I turned off the gas to a water heater in a home I am selling.
The water heater was less then 4 years old. After approx 2-3 months I
tried to relight the water heater. When I pushed the button to light
the pilot, it light fine, but when I turned the switch from pilot to
ON, the light went out.
Someone suggested I should replace the thermo coupling ( I don't know
what that is.). I have another water heater not being used. Can I
take the parts that come out of the little box on the side, and run to
the burner, and replace them on the one not working? Or do I need to
change the whole Box on the Side and Burner combo.
I'm not the greatest DIY'er, but I have changed out 2 water heaters
(both gas) and I do know how to check for gas leaks. However I do not
have the ca$h to pay a pro to do the job.
Any help most appreciated.
Don't bother robbing Peter to pay Paul. Thermocouples are cheap. The
look like a wire with a little fat spot on the end that normally is in the
flame of the pilot light. Sometimes just cleaning them works, if not they
need to be replaced. Usually one or two screws is all it takes. Remove the
one you have take it to the hardware store and tell them you want a new one.
Don't listen to mr Meehan. he just likes to spit out wrong answers to
these type of questions. if the pilot stays lit after you let trhe
button up it isn't the thermocouple. it is more than likely a gas
pressure or valve problem. would this happen to be propane?
spam protection measure, Please remove the 33 to send e-mail
My pardon. Perhaps in my grief I explained the problem rather poorly.
The pilot light will light and remain lit ONLY WHEN THE BUTTON IS
DEPRESSED. When I let up off of the button, the flame goes out, even
before I can switch to ON. I have held it 1 min and I have held it
3-4 min, and it still goes out once the button is no longer held.
The system is, I believe Natural Gas. We have no Gas tanks in the
yard. We get it piped in by the county like our water and
Can you help me sir? I do hate to whine, but if I can fix this for
less then the cost of replacing the water heater, it will mean my
family can have a meal with meat in it for a change, not to mention
they'd no longer have to take those frigid showers.
Again I ask pardon Mr. Perry. Mr. Perry, yes, That is My final
answer.....uhh.....My final description.
Flame goes out when button is released....however if I rapidly move it
to on and there happens to be a little flame left (though dying) it
gets completely extinguished.
Will this difference give you enough information to formulate an
opinion as to the reason for the water heater's failure?
Thanks you sir,
the fact you changed the thermocouple and it still doesn't work means
it probably isn't the thermocouple. it still could be but the chances
are slim that the one you put in is also defective. There is just too
much that I need to know that you will not be able to answer. such as,
voltage, pilot flame position, etc.. it is now time to call someone
local to look at it for you.
spam protection measure, Please remove the 33 to send e-mail
That narrows it down to teh thermocouple, teh thermocouple connection
connection at the gas valve, and the control magnet assembly, which
is buried dep inside the gas valve.
Thermocouples are cheap. Just replace the thermocouple.
I changed out the thermocopuling for one I had from another Water
Heater that had developed a leak. When I put this in place, I still
had the same problem. Should I buy one that is an EXACT replacement?
This one fit, looked the same and the screws seemed to match.
What do you think
Chances are the second one was OK so that does tend to suggest it may be
something else, but if it were mine, I would try a new thermocouple. Bring
the original old one into the store and ask for a replacement. My money is
still on the thermocouple. However the following quote from RP is correct.
"Could be a bad electrical connection, could be a faulty gas valve,
could be a weak thermocouple (depending upon the type of
system used), could be a lazy pilot flame, or it could be insufficient gas
BTW 6 years old is not old under most conditions. However a cheap tank
or bad water conditions could mean that a six year old tank has reached the
end of the line, but nothing you have mentioned has suggested that.
I think I would consider replacing the tank in the old home. It will
make perspective buyers happy to see a new tank they can trust. I would
also not consider removing parts from the old one to use on the new one.
The parts may not be compatible but more important it I would not put that
much work into moving parts that are as inexpensive as the parts you are
Thanks for the advice and assistance in trouble shooting this problem.
I finally removed the gas valve from my old discarded WH and put it on
the one I was trying to repair. Problem solved. I can't believe it
just broke like it did. Again, thank you and the others who tried/
and did help me
On Sun, 26 Mar 2006 11:45:58 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"
They have many times before. But you know........sometimes you just
cant help on ones like this. The OP claims to be great at installing a
water heater but cant figure out how to make a pilot stay lit.
His fix is to install an 8 yr old thermocouple and then try to turn
the know to "ON" real fast.
Now I know it take years and years and years to be proficent on water
heater repair but when I last read the "How to be King of water
heaters" book, those silly heaters still only had two parts of any
1 - A thermocouple
2 - A gas valve.
Gee, I wonder what his problem is?
Lack of operating brain cells?
The first thing to do is to check the pilot flame-- it should be blue
and contacting the thermocouple. If it is a lazy yellow flame, like a
candle flame, you need to clean the pilot. Usually you can just blow it
out with compressed air. Good luck Larry
And sometimes all you need to do is let everything cool off to room
temperature, follow the thermocouple to the thermostat, and loosen and
retighten the hex nut. It works by the heat from the pilot light causing
the trapped air to rise in pressure. If there is a bad connection, the main
valve thinks that the pilot light has blown out.
No he isn't. Could be a bad electrical connection, could be a faulty
gas valve, could be a weak thermocouple (depending upon the type of
system used), could be a lazy pilot flame, or it could be insufficient
gas pressure. Unless he gets it right by sheer luck he's going to be
taking cold showers for awhile. Worst case scenario he burns down his
Those are pretty harsh words. While I can safely change out a water
heater, I am not knowledgeable about repairing one. Even so I believe
that neither "sheer luck" nor you Mr. Perry will have anything to do
with repairing this water heater.
Most of what you inferred and listed above is completely wrong...the
heater was working fine until it was turned off for 2 months. There
was never a problem with the heater until then. The heater before it
was replace when it started to leak. How you can infer the above by
the little you know is beyond me.
Most of the response here are very positive and helpful. I guess I
failed to see the sport you were having with me and few others you
responded to or about. I'm sorry you are unable to contribute in a
positive way to my question. Perhaps it would be good for you to
continue to monitor the thread and learn what the problem is and then
you could share that in a helpful way in the future with someone else.
To those other helpful people trying to help me fix this problem,
please excuse my strong words. And please continue to give your
suggestions. I'm listening.
-One must squat to speak with a Fule.
Fulish speaking shorten the man.
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