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Hot water heater issue- pilot won't light

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  • Aug 18th, 2021 6:33 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2004
1042 posts
106 upvotes

Hot water heater issue- pilot won't light

Hi all.

Apologize if there is a more appropriate forum or subforum..can't seem to find it.

Issue
10 year old water heater was having issues with the pilot light not staying lit. So we called a plumber and he replaced the thermocouple.

Fast forward 8 months later and again the pilot blew out.

Trying ignited it...but it was hard to even get it lit. When it did light it wouldn't stay lit for long or it would immediately go out when you went from pilot to ON.

So today I replaced the thermocouple myself.

It still won't light. I.e. I can't even get a flame going when on Pilot. We can see the spark.

Thoughts ?
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14 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 19, 2020
1048 posts
668 upvotes
GTA
It most likely has a plugged pilot orifice, causing the flame to be too small to sufficiently heat the thermocouple.

After the pilot hasn't been on for a few hours, the first attempt may fail even with no problem due to the pilot line being full of air. It has to be purged out by the gas first, and that can take over 10 seconds.

If you smell gas after an attempt, please allow 5 minutes for it to clear from the burner area before trying again so you don't get a small boom.
Hvac advice warning - inaccurate information on forum, vested interests in selling builder's equipment. Selling dealer-only brands without being authorized is a red flag. Report to CRA if offered no tax cash-deal. If it's 2 good to b tru, it is.
Deal Addict
Jun 16, 2009
3788 posts
2325 upvotes
Woodbridge
Make sure that the air intake is not blocked / clogged by dirt, lint etc. The new water heaters ( with sealed combustion) won't light if air intake is not enough.
If you are handy enough than take out the full burner assembly again ( I am sure you did it already as you have replaced the thermocouple ) and tap it gently with screwdriver or something similar. Blow in the big tube as hard as possible and put everything back.
Check the draft is proper ( match test) and than relight it.
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2004
1042 posts
106 upvotes
Okay thanks for advice !

I'll remove it all again and make sure it's all clear.

Beyond that I fear it's a gas valve issue.
*********************************
Deal Addict
Jun 16, 2009
3788 posts
2325 upvotes
Woodbridge
You can easily determine that. Though it’s unlikely because still many steps are pending before you reach to conclusion.
Morphius909 wrote: Okay thanks for advice !

I'll remove it all again and make sure it's all clear.

Beyond that I fear it's a gas valve issue.
HVAC Pro-Committed to customer, not brand. Past RFD Reviews
2022 Central Air Conditioner & Furnace Group Buy
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2004
1042 posts
106 upvotes
Checked pilot tube. All clean
Double checked all connections.
Still won't even light. I can see the spark but that's it.

Beyond me at this point. Calling a plumber.
*********************************
Deal Addict
Jun 16, 2009
3788 posts
2325 upvotes
Woodbridge
Not sure why to call a plumber. Here in GTA people call gas tech when having an issue with water heaters.
Morphius909 wrote: Checked pilot tube. All clean
Double checked all connections.
Still won't even light. I can see the spark but that's it.

Beyond me at this point. Calling a plumber.
HVAC Pro-Committed to customer, not brand. Past RFD Reviews
2022 Central Air Conditioner & Furnace Group Buy
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2004
1042 posts
106 upvotes
In Alberta we have heat/plumbing companies.

Sorry I meant a water heater tech :)
*********************************
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2004
1042 posts
106 upvotes
So plumber came.

Said it's the burner assembly. But it comes as one big kit which includes the gas valve. 800 bucks to replace.

Not sure how a burner assembly would cause issues with the pilot light not turning or staying on.

Unless he meant it's the gas valve. But he was very specific about the burner assembly.

Confused.
*********************************
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2016
3426 posts
2207 upvotes
Mississauga
$800 to repair a 10 year old heater, it won't cost much more to get a new one I assume.
Deal Addict
Jun 16, 2009
3788 posts
2325 upvotes
Woodbridge
That is very odd. May be too lazy to clean it and reuse it. May be required a new assembly ( rare). Wish you were in GTA, you could have picked one from me for 5 dollors.
Need the old one to match exactly with the new one. If you have anyone here in GTA who can do it on your behalf, PM me.
My burner assemblies are out of the box so lost the part no's.

BTW for 800 or less, you may get a new tank at Homedepot / Lowes.
Morphius909 wrote: So plumber came.

Said it's the burner assembly. But it comes as one big kit which includes the gas valve. 800 bucks to replace.

Not sure how a burner assembly would cause issues with the pilot light not turning or staying on.

Unless he meant it's the gas valve. But he was very specific about the burner assembly.

Confused.
HVAC Pro-Committed to customer, not brand. Past RFD Reviews
2022 Central Air Conditioner & Furnace Group Buy
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2004
1042 posts
106 upvotes
Thanks

Yeah odd. I wasn there GF was so I got a play by play

It's 10 years old..maybe it's time to jist get a new one....

I've heard mixed feelings about HD water heaters.

We also plan on moving in together and renting out her place so it's a lot to process.
*********************************
Deal Addict
Jun 16, 2009
3788 posts
2325 upvotes
Woodbridge
See if you can get your hands on Johnwood tank. Sold to Gas techs by HVAC suppliers.
They have brass drain valve and parts availability in case of breakdown is better
Morphius909 wrote: Thanks

Yeah odd. I wasn there GF was so I got a play by play

It's 10 years old..maybe it's time to jist get a new one....

I've heard mixed feelings about HD water heaters.

We also plan on moving in together and renting out her place so it's a lot to process.
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HVAC Pro-Committed to customer, not brand. Past RFD Reviews
2022 Central Air Conditioner & Furnace Group Buy
Deal Addict
Oct 19, 2020
1048 posts
668 upvotes
GTA
Morphius909 wrote: So plumber came.

Said it's the burner assembly. But it comes as one big kit which includes the gas valve. 800 bucks to replace.

Not sure how a burner assembly would cause issues with the pilot light not turning or staying on.

Unless he meant it's the gas valve. But he was very specific about the burner assembly.

Confused.
At worst, bad gas valve, but most likely plugged pilot orifice, possible entire pilot assembly needs to be replaced.
Shouldn't need a new main burner and before gas valve is replace, need to be sure it is bad.

I don't know if the pilot assembly is available separate from burner though.

Beware of companies that inflate repair costs to get you to buy a new one.
A regular low efficiency tank water-heater is not worth putting $800 into at any age.
Hvac advice warning - inaccurate information on forum, vested interests in selling builder's equipment. Selling dealer-only brands without being authorized is a red flag. Report to CRA if offered no tax cash-deal. If it's 2 good to b tru, it is.

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