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Do I need to replace the thermocoupling on my Reliance 501 gas water heater? Model is 5 30 NOMT7 C. Recently, I've noticed an intermittent problem with the the hot water not staying consistent. So we're not running out of hot water just yet, but during showers it goes from hot to cold a couple of times. The tank is drained about twice a year. Earlier I turned the knob from Hot to C level Hot and the noticed the burner flame (not sure that's what it's called) stayed on (the pilot is working fine).

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The thermocouple is a safety for the gas valve. It tells it the pilot light is lit. If your pilot light is not going out and the burner fires when you turn up the thermostat, it is all working as it should. In other words, if you don't need to re-light the pilot, your thermocouple is OK. Turning up the temperature of the water is a good idea, just be careful not to burn anyone with the hotter water. You mite want to try a water saver shower head. Some don't throw enough water to get the soap off, but I bought one that can be turned to adjust flow and we have been happy with it. If I missed what you need from this, please let me know. Roger

Posted on Apr 10, 2011

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1 Answer

501


1) Copy following link to replace thermocouple, and general troubleshoot by type of gas control valve.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermocouple.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-gas-water-heater.html#intellivent

2) Reliance gas water heater is same as AO-Smith/ American/ Craftmaster/ State etc.
Air intake is located on bottom of tank.
Use compressed air or feather duster and clean air intake before replacing parts etc.
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Find-Age-of-water-heater.pdf

3) Add a comment Dec 2012 with more detail, or for followup help as needed.

Dec 13, 2012 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

I have a Reliance gas 501 water heater model #5 40 PORT980. Yesterday, we had no warm water. I looked and the pilot lit was lit. I turned the temperature knob to very not and it lit the


Reliance
2nd and 3rd digit of serial number is year
C05 is 2005

What color is flame? Should be clear blue.
Pilot is burning so thermocouple is good, and sitting in pilot flame.
Pilot flame should be clear blue.
Otherwise clean burner parts.

Is water at tank hot??
If burner is not turning on, the gas control thermostat is probably bad.
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/How-to-replace-water-heater-gas-valve.pdf

Otherwise more information is needed.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-gas-water-heater.html

Sep 19, 2012 | Reliance Water Heaters

1 Answer

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.

Aug 20, 2012 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

Our 40 Gallon Reliance 501 gas water heater stays lit for about 10 minutes and then goes out. Any idea what would cause this or how to fix it?


Many problems are solved by replacing thermocouple, but usually pilot will not light if thermocouple is bad. And some Reliance water heaters, the thermocouple is grouped with TCO and not generic part from hardware store.
If the combustion chamber is sealed with gasket, you might need spare gasket on hand before taking out the burner assembly to replace thermocouple.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0aBPsNg6vo

Gas water heaters can malfunction for many reasons.
Service tech is best resource unless you have manual and can take time learning parts and how to replace.

Gas water heaters require periodic cleaning of combustion parts and tubes.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html#troubleshoot

Other ez problems include:
Gas shut off valve not fully open and handle is not parallel with gas line, so gas is partially shut off
If water heater flooded, then replace heater.
Excess water vapor from bad venting rusted out the burner parts. Inspect burner for rust.
Not enough combustion air, for example the house was recently weather-tightened, or a louvered door replaced with solid door. Or air intake screen located on bottom of heater is clogged with lint or dust.
Very hot attic can cause pilot to go out.

Trace amounts of pool chemical, laundry chemical, process chemicals, wax, etc can cause damage to burner parts.
Low gas pressure can cause problem.
Air in the gas line.

Bad gas control valve.
If ECO was tripped, there should be no gas to pilot.
Gas control valve might have debris or water from gas line.

If FVIR event tripped FV sensor, that would explain problem, and you would need service technician.

If repairs cost more than $330, then buy and install new water heater yourself, same day.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html

Upvote the help.
And take advantage of fixya expert assistance live.
For a price, expert works with you while you work on water heater or any do-it-yourself project.
Fixya is always less expensive than a service call.

May 24, 2011 | RELIANCE ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

1 Answer

How can I find out what the Energy Rating is on my Reliance 501 w/h?


Reliance is AO Smith company.
http://www.reliancewaterheaters.com/prod/gas.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Water-heater-manufacturers.html

1) Reliance does not post the 501 manual any more and I've written and asked for that manual, and they sent generic manual. Model 501 is both gas and electric.

2) That tells me the old energy factor is probably lower than .54 approximately, but it will be even less because energy factors are for new water heaters in perfect operating order under ideal conditions.

3) Energy factor is a measure of how efficiently the water heater turns energy BTUs into hot water.
Gas water heaters have higher energy factor because gas burner has more BTU punch than electric element, and can heat water faster.

4) However, energy factor is not measure of actual cost. It is merely a way to compare giant water heaters with smaller heaters, and gas with electric, without considering cost of heater, installation cost, repair costs, parts costs, life expectation of unit, disposal/recycling cost, or replacement cost.

5) You can improve your true energy factor by buying small cheap heater and maintaining it yourself so it lasts many years beyond manufacturer's warranty.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Replace-anode-rod.html

6) If someone buys a bigger water heater because it has better energy factor, it will not pay back the higher purchase cost. Same size to same size, the difference with higher energy factor is a few dollars per year.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html

7) If you have sediment inside of tank, the energy factor is out the window.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Clean-sediment-out-of-water-heater.html

Add a comment for more free help.
Also take advantage of fixya expert assistance live.
For a price, expert works with you while you work on water heater or any do-it-yourself project.
Fixya is always less expensive than a service call.

May 02, 2011 | Reliance Water Heaters

1 Answer

The pilot light went out on our Reliance 501 water heater.....no hot water. We replaced the thermol coupler (sp) and re llit the pilot. We got some hot water, but only one tank ful. We then replaaced...


The paid answerers might have a specialist in your model of water heater.
As a free answerer, I specialize in providing resources that might help you for free.
When you say the gas control pieces, I assume you mean you replaced your entire gas valve with a generic dial-type gas valve.
You replaced thermocouple, but you did not replace burner assembly that includes the pilot tube.
Your other gas appliances are working fine.
You have not installed a new gas furnace with a blower that is vented up the same chimney as the water heater.
You have put your hand near the vent hood to see if there is backflow coming into the water heater when the furnace turns on.
You have removed the vent hood to give you access to the vent pipe, and you lit a match and the smoke from that match drafted upwards. You have done the lighted-match test when the furnace turns on which reveals the general condition of the venting stack.
You have checked your outdoor vent stack to make sure there is no obstruction, or the vent hood is not missing.
The burner flame on the water heater is a clear blue color with very little yellow. This shows the quality of the combustion air and reveals if amount of gas flowing to burner is restricted.

http://www.thetankatwaterheaterrescue.com/forums/forum3/

http://www.reliancewaterheaters.com/prod/gas.html
Reliance is an AO Smith company
The site doesn't have a manual for the 501
I e-mailed Reliance several weeks ago asking for a 501 manual.
They send a generic gas water heater manual with no troubleshooting

http://www.reliancewaterheaters.com/lit/om/g616.html
Link above shows a typical Reliant heater, the 616
Age of your water heater can be seen on serial number.
The two numbers following first letter are the year water heater was made.

http://www.reliancewaterheaters.com/lit/om/manuals/186486-002.pdf
Troubleshooting begins on pg 29
Troubleshoot flowchart begins on page 31
The new gas water heaters have the FVIR system so troubleshooting includes that information.
I don't think the 501 would have a FVIR flammable vapor prevention because it is older
The new systems have an igniter
The troubleshoot flowchart gives valuable information

Oct 29, 2010 | Reliance Water Heaters

1 Answer

Model #606 640nort Reliance 30gal gas water heater


this is either the thermocouple lead or the uni control i would replace the thermocouple leed first, these parts can't be repaired they have to be replaced

Jul 13, 2010 | Reliance & 30 Gal LP Gas Water Heater

1 Answer

I have a reliance 501 water heater, the pilot light won't light. What do i do?


It would be my guess without seeing it, that you are not holding the gas button down for the pilot light to start or are releasing it too soon for the thermocouple to heat up enough to allow the passage of gas or the thermocouple itself has become defective.

May 18, 2010 | Water Heaters

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