Question about Reliance & 50gal Electric Water Heater

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Pilot won't stay lit in Reliance 606 gas water heater

We have a reliance 606 series gas water heater. In the past few days, we can't keep the pilot light lit. Sometimes it will light & stay on for a few minutes, but then kicks right back off. Other times, the pilot won't even light. Could someone tell me what the problem might be? Thanks!

Posted by fairydustsll on

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The Reliance 606 has an enclosed thermal couple. Before you try taking that assembly apart take a wire brush to the bottom opening directly under the burner. There is a metal filter on the very bottom of the water heater. It could be that the filter has gotten filled with dust or animal hair. It took a serviceman 2 days to figure this out for me. The water heater has to have good airflow through that filter to work well.

Posted on Sep 29, 2010

  • orbegoso Aug 15, 2011

    After I couldn't get the company to respond to my letters, emails or phone calls, I filed a complaint with the Tennessee Better Business Bureau. After that the company was really nice, talked me through a couple different things, and I ended up replacing the pilot assembly by myself. Super easy. They mailed it to me free of charge and free shipping! By the way, I am NOT a handy man.

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You can't buy the thermocouple seperate, it must be bought as part of the pilot tube assembly. Reliance 606 thermocouple has a "switch" resistor in the middle of the tube. Good luck trying to find parts. Worst waterheater I've ever owned or dealt with in 48 years!

Posted on Sep 03, 2010

  • Lorichacon Sep 07, 2010

    I agree, it is the worst. Had it under a year and it gave me trouble, not to mention the customer service was horrible. They finally sent someone over to fix it. But now six months later I have no hot water, again.

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THe problem is the thermocouple. This part tells the gas valve that the pilot is lit and is OK to open. Go to your home store and grab a new one, easy to install and cost is about 10 (ish) bucks. The thermocouple is copper tubing going from the valve to the burner. Good luck!

Posted on Feb 14, 2010

  • betty_har Jan 07, 2011

    Just got a new thermocouple and it wont stay on

  • atxmatt2510 Nov 09, 2018

    This unit's thermocouple is part of the pilot assembly and has to be purchased as a whole. I imagine you might be able to snap the old one out and drill a hole but it's not easy to do without damaging either the pilot light or gas tubing.

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What pilot light assy. do I need to buy for model# 640y0rt4, water heater ??? please wont stay lit


check that the flame sensor is clean. It would be a stiff piece of wire that would sit right over where the pilot lite is. If it is dirty...it wont sense if there is a flame....and if it dosnt sense a flame....it wont let the pilot lite to turn on.

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Reliance 606 propane pilot won't stay on when i begin to turn on.its like ite not getting the message or signal,HELP PLEASE


1) Reliance is AO Smith-American, and air intake screen located on bottom of water heater. Clean air intake. Replace thermocouple. First two digits of serial number are year of manufacture.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-gas-water-heater.html#intellivent
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermocouple.html

2) Add comment and say what you tried so far.
Include age of water heater.

If you need further help, I’m available over the phone at https://www.6ya.com/expert/gene_9f0ef4df2f9897e7

Jan 05, 2013 | Reliance & LP Gas Water Heater Control

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Reliance 606 Hot water Heating element (Pilot light) won't stay lit


Gas water heaters don't have elements, so I am confused about what type water heater you have..
Look on the side of tank for the label.
Find the brand, and type. Does it show BTUs? Or does it show wattage?
Then re-post question with this information, for best possible answer.
Also post question on Tank forum.
http://www.thetankatwaterheaterrescue.com/forums/forum3/

If you need further help, I’m available over the phone at https://www.6ya.com/expert/gene_9f0ef4df2f9897e7

Aug 12, 2012 | Water Heaters

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Reliance 606 natural gas water heater - model #640YORT - water does not stay hot. pilot has to be clicked to heat and then u can use hot water til tank empty and it will not continue to heat water.


If I understand correctly, the pilot light is not staying lit.
You light the pilot and water in the tank reaches temperature.
Once hot water is gone, then pilot light has to be lit again.

Gas pressure is good, and gas is flowing.
Thermostat is working at high end because it cuts off heating.
Vent is working because tank heats up.
Air intake is working.

Gas control thermostat might not be reading low temperature. Replace gas control valve.
Pilot tube might be dirty. Clean burner parts and combustion chamber, and air intake, and vent.
Backdraft might be blowing out pilot. Check for constant updraft by running water heater 5 minutes, and then light match under vent hood and see if smoke goes up.
Very hot air can put out pilot, especially when water heater located in attic. Add ventilation.
Improper vent might have water dripping back down into combustion chamber and putting out pilot light and rusting out the parts. Inspect for rusted parts and water.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html#troubleshoot
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Pilot-light-will-not-stay-lit.pdf

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