Question about Rheem 36" Water Heater Thermocouple Kit

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I have a gas hot water heater and the pilot won't stay lit. I replaced the thermocouple and it worked for a couple weeks but I'm back to the same problem. When I light the pilot, it works just fine...even has a bright blue flame. However by the end of the day, it's gone out again. What can I try next?

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Typically, if you have replaced the thermocoupling and are still experiencing problems, it means the master control valve is bad. It also may be a venting problem, which I would not rule out. If you call the manufacturer with model and serial number, they will be able to help you better diagnose your problem.

Posted on Nov 19, 2009

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Reliant 501 Natural Gas won't stay lit


Reliance water heater?
Thermocouple is good if the pilot stays lit continuously.

501 is older model. Unknown if this unit has FVIR protection and sealed combustion chamber or open air intake on front of unit.
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Reliance-2006-Service-Handbook.pdf

With FVIR protection:
Get more fresh air to the unit.
Clean the flame arrestor screen.
Test and replace the thermocouple:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-thermocouple.html
Inspect and clean burner and combustion parts
Test gas pressure, bleed air out of gas line.
Replace gas control valve.
Test draft air by lighting match and see if smoke is pulled into the vent pipe at draft hood on top of tank.

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The pilot won't stay lit on gas hot water tank.


Make sure thermocouple tip is seated inside the burner flame.
Make sure thermocouple is not overtightened. Finger-tight + 1/4 turn.
If the pilot lights, then ECO energy cut off is not tripped, but gas control valve might be bad.
Check color of pilot flame: it should be strong and clear blue.
If pilot flame is weak, or color of flame is yellow-orange: Clean pilot orifice and burner and combustion parts on yearly basis.
Clean air intake screen if applicable.
Increase air supply to water heater. Open a window and see what happens.
Check for adequate draft going up chimney using match under vent hood to see if smoke drafts immediately upwards.
Bleed air out of gas line.
Check gas pressure.

Open following links for troubleshoot resources:
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Pilot-light-will-not-stay-lit.pdf
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Pilot-outage-troubleshooting.pdf
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Vent-spillage-test-atmospheric-gas-water-heater.pdf
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html#troubleshoot

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I have an old whirlpool gas water heater and the pilot will not stay lit.


Suspects include bad thermocouple, thermocouple slipped down and not in pilot flame, dirty combustion parts and pilot tube, dirty air intake, backdraft caused by other vent fans pulling air down water heater vent, water dripping down vent because of poor venting, air in gas line, low gas pressure, bad gas control valve, hot attic environment, tight house not allowing enough air:

Replace thermocouple:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0aBPsNg6vo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGQngzqrIEE&NR=1
Troubleshoot pilot:
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Pilot-light-will-not-stay-lit.pdf
Clean combustion parts.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html#clean

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1 Answer

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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

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