Water Heater Pilot Will Not Stay Lit when I switch from PILOT to ON.

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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.
M,B
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Brett Miller wrote:

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.
--
Joseph Meehan

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On Sun, 19 Mar 2006 11:31:25 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

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
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On Sun, 19 Mar 2006 20:21:31 -0500, hvactech2

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 electricity.
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.
Thanks,
BM
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Brett Miller wrote:

That does change everything. Is that your final description?
Richard Perry

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wrote:
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.
Mr. Perry, Will this difference give you enough information to formulate an opinion as to the reason for the water heater's failure?
Thanks you sir,
B.Miller

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wrote:

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
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wrote:

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.
--
-john
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On Sun, 19 Mar 2006 11:31:25 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

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
BM
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Brett Miller wrote:

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 pressure."
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 talking about.
--
Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan,
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
BM
On Sun, 26 Mar 2006 11:45:58 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

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Brett Miller wrote: .. Problem solved.
Glad to hear that.
--
Joseph Meehan

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wrote:

Replace the water heater and do it quickly. Your old one may blow up with a bad thermocouple. Bubba
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Someday someone is actually going to believe your jokes.
--
Joseph Meehan

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On Sun, 26 Mar 2006 14:36:54 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 real serviceability. 1 - A thermocouple 2 - A gas valve. Gee, I wonder what his problem is? Lack of operating brain cells? Bubba
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Sometimes you have to hold that pilot button down for a full minute or so. Are you trying to let it go too soon?
--
Steve Barker

"Brett Miller" < snipped-for-privacy@miller.com> wrote in message
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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
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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.

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Al Tsiemers wrote:

Do you actually believe that?

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 house.
Richard Perry
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wrote:

Mr. Perry, 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.             -HT8 Fulish speaking shorten the man.             JP
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