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    mamalion59's Avatar
    mamalion59 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jan 13, 2007, 07:42 AM
    Water heater pilot light will not stay lit
    The pilot light on my gas water heater will not stay lit. I can light the pilot light, but when I release the valve, it goes out.
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
    Eternal Plumber
     
    #2

    Jan 13, 2007, 07:49 AM
    Look out at the gas meter. Just after it you should see a tee with a capped pipe dropping down from it. This is called a "drip loop" and is there to collect any moisture and condensate that may be in the gas line before it gets to your heater. Liquid can build up in the drip loop to the point that it will onerflow into the gas line and shut down a pilot light. The solution is to shut the gas off at the meter and drain the drip loop. Good luck, Tom
    swg's Avatar
    swg Posts: 2, Reputation: 2
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    #3

    Jan 13, 2007, 07:59 AM
    Check to see if your pilot light is hitting the thermal couple. Thermal couple is the little rod type thing above the pilot light. If your pilot light is not burning properly [crisp blue flame] it will not heat the thermal couple properly. If all this looks good try loosening and retightening the thermal couple at the bottom of gas valve. You may have to have the thermal couple replaced. Very unlikely the gas valve is bad.
    bj139's Avatar
    bj139 Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    Jul 3, 2008, 02:30 PM
    I had the same problem and bought a thermocouple. I should have noticed the flame was yellow and not blue as the previous comment suggests. When installing the thermocouple I used wd40 and a toothbrush to clean the pilot burner and fittings. Upon re-installation the pilot would not light (lubricant in pilot orifice?). I took it apart again. Why do you always have to disassemble and reassemble something you are fixing 3 times? I washed the pilot burner in soap and the remaining warm water from the faucet. There still seemed to be some carbon in a hole in the side of the burner. I took it outside to the hose and adjusted to a good jet and blew water through it avoiding pressure on the main orifice. I then blew it out with compressed air and reinstalled. There was now a blue flame not yellow. I temporarily reinstalled the original thermocouple and the pilot stayed lit. If you have a yellow flame try to clean the burner first. I now have a used good thermocouple for a spare and saved myself maybe $100 for a service call.
    afaroo's Avatar
    afaroo Posts: 3,998, Reputation: 251
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    #5

    Jul 3, 2008, 03:13 PM
    Hi Mamalion,

    Try what Tom has stated he is the expert.

    Just a bit of expansion on what the others have said. The thermocouple is a safety device that turns off the gas if there is no pilot light. If you look closely at the burning pilot light, there is a small metal tube that sits directly in the flame, with wires that lead back to the gas valve. The thermocouple generates a small amount of electrical current when heated by the flame. This current keeps the gas safety valve open. If the pilot light gets blown out, the current stops and the gas valve closes. When you light the pilot light, you hold down the over-ride button for about 30 seconds. This allows the gas to flow long enough to heat up the thermocouple and generate current and then you can release the over-ride button and gas will continue to flow. If the thermocouple is defective, then as soon as you release the over-ride button, since there is no electrical current, the gas will stop flowing and the pilot light will go out.
    This is a pretty common failure on water heaters and furnaces. Replacement of the thermocouple is fairly simple if you are the handyman type. If not, the thermocouple is a cheap part -- about $10 bucks, Thanks.

    Regards,
    John
    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 7,187, Reputation: 522
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    #6

    Jul 3, 2008, 07:34 PM
    Yes, from my experience, in most cases it is thermo-coupling.
    bj139's Avatar
    bj139 Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Jul 4, 2008, 06:25 AM
    My pilot is still lit after 18 hours. I just wanted to point out that my flame was yellow and was not getting hot enough to keep the thermocouple on. If the store is close it makes more sense to take the pilot burner out and clean it than to buy an extra thermocouple that you do not need. Once you've taken it apart and replaced it once the next few times are easy.

    Before I started I noticed one flame at the burner tip and another flame out the side of the burner. I thought cracked feed pipe but this was a flame at the air hole. Air is supposed to be drawn in this hole, mixed with gas, and burned at the tip to produce a blue flame. If this hole is clogged, no air and hence a yellow, low temperature flame. The garden hose worked well to blow the carbon deposits out. Of course it must be dried before installation. If I had a full size compressor at my vacation home I would have used air instead of water.
    louiss's Avatar
    louiss Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Jan 5, 2010, 08:04 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by afaroo View Post
    Hi Mamalion,

    Try what Tom has stated he is the expert.

    Just a bit of expansion on what the others have said. The thermocouple is a safety device that turns off the gas if there is no pilot light. If you look closely at the burning pilot light, there is a small metal tube that sits directly in the flame, with wires that lead back to the gas valve. The thermocouple generates a small amount of electrical current when heated by the flame. This current keeps the gas safety valve open. If the pilot light gets blown out, the current stops and the gas valve closes. When you light the pilot light, you hold down the over-ride button for about 30 seconds. This allows the gas to flow long enough to heat up the thermocouple and generate current and then you can release the over-ride button and gas will continue to flow. If the thermocouple is defective, then as soon as you release the over-ride button, since there is no electrical current, the gas will stop flowing and the pilot light will go out.
    This is a pretty common failure on water heaters and furnaces. Replacement of the thermocouple is fairly simple if you are the handyman type. If not, the thermocouple is a cheap part -- about $10 bucks, Thanks.

    Regards,
    John
    Thanks I have a closed system, will the thermocoupler still be easy to change?
    afaroo's Avatar
    afaroo Posts: 3,998, Reputation: 251
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    #9

    Jan 5, 2010, 10:46 AM

    Yes Just follow the instruction of you heater or if you give me the brand and model number I will walk you through, Thanks.

    John
    louiss's Avatar
    louiss Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Jan 9, 2010, 08:36 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by afaroo View Post
    Yes Just follow the instruction of you heater or if you give me the brand and model number i will walk you through, Thanks.

    John
    Hi John,

    Sorry, I didn't see your response until today. As it turns out the burner was bad and had to be replaced. I put on a new ignitio valve because it was defective but the pilot still didn't light. Hence, the burner. Been told that the tank could possibly be leaking too or it was the condensation that out out pilot. Fortunately, all is covered under the warranty.

    Thank you for your concern. My next problem is my dryer, lol, not heating. Hopefully its only the fuse and not the element but guess I'll have to use a meter to check and make sure. When it rains it pours. :eek:

    Louis
    afaroo's Avatar
    afaroo Posts: 3,998, Reputation: 251
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    #11

    Jan 9, 2010, 08:44 AM

    Hi Louis,

    Thanks for the update and am glad that your heatrer is working now.

    John
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    javachild Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #12

    Jan 26, 2010, 06:36 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by mamalion59 View Post
    The pilot light on my gas water heater will not stay lit. I can light the pilot light, but when I release the valve, it goes out.
    I have a similar problem. The difference from the posts that I have read is that my pilot light will stay lit when I relight is and is blue. It seems to shut off, though, after the burner heats the water almost every time. Could it still be the thermocoupler and if so will the same fixes work? Thx.
    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 7,187, Reputation: 522
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    #13

    Jan 26, 2010, 06:41 PM

    It may be the cause of your problem, it may not. However, replacing thermocoupler is the most inexpensive way to start locating the problem. I would definitively advised you to replace it first.
    afaroo's Avatar
    afaroo Posts: 3,998, Reputation: 251
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    #14

    Jan 26, 2010, 06:52 PM

    I agree with Tom go for it, good luck.

    John
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    shannon103075 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    Feb 12, 2010, 11:23 AM
    I found this page very helpful... I was able able to fix my problem by simply moving the thermocouple into the flame.. went without hot water for 3 days... Im a single woman with 3 kids... thanks so much for this site=-)
    owenhyne's Avatar
    owenhyne Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #16

    Mar 4, 2010, 04:16 AM
    I have a pilot light that won't stay lit. It lights initially with the valve in the "pilot" position and the water temperature dial set to "vacation", stays lit after I release the reset button and turn the valve to the "on" position, but it goes out when I start to turn the water temperature dial back up from "vacation" to "warm". I noticed that it seems to turn off as soon as I turn the temperature dial up to a point where more gas starts to come in. The extra gas flames up and then the whole thing shuts off. I'm guessing that it's not a thermocouple since my pilot light stays lit without the reset button is released. Is it something else that I can fix myself?

    Thanks for the help!
    Lo_skillz's Avatar
    Lo_skillz Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #17

    Mar 7, 2010, 12:49 PM

    Hi all.

    I have been having this same problem with my Whirlpool gas water heater. I have had to replace the TC (thermocouple) before, so I went to Lowe's to get a new one. Unfortunately they told me that Whirlpool has discontinued making the TC for my unit (which was left hand thread) but now has a conversion kit which is free and uses an adapter to make it right hand thread and uses a thermal switch.

    I replaced the old parts and installed the new which consisted of a new TC and pilot line and gas line. The pilot would still not stay on so I called Whirlpool who had me check the reset on the thermal switch and bypass the wires to the TC, still no go. They then said it was most likely the gas control valve. So I ordered a new one of those which wasn't free and installed it.

    This still didn't work I can't get my pilot light to stay lit. I have checked the amp draw on the TC which is supposed to be 12MA but seems to give me 3.4? Maybe I am not checking it right... (I have 3 TC's all brand new and none of them work)

    So as of right now I have:

    1. A new TC

    2. A new gas control valve

    3. Everything new... except the burner.

    What am I doing wrong or missing that is not letting me get this water heater to work?. HELP
    owenhyne's Avatar
    owenhyne Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #18

    Mar 8, 2010, 07:02 AM
    Success! We had a plumber come out to diagnose the issue with our water heater: 100% gas control valve. We ordered a valve from Whirlpool (free + shipping cost), I installed it (bought some tools and followed the instructions, not to difficult although there is a learning curve), and it still didn't work. We Called Whirlpool, they ran me through their little troubleshooting flow chart (basically consists of measuring the voltage generated by the thermocouple annd bridging a fuse) and determined that the new valve I installed must be bad too. So I went to Lowe's, bought another valve and installed it. No dice. At this point I was tired of sitting in my garage working on this thing and taking cold showers, so we called a bunch of plumbers for advice. One guy mentioned "the gas control valve or the thermocouple, it's gotta be one or the other." Seeing as I'd replaced the gas control valve twice, and doubting that I had three gas control valves which were all faulty sitting in my garage, I took him up on his advice. One late night run to Home Depot and 45 minutes of install later I had a working hot water heater. Even though my multimeter was reading up to 18 mV across the old thermocouple and the troubleshooting flow chart requires only 12 mV, the thermocouple still ended up being the problem. My hunch is that the connection wasn't being made between the thermocouple and the gas control valve. Diagnosis: Whirpool's trouble shooting flow chart is crap and doesn't accurately diagnose the problem. I suggest anyone's first step in fixing these water heaters is to replace the thermocouple. It's way easier to do, anybody can do it with limited tools and it costs only a fraction of the price of replacing a gas valve (45 min, $10 versus 2 hrs, $65).

    By the way, my water heater is only 2 years old so it already has the re-designed manifold installed. Good luck!
    owenhyne's Avatar
    owenhyne Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #19

    Mar 8, 2010, 07:15 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Lo_skillz View Post
    Hi all.

    I have been having this same problem with my Whirlpool gas water heater. I have had to replace the TC (thermocouple) before, so I went to Lowe's to get a new one. Unfortunately they told me that Whirlpool has discontinued making the TC for my unit (which was left hand thread) but now has a conversion kit which is free and uses an adapter to make it right hand thread and uses a thermal switch.

    I replaced the old parts and installed the new which consisted of a new TC and pilot line and gas line. The pilot would still not stay on so I called Whirlpool who had me check the reset on the thermal switch and bypass the wires to the TC, still no go. They then said it was most likely the gas control valve. So I ordered a new one of those which wasn't free and installed it.

    This still didn't work I can't get my pilot light to stay lit. I have checked the amp draw on the TC which is supposed to be 12MA but seems to give me 3.4? maybe I am not checking it right...(I have 3 TC's all brand new and none of them work)

    So as of right now I have:

    1. A new TC

    2. A new gas control valve

    3. Everything new...except the burner.

    What am I doing wrong or missing that is not letting me get this water heater to work?..HELP
    Hi! Measure the voltage generated by your TC. If it isn't 12mV or greater, than adjust it's position to be closer to the pilot flame so that it heats up more. If it is generating 12mV or greater, then connect it to the Gas Control Valve and bridge the thermal switch. If the pilot doesn't stay lit then the problem is either a bad gas control valve or a bad connection between the control valve and the TC. Since you have a brand new Gas Control Valve, I'll guess that it isn't that. My hunch is that the thermocouples from Lowe's may not make the best contact to the Gas Control Valves. Go to Home Depot and buy a Honeywell universal thermocouple ($10). It will install fine, but you'll notice that the connecter is a tad different than the version from Lowe's. For whatever reason this worked for me. Good Luck!
    akshardham's Avatar
    akshardham Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #20

    Mar 11, 2010, 02:34 AM
    We are using a pilot burner in a very moist environment. We are using two ignitor rods sparking them with 15KV. At times it lights up instantlly. At times it does not spark. How can I overcome this problem and have it spark every time?

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