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Propane heater won't stay running after initial start up

My "new" 30-55,000 propane heater will not stay running after I let go of the fuel valve button after the 15 second start up procedure. it is only 11 months old! it ran perfect last season. i bought it new.

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All gas heaters have a thermocouple that sits in the path of the pilot light if the unit does not have automatic electronic ignition and may have one then too. Pressing the button on the valve assembly to start it bypasses this safety for lighting but if the thermocouple is bad, the unit won't stay lit.
Thermocouples are pretty reliable but I'm sure the Chinese have managed to make them poorly enough to destroy the reliability and I suspect these are mostly coming from there now.
If your unit uses a pilot light, check it and look for a closed-end rod sitting in the path of the flame. This device will likely have a thin (and fragile!) tube connecting it to the valve body. Don't kink this tube while handling.
If you have a multimeter at home (everyone should; under $20 at Radio Shack or any auto parts store) you can measure it. If it is good, it should measure a very low resistance; under 10 Ohms on the lowest scale. Most hardware stores carry replacement TCs but you may have to dig through several shapes to find one that will mount in your heater.

Posted on Oct 03, 2009

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Pilot won't stay on


Burners don't have anything to do with the problem of pilot not lighting. Is the problem that flame will not 'stay' lit? Or you can't even get a flame to ignite? If former: possible bad pilot generator or bad gas valve. If latter, possible bad gas valve or no fuel to ignite.

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I have a Jayco pop up with an Atwood water heater, serial # 37C14U-5. My problem is two-fold. The water heater pilot doesn't stay lit after initial run, and propane is leaking out of the vent on the...


Leaking propane is red flag #1 and fire hazard.
Immediately update your insurance and then turn off gas.
If pilot is not staying lit, then gas leak can be cause of pilot problem since pressure on the line is reduced.
Other causes include bad gas control valve, air in the gas line, bad thermocouple, burner parts need cleaning, or all the above.
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More resources:
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This sounds like a problem with your thermocouple.

Just remove the end of the thermocouple from where is goes into the gas valve and leave the end that goes into the flame in place.

Clean the end of the thermocouple connect by scraping off just a little metal from the end just about there the nut tightens the thermocouple into the gas valve. After you have exposed some new metal do the same inside the valve where the thermocouple seats into the gas valve.
Use a small pic or similar item to scrape inside the gas valve to expose some new metal there also.

Now reassemble the thermocouple into the gas valve and see if the heater works.

Here is a link with some more instructions.
http://www.msservice.net/ts/reseat_thermo-clean_pilot-ODS.htm

If this does not solve the problem you may need a new thermocouple and you can find that at www.desaparts.com

Thanks

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Sounds like you have a bad gas hold on valve. I have a tip at http://www.fixya.com/support/r4258201-fix_gas_reddy_heaters_will_not_continue which explains the problem, how to fix it and where to get the parts. Let me know if you need more help.

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Dear travelinman4, 02-21-2009 18:24 EST (USA)

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is this kerosene or propane. if kerosene, two types of ignition is used.  a spark plug or a hot surface ignitor.  the kero unit uses a cad cell flame detector, the propane unit uses a millivolt generator.
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