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The pilot will not stay lit. Same problem as described by ajith_senasi Jan 21, 2011. Can I fix it myself?

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  • marfin Mar 12, 2011

    It is a Vulcan Freeloader 260 gas water heater. Not sure how old but I would say about 10 years or so. The pilot will not stay lit no matter how long you hold the button down. Thanks.

  • marfin Mar 12, 2011

    Thank you for your detailed response. I will try to have a close look at it although it's difficult to see anything down there. It sounds a bit complicated to remove the thermocouple. Thanks again.

  • marfin Mar 12, 2011

    Thanks Helpmech! So much I didn't know. It looks a bit complicated to remove the thermocouple. I don't really know where to start to dismantle it. The flame is yellow and as you say, lazy, but it is actually very difficult to see right in there. I think it looks like a very expensive job. Thanks again. Marfin...

  • marfin Mar 12, 2011

    Dear Helpmech, is it possible for an uninitiated plumber such as myself to fix?

  • marfin Mar 12, 2011

    Yes thank you, the advice was very helpful in explaining the reason for the problem. I now understand why the pilot continually goes out. It is a very difficult problem to fix without going to the great expense of calling a plumber. I'm wondering if I could do it with clear instructions.Is it possible? Marfin

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Please give more details,the model number and brand of the unit and how old the init is. Probably have a problem with the thermocouple or an adjustment needs to be made to the pilot. If thermocouple is faulty it has to be replaced.------------- Keep updated,Thanks.Helpmech.

Posted on Mar 12, 2011

  • raj somaiya Mar 12, 2011

    Do you hear gas when holding down the pilot light button.If no then gas valve needs to be checked.or gas flow needs to be checked.Either the gas flow is low or gas is leaking or the gas valve is turned to off.----------

    The pilot assembly is stopped up. It will need to be taken apart, blown out or cleaned and re-intalled. The yellow, lazy flame is preventing the thermocouple from getting warm enough to allow the main burner to ignite. ------------
    check to see if your pilot light is hitting the thermal couple. thermal couple is the little rod type thing above the pilot light. if your pilot light is not burning properly [crisp blue flame] it will not heat the thermal couple properly. if all this looks good try loosening and retightening the thermal couple at the bottom of gas valve. you may have to have the thermal couple replaced. very unlikely the gas valve is bad.
    Clean the pilot assembly if has any orange at the tip. If its burning clean and blue, then its most likely the thermocouple. The thermocouple is a safety device that turns off the gas if there is no pilot light. If you look closely at the burning pilot light, there is a small metal tube that sits directly in the flame, with wires that lead back to the gas valve. The thermocouple generates a small amount of electrical current when heated by the flame. This current keeps the gas safety valve open. If the pilot light gets blown out, the current stops and the gas valve closes. When you light the pilot light, you hold down the over-ride button for about 30 seconds. This allows the gas to flow long enough to heat up the thermocouple and generate current and then you can release the over-ride button and gas will continue to flow. If the thermocouple is defective, then as soon as you release the over-ride button, since there is no electrical current, the gas will stop flowing and the pilot light will go out.
    This is a pretty common failure on water heaters and furnaces.The thermocouple needs to be replaced.-------------This should help.Thanks.Helpmech.

  • raj somaiya Mar 12, 2011

    Keep updated with the results and details.Thanks.Helpmech.

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