Question about Water Heaters

2 Answers

Rheem 40 gallon gas hot water heater, pilot light won't stay lit. I can re-light it, but pilot light goes out after water in tank warms up.

Posted by on

2 Answers

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

    Corporal:

    An expert that has over 10 points.

    Mayor:

    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 2 Answers

To make a short story long (I need to include all details, sry)…

I got up one morning and realized that we did not have hot water. I re-lit the pilot light and as soon as the burner went out from heating the water up, the pilot light would go out. After reading several posts regarding this issue, it seemed apparent that the thermo-coupler was the problem. Since I am a little bit handy around the house and very tight when it comes to opening my wallet, I bought the device from Lowe’s ($8.98) that was recommended by my online advisors and after a few googles, figured out how to change it. No help. The pilot light still goes out.

I gave up and went to Home Depot to purchase and schedule the installation of a new hot water heater.

STICKER SHOCK

A new Direct Vent type water heater costs around $800 with an additional $450 for “special” installation. Add a few fees to that and the grand total came to about $1450.

I felt like I had no choice since my wife and 2 daughters refused to live their life without hot water and I had no clue about how to fix the dam thing.

The plumber assigned to the installation stopped by to evaluate the site conditions and quickly noted to me that the 8 year old water heater tank was in good condition and that the gas controller was probably faulty, which could be purchased online from the manufacturer. I quickly cancelled the Home Depot order and purchased the controller for about $120 after shipping and tax. Immediately after the installation it seemed that the problem had been solved. A few days later the pilot light went out.

I called the plumber and explained the situation and he recommended that I purchase another controller because the one that was shipped to me was probably bad. I searched around town and found a plumbing supply company that had the correct model in stock. Two days later the pilot light was out. I cleaned up the controller and returned it to the store and asked the plumber to please schedule a visit to repair this dam thing.

When the plumber arrived, he hooked up a gauge in several locations and confirmed that the correct amount of gas (cfm) was being delivered to the controller, pilot light and burner. He then proceeded to remove the fire box to make sure that the igniter, thermo-coupler and pilot tip were set properly. He inspected the pilot light tip and said that he found the problem. Using about a 1/64” tip drill (can be purchased at a welding supply store), he cleaned the tiny hole that releases gas to the pilot light. I felt a sigh of relief because I was certain that the problem had been solved. $65 dollars (plumber’s fee for an hour of work) and 4 days later the pilot light went out.

I called the plumber and he said that the controller that I purchased online must be bad. Too embarrassed to return to the first plumbing supply store, I found another one in a different town that had the correct model in stock. Three days after changing the controller the pilot light went out. I returned the controller and a six pack later I decided to do some extensive googling.

The key term here is “DIRECT VENT”. This seems to be a very common problem with direct vent water heaters and I was about to find out the reason for this phenomenon. I read a post by an individual who wrote that if the vent becomes detached that the inflow of air can become contaminated and extinguish the pilot light. I decided that before I spent any more money on a plumber that I was going to take the vent apart and find out what makes it tick.

My direct vent system has 2 parts to the venting, an inner pipe (3” nominal diameter) that serves as the exhaust and the outer pipe (5” nominal diameter) that serves as the internal flow of air which supplies the pilot light and burner with oxygen. On the outside of the house a vent hood helps to segregate the two by extending the exhaust about 3” beyond the intake. I looked into the hood at the end of the pipes and discovered that the internal pipe which consisted of a 2 piece slip joint had come loose from the elbow that sets on top of the water heater. This slip joint pipe was not attached at any point with screws or clamps and was loosely setting over the elbow on one end and into the hood on the other end, allowing it to detach. Apparently, when atmospheric conditions were right, the burner idled down from heating up the water and extinguished the pilot light because the intake was saturated with CO2 from the connection failure.

I purchased a section of 3” pipe that was long enough to be installed in one piece. I connected it to the elbow using a stainless steel hose clamp. I had to disassemble the pipe 3 times to make adjustments to the length and position before I got it right, but I should not have any more problems with the pilot light.

The problem here is time. It takes a lot of time to get this right. When the plumbing contractors installed this unit during the construction of the house, there was no one around to make sure that they got it right. It is probably common to use a 2 piece slip joint type connection, but I feel like it should be attached with screws or clamps. In my opinion it is not rigid enough and can detach easily, especially if it is not installed properly. A one piece connection that is attached at one end with a hose clamp and then held in place at the other end by the hood is fool proof.

Posted on Sep 27, 2009

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points

    MVP:

    An expert that got 5 achievements.

    Novelist:

    An expert who has written 50 answers of more than 400 characters.

    Governor:

    An expert whose answer got voted for 20 times.

  • Expert
  • 101 Answers

Your water heater most likely needs a new thermocouple. (the device the pilot light heats to develope power to operate the gas valve). They are not expensive and usually available at good home improvement/hardware stores.

Bring your old thermocouple or as much information about your heater to the store to ensure you get the correct replacement.

Posted on Sep 12, 2009

1 Suggested Answer

6ya6ya
  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

Hi,
a 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
the service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.
goodluck!

Posted on Jan 02, 2017

Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%

my-video-file.mp4

Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add

×

Loading...
Loading...

Related Questions:

1 Answer

Rheem 22V50F1 pilot won't stay lit. Changed thermo couple & it lit, ran then went out. Let it sit overnight & it lit, ran then went out. What next? p.s. The unit is 5 years old. Thanks


If pilot lights and flame is robust and clear blue, and pilot goes out later, then some suspects can be excluded: air in gas line, low gas pressure, thermocouple is overtightened (finger-tight + 1/4 turn), thermocouple not positioned correctly in the flame, dirty pilot tube.
If flame is yellowish and small: then clean pilot tube and combustion parts.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html#clean
Remaining suspects can include: air in gas line, low gas pressure, bad gas control valve, tight house so household vent fans pull air down water heater vent that blows out pilot, hot attic with inadequate ventilation, water dripping down vent.

Open following links to read troubleshoot resources.
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Pilot-light-will-not-stay-lit.pdf
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html#troubleshoot

Aug 16, 2011 | Rheem 50 Gallon FVR NATGAS Water Heater...

1 Answer

The pilot will not stay lit after water in tank reaches desired temperature. After tank cools down pilot will relight and heat water again thyen goes out approximately 1-2 minute3s after water has been...


Hi,
Thermocouple is getting weak... the extra heat from the main burner will keep it lit but after it goes out the thermocouple will then shut down..
Replace the thermocouple...

heatman101

Apr 30, 2011 | Rheem 40 Gallon FVR NATGAS Low WATER...

1 Answer

I have a Rheem 40 gal. tank that is leaking water front the top where the vent stack is. It is pouring out. Can it be repaired?


A leaking water heater cannot be repaired, assuming it's the tank leaking and not nearby water pipe.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Water-heater-leaking.html

First thing is to protect your property from catastrophic tank failure where tank ruptures and water runs until it is shut off:
Tanks are under pressure when they are hot.
Close cold water shut-off located above tank.
Turn control knob to 'pilot' so pilot is lit but burner will not turn on.
Open hot side on tub for few moments to relieve tank pressure.

Now your property is safe.
You need a new water heater.
In mean time, gas water heater makes 41 gallons hot water per hour.
Shower used 5-9 gallons hot water.
Bath uses 10-15 gallons hot water.
You can turn on water heater for short stretches and limp by until you get a new heater.

Steps for installing gas water heater:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html

Dec 20, 2010 | Rheem 40 Gallon FVR NATGAS Low WATER...

1 Answer

My Rheem 40 gal. LPG water heater has sat for two years. When I attempt to light the pilot manually, it goes out after I release the push button valve knob?


The pilots have to warm up, hold that button down for a min, then let it go, it should stay on. Then crank up the pressure, it should light. If you are worried about it, call your gas man, he will check it out. Hope this helps.

Mar 31, 2010 | Water RHEEM 40 Gallon FVR PROP PWR Heater...

3 Answers

Pilot light on water heater wont stay lit


The thermocouple has failed. It is the temp probe that goes from the pilot lite burner area to the control valve. Go to your local plumbng repair shop and buy one. Most appliance parts stores have them also. Take the old one with you and they will hook you up with an exact replacement. They are not that hard to change. Usually a nut or 2 screws in the temp bulb area at the burner end and a nut that threads into the control valve.
Make sure before you install the new one that the area where it mates to the gas valve is clean. Should be about a 20 min job including clean up with replacement parts in hand.

Jan 23, 2010 | Rheem 40 Gallon FVR NATGAS Low WATER...

1 Answer

Water heater will not lighr


Most likely the thermocouple which goes from the gas valve to just above the pilot light flame is bad. You can get these from any furnace supply or Lowes/ Home Depot normally. If you can depress the gas valve button and get the pilot light to light, and after holding the button in for about a minute you see it go out, then it is definitely the thermocouple.

Jan 23, 2010 | Rheem 40 Gallon FVR NATGAS Low WATER...

3 Answers

Pilot light won`t stay burning on my hot water tank. I replaced the thermacoupler;no difference. It is a Rheem Gauardian system ''Fury''. 40 gal in a wellsite skid trailer. Thanks


The thermocouple is a screw in type or 2 wire. You can check the dc MILI volt output with a multimeter. It should probably make 500-750miliVDC when heated. Be sure no plastic from the thermocouple wrapper was on the threads, will not work like that. To light did you push and hold the valve for 30 sec after lighting the pilot then turn to run after the pilot was burning? There is a slight chance the gas valve is bad but not likely. Check the wireing on the thermocouple to the gas valve.

Oct 19, 2009 | Rheem 40 Gallon FVR NATGAS Low WATER...

Not finding what you are looking for?
Water Heaters Logo

Related Topics:

1,388 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Water Heaters Experts

Donni Steen

Level 3 Expert

659 Answers

Brad Brown

Level 3 Expert

15441 Answers

Gil Shultz

Level 3 Expert

3368 Answers

Are you a Water Heater Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides

Loading...