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I have a Kenmore Econominder water heater. Model 153-332040 40 gal natural gas/direct vent WH. The last several days it starts up and runs for about 10 seconds 1-2 times before it stays on and heats up properly. I appreciate the help, RJ

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  • RJ H2O
    RJ H2O May 29, 2011

    Back up and running. Code showed pressure switch problem. Unplugged WH, Turned off gas. Air intake for burner was partially plugged. Vacuumed it out and blew all debris out. Burner was partially plugged with soot causing too much back pressure on gas valve. Consequently the gas valve would stay on too long and trip safety override. Completely cleaned, vacuumed, blew out out burner assembly. Fired it back up and it works like new.
    Why do these things always happen on holiday weekends?
    That cold water shower this morning was a brutal wake up.



1 Answer

Water heater burner assembly and combustion chamber probably needs clean and maintenance.
I suggest calling sears service 1-800 469-4663 or plumber.

I'm on Sears/ American/ Rheem/ Reliance etc gas water heater websites most days, and read gas water heater manuals continually.

Most people don't fix air conditioning without knowledge going in, but people think water heaters are simpler, because water heaters were simpler a few years ago.
Today, gas water heaters require testing equipment, and specialized tools, plus replacement parts.

Possible problems include: Improper fuel-air mixture, dirty air intake, venting problems, gas control valve problems, air in gas line, low gas pressure, dirty combustion parts, Water condensate dripping on burner, chemicals stored inside same room. Service technician will review all these things during troubleshoot, and you can watch technician and glean information for keeping water heater working longer than warranty.

If repairs are going to cost more than $400, then install new gas water heater yourself same day:

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.

Posted on May 24, 2011

  • RJ H2O
    RJ H2O May 24, 2011

    I read where if the polarity is reversed this can cause an issue also. I changed to a different outlet, it still short cycles for about 5-10 seconds, but only 1 time before it stays on. The water is now hot. When I checked the controls, I thought this was peculiar, the control settings were at the temperature I had set but the vacation setting / light was also on and no hot water. After I moved the plug I reset the settings and the unit fired up but is short cycling as stated here. Can high humidity cause this problem, affecting the burner? My chimney footing has been wicking up water ( which is next to the water heater, very high water table this spring and NO the water is not coming from the WH) and I have had some standing water by the WH. I fired up the dehumidifier this week.
    Thank you,

  • Anonymous May 24, 2011

    (1) Well RJ. Change the vote to 4 thumbs, and we'll call it square (2) Clean the burner assembly and combustion chamber which includes visible check for condensate problem, which can be related to humidity, and can clog incoming air (3) call technician unless you know how to clean burner and combustion chamber and do the required yearly maintenance. (4) If you heard that reversed polarity was an issue, then use cheap circuit analyzer from home center to check outlet. (5) if repairs are going to cost more than $400, then install new heater (6) They sell electric water heaters for $207 that require no maintenance except flushing each year. (7) gas water heaters require yearly maintenance, so clean the burner and combustion chamber.



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