 and technology is passing me quickly also. My opinion: Bradford White is overpriced, but I have never had a comeback; AO Smith is maybe a little lower priced and I don't know if they are the same as American. Maybe I am lucky, but I put a GE (Rheem I think) in my own house 6 years ago and it has been flawless.

We age, but I hope never stop learning.

Thanks for your contributions to the board.
 
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Old 08-29-11, 06:26 PM
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My opinion: Bradford White is overpriced, but I have never had a comeback; AO Smith is maybe a little lower priced and I don't know if they are the same as American.
I like Bradford White, but yes, they are a little pricey. I don't think American and AO Smith are the same heater although AO Smith did buy American. I just keep remembering, American makes Whirlpool water heaters. Try Googling Whirpool water heater complaints and you'll understand my sentiment. I am hoping that AO Smith does look into the engineering over at American and makes some changes. American used to be known for making a decent water heater for a lower price than the majors, but they have had some problems in recent years. I have a 16 year old Mor Flo (American) and never had a problem with it. Hope it keeps going strong a few more years. And, I like legs on water heaters!!
 
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Old 08-31-11, 11:36 AM
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Long Day Yesterday

I diagnosed and replaced the thermocouple. The tank is working again. However, I would defy anyone to install the replacement thermocouple exactly like the factory did. I has a slip on collar that is supposed to slide into the bracket holes and snap into place to lock the thermocouple. It is impossible to get it to slide into the bracket holes. The factory must have some special machine or tool that does it. I have 2 buds who are master plumbers and the first said he never saw that before and 2nd inserted the thermocouple without the collar and then slid the collar down the thermocouple tip. He said that is not how it should be, but the only way he could ever get one of these back together. The problem with this is it doesn't lock the thermocouple in exact position.

Having said all of that, American's 6 yr warranty is parts only, so in my opinion, they really don't have a warranty. Further, their automated phone system is user hostile, making you enter the serial number at least 4 times each call. The phone help people are pretty good once you get them. I'll probably avoid American in the future.

I don't know the details of any other mfgers warranties, but note that Home Depot is offering 1 yr in home service in addition to the parts warranty,

Back to this American tank, my neighbors are elderly and replaced a good, 10 yr old Bradford White just to insure reliability. They are spooked with the American and the plethora of Whirlpool complaints, so we shall replace this tank with something else.

Seeking the best heater is the most circular process that I have ever encountered. On this board Lawrosa likes AO Smith. AO Smith owns American and I think State. Rheem gets pretty good reviews, but makes GE which gets its share of complaints also. Bradford White is a stand alone and even they get plenty of hits. Maybe they are like garbage disposals. I don't think any of them are much good.
 
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Old 08-31-11, 11:52 AM
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Many of the safety rules and regulations have caused manufacturers to sometimes take the quickest cheapest way to comply...IMO of course. And this causes failures that 20 years ago could have been fixed with a crescent wrench and hammer...lol.

I think the gas WH I have here is a BW (not taking the panel off to check...could be AOS) and I'm almost sure it's original to the house. Thats 21 yrs! And we have hard water! Works fine...no leaks..plenty of hot water (though I'm sure there's a lot of sediment...but no crackling or popping).

It's in a spot where I should see any leak w/in minutes (if I'm awake)... so I just can't see replacing it til there's a problem. Thats when I'll replace the flooring in the laundry room and do it all at once.

Borrowed time...sure...but I've been borrowing time on lots of things for many years. Of course now that I've posted this the WH, washer and dryer and package A/C unit will all fail w/in 3 months I'm sure.
 
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Old 08-31-11, 12:46 PM
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Agreed

It seems like tanks used to last longer and a lot of these problems arose with sealed combustion chambers. Those piezo ignitors are pretty handy tho.
 
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Old 08-31-11, 12:58 PM
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The issue you had changing the t coupler is because its not meant to be changed as a individual component.

It comes as a whole assembly. I am 100% against changing the Coupler by itself. You should have got the assembly at no charge and replaced it.

The reason being is some whater heaters have a fusible link in line. If you put in a regular coupler you may be by passing a saftey device.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-31-11, 01:43 PM
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Question Lawrosa

By entire assembly, do you mean the entire manifold assembly and burner? T-couple was the part that American directed me to replace, and I agree with you that it is virtually impossible to replace in the field.

Thanks again for all of your advice. When I think water heater, I think of you and know you will always respond.
 
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Old 08-31-11, 02:05 PM
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Usually the t couple, pilot tube, igniter come all together.

I have even seen some now come with a complete burner package. Door and all.....

When I think water heater, I think of you and know you will always respond.
Ha ha.... Yes well I have been out of work almost 3 yrs. Wife decided she rather work and I stay home with the kids. (Young children)

So I have alot of time sitting infront of the computer. But trust me, this cooking, cleaning, housework stuff is harder then going to a job everyday.

Do I feel less of a man... Yeah but I still have a roof over my head.

Times are tough. Went from 100K a yr to 30K. Thank god I own everything and have no bills. I live very cheap now....

Do I need it or do I want it is my new motto.......

Mike NJ
 
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Old 09-02-11, 05:38 PM
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My customer and I both took a haircut on this. After wrestling with American on repairs, I finally asked for a complete burner/manifold assembly. That is when American quit responding. Apparently, they are willing to guide you through replacing $10 thermocouples but not much more. My customer elected a 12 yr GE for $500 from HD. They offer a one yr in home warranty. It is working perfectly for the 2nd day now. I ate all of the labor and he ate the materials and parts. Life has a few weeks like this. IMO American is a pretty poor outfit to do business with.
 
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Old 09-02-11, 05:41 PM
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Just wait until you have to go through GE for service....They are worse IMO....

Mike NJ
 
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Old 09-03-11, 07:31 AM
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My customer elected a 12 yr GE for $500 from HD
I wish good luck to you and your customer on that, but HD is next to the last place I'd buy a gas water heater. The absolute last place is Lowes.
 
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Old 09-04-11, 11:24 AM
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I have installed 3 GE's in the past six years and all are working fine, but that is not a lot of samples. I do like the advertised 1 yr in home service warranty, but have not had to try it. HD told me they were allied with a mechanical firm in Boulder who does the repairs. I have put in lots of Bradford Whites and the worst thing there was a failure on an electric @ 9 yrs. Agree with everyone that Lowes is the last place to go because that matches my American experience. Thanks for all of the replies and you sound like you have your head screwed on pretty straight, Lawrosa.
 
 

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