Question about Reliance & Pilot Assembly for Natural Gas Water Heater

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Pilot keeps going out after it cycles a few times

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Hot water heaters that have problems with pilot lights going out are usually fixed by adjusting or replacing the thermocouple. The thermocouple is the brass tube that is in or near the flame of the pilot light. The thermocouple acts as a valve to allow the gas to flow to the pilot light. If the thermocouple begins to go bad, it may shut the gas flow off to the pilot light. There could be other gas supply issues, but this is about the least expensive first step for the home owner. REMEMBER, you are working with gas. Take your time and be safe or have a professional replace the thermocouple.

Posted on Sep 16, 2010

  • pwillitz Sep 23, 2010

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Why does my water heat keeps going out if a put a new thermo coupler


That guy at home depot was not completely correct. If the pilot is not keeping the thermocouple warm, the pilot will not stay lit. Figure out why the cycle is being broken or call in a service tech to fix the unit. water heater
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I have a Rheem Power Vent propane water heater model3 21VP4OE-1P that is acting up. The pilot lights and then the burner lights, but goes off after 5 - 10 seconds. It cycles like this 2 or 3 times, then...


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Why does the pilot light keep going out?


Make sure your pilot flame is hitting the thermocoupler. If not then use air to clean pilot port and try again.

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Pilot light keeps going out


Either the pilot light orfice is dirty, and you will need to pull it out and clean it, or the thermocouple is bad. If the pilot goes out as soon as you let the button go then it is most likely the thermocouple. If the pilot stays lit for a few days or hours then you will need to clean the pilot orfice, heres how:
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Probably a bad solenoid in the gas valve. Higher voltage of a new thermocouple keeps it open longer but it still fails over a period of time. Look into a new gas valve for the water heater.

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Pilot goes out after heat cycle, relight and it stays burning untill next heat cyle has run.


This sounds like a dirty pilot jet orifice or a weak thermocouple. The pilot orifice can carbon up (natural gas is a fossil fuel), become weak and keep going out whenever the main burner lights, which causes a pressure drop in the gas line. The thermocouple can also become dirty and not sense properly.

The pilot light assembly should be cleaned. The gas must be turned off and it's best if the pilot assembly can be removed. Automotive carb cleaner can be used to clean the orifice. Do not try to insert any object into the pilot orifice valve as this can result in damage.

If cleaning does not resolve the problem, replace the thermocouple first. Make sure it is installed correctly and is squarely in the pilot flame.

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