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Hot water heater won't stay lit

Hot water heater. ge smart water model gp40t06avg00. pilot light works. when temp is dialed up flame goes out.heater sits on the floor and was in about 4 inches of water.

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  • Brad Zeigler
    Brad Zeigler May 15, 2008

    Exaxt same issue with exact same product...40gal GE smart water heater which sat in about 3-4 inches of water. I replaced the pilot assembly, put everything back together, but seems not to be getting sufficient air for combustion. I'm wondering if the water somehow blocked the air intack of this sealed burner type water heater.

  • timothy-curl Jun 27, 2008

    Same water heater submerged in about the same amount of water with the same problem.

  • rwc1375 Jan 01, 2009

    I have the same problem with GE hot water heater. Pilot will light, but when main burner comes on the flame does not stay lit more than a few seconds. This unit was also under water for a couple days. I hooked up the burner assembly outside the heater and it works just fine.

  • Anonymous Mar 17, 2014

    Hot water smell when first turn on hot water I have a state select hot water heater


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Brad Z - you are absolutely correct!
Mine is a sealed burner type and was flooded with 4 inches of water and after I pumped the water out of the basement, the pilot wouldn't stay on for a long time and also when I turned the thermostat on burner went out after few seconds.
The problem was that the air intake screen under the burner had water on it and air canot make it through. I used a paper towel and wiped as much as I could and it started right up, I could feel the air sucked in when I turned the thermostat up.
Hope someone finds this helpful, I had 3 plumbers that wanted to replace the unit and couldn't figure out why it was not starting.

Posted on Mar 20, 2010

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Hey did anyone find a solution to the above problem? I have the same water heater and same problem. I see the spark but no combustion or flame. Please advise. You can email me at SOMEONE HELP PLEASE!!!

Posted on Feb 12, 2010

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How to light my heater? I can't fine the pilot.

It appears the pilot is behind the metal thing with two holes on it. Can't tell what the holes are but they look like viewer holes. You can follow the main hose and see where it goes to the control dial. From there you can see a smaller metal line that goes from the dial area to behind the metal thing I'm speaking of. Also there is a skinny brass line which is your temperature sensor which the tip is real close to where the pilot area is. You should be able to push down on the automatic igniter and see a spark. That's where your pilot light is which is a good indicator as well. You may have to hold down the igniter for a minute or two to make sure the pilot does stay lit. When you do find the pilot and the pilot does not stay lit you may have to buy a new thermal coupler. Best of luck to you.

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We have a rheem 30 gallon gas water heater / rn 1094a16941 -- the pilot light keeps going out - we have replaced the thermol couplier then it worked for a while and now it lights but won"t stay lit for...

This covers the basics on no burner flame or pilot outage issues on standard tank gas water heaters. As always, safety first; if you do not understand what you are doing, do not attempt to make repairs on your own. This is just a guide to help you figure out what may be wrong.

1) Let's take care of the obvious things first. If you have a propane gas water heater, make sure you are not out of gas! Go to the tank, lift the lid, look at the % gauge. If it's pointing at 5% or less, you may be empty or about to run out of gas. If it says you have plenty of gas, make sure the gauge is not sticking and bang the lid down. If the gauge drops down to 5% or less, order a gas delivery.

2) Remove the panel on the water heater to view the burner. Is the pilot still lit? Yes, then make sure the control knob is in the "ON" position. Also make sure the temp dial is not on "Vacation" setting or set at a very low temp setting. Typical dial settings are at medium "arrow" selection or "A" selection.

3) Is the pilot flame out? If you smell gas, do not attempt to light. Turn gas off at shut off valve on gasline to water heater and call your gas co. Otherwise, follow the manufacturer's lighting instructions on the water heater to relight. Pilot still won't light? Then you may have a dirty pilot orifice that needs cleaned. Or if you were out of gas and just got filled, you may have air in the lines and lighting the pilot will take longer than normal to light. It's best to have the gasman light this when he is there to fill your tank. It's also possible you have a control that is locked out or defective, which will require a serviceman to repair or replace the control.

Let's say you get the pilot flame lit. When you release the button, does it stay lit? No, then you might not have held the button down long enough, Try again. Still goes out? Is the pilot flame a strong blue color and actually making the thermocouple red hot? If so, and it won't stay lit, replace the thermocouple. Or is it a lazy yellow flame? If so, it may have burn't the tip off the thermocouple and it will need to be replaced. This condition is caused by a dirty pilot orifice, which will need to be cleaned with a broach to prevent it from ruining the new thermocouple you install.

4) Ok, let's say you relight the pilot and get the main burner to light as well, but later they both go out again. This only happens, of course, after the service tech has left. With it still off, get a flashlight and look inside the access panel in the area above the main burner? Do you see a lot of black soot build-up? If so, this make be causing your problem. Have your water heater serviced. If no soot, then check for blockage in your vent. Look for a bird nest or even a dead bird. Your vent cap is either going through your roof or through a wall to the outside. You'll need a ladder to check either. If it has bends and elbows, check those out for blockage too.

5) No blockage? Sometimes a vent is installed wrong (like under an eave) or you are getting a strong down draft. Make sure your vent cap is still attached on top of your vent too. Strong winds can blow out the pilot flame.

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These are just a few ideas to help you figure out your common lighting issues. There are other issues that I did not cover, which may require a repairman. I hope you find these useful. If you still have concerns, please ask away! That's why we are here! Douglas

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