Gas water heater pilot light will not stay lit

Old 04-26-18, 10:39 AM
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Gas water heater pilot light will not stay lit

Hi All,

I have an AO Smith 30 gallon natural gas water heater that has performed well for the 8 years I have lived in my house. I recently turned off the gas to the house in order to shorten and recap a pipe not connected to the water heater. After capping the pipe and turning the gas back on, I could not get the pilot re-lit and remembered that I had been having issues with it in the past. I took apart the pilot assembly and based on my assessment of the condition of the components ordered a new assembly (including electric spark, pilot gas line and thermocouple).

I installed the new assembly a few days ago and the pilot lit up with ease. Once it lit, I increased the temperature knob to heat the water and it flamed up nicely. However, once the desired temperature was achieved and the flame went back down to the pilot, it extinguished. I have tried different heat settings over the pasty few days and it is always the same result: a big blast of flame to get it up to temperature followed by a reduction to the pilot only and then very soon the pilot goes out.

At this point I'm at a loss for what the heck could be causing this. Any ideas are sure appreciated.

Thank you,


Edit: I am in south Louisiana and the water heater is located primarily in the attic. I access the pilot through a high cabinet door in my bathroom, as the water heater is set in a slightly recessed part of the attic.

Last edited by swampdawg; 04-26-18 at 10:42 AM. Reason: Add more detail
Old 04-26-18, 06:13 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Water heater in the attic..... that's a first.

The AO Smith water heaters have had an ongoing problem with the flammable vapor safety system. It's basically a screen on the bottom of the water heater that clogs with dust.

Read thru this thread completely........ a-o-smith-water-heater-wont-stay-lit

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