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Do you have an electrical meter that measures millivolts?This sounds like a millivolt system. The pilot orfice and pilot burner need to be clean so they are producing a hot flame, hitting the pilot generator to create enough millivoltage to open the main valve coil. If you know how to jumper the thermostat circuit try it, Millivolt systems will give you problems if there are loose connections or to much resistance through a switch. Again, there could be some type of safety switch that is wired into the thermostat circuit to prevent the heater from coming on if it isn't safe. Call a pro if its not obvious
My recommendation is that you will have to measure the millivolts created by the flame on the thermocouple, under most circumstance the pilot will not stay on if it doesn't stay greater than about 20mv if it does reach or exceed 20mv then the gas valve that recieves the mv has an internal componant that is out and should be replaced (never repair the gas valve). Hope that helps!
The reason the control valve is opening slowly is the the Thermopile needs to be replaced. The Thermopile generates millivolts of electricity from the heat of the pilot flame, which then opens the gas valve when heat is called for. Also, check the pilot flame to make sure it's engulfing the thermopile. If it's not the pilot needs to be cleaned.
The Empire Comfort Systems, Thermopile part number is 672063
If I can be of further help, please let me know through the leave a comment link.
It could be several things: Is the Control Knob turned from Pilot to ON? If that is the case, wait a few minutes after turning it to ON. That will allow the Thermopile to heat up sufficiently. Be sure the flame is touching the Thermopile. If everything looks correct turn up your Thermostat to higher than the ambient room temperature and see if the burners light. Remember to turn your Wall Thermostat down to the lowest temperature setting before turning the knob from Pilot to ON.
FYI - That Wall Furnace does not have a Thermocouple. It uses a Thermopile instead to generate millivolts of electricity to open the gas valve and maintain the pilot flame.
If it is the Thermopile, you can order it directly from Empire Comfort Systems, as well as download your Owners Manual at www.empirecomfort.com