hot water heater question

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zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
My hot water heater stopped working. I was following instructions to see if I can reignite the pilot light. There is a small dark piece of glass I am supposed to look through. I am not seeing anything sort of light back there when I try and relight the pilot. Any idea what I should be seeing and how bright and big the pilot light should be?

I read some stuff about thermocouples going bad too but thats kinda dependant on if I can getting the pilot flame going in the first place.


tjhnx...Z
 

dlrion

New User
Dan
I don't know if you read popular mechanics or not, but they had a question similiar to this in this months issue.... can't find it online, the Homeowner Clinic For July. They say there are several reasons why it wouldn't light other than a thermocoupler.... drafts, improper ventilation, leaky gas...

I can't remember most of it, but it may be worth 3 bucks at the newsstand.

Dan
 
T

toolferone

The flame would be like a Bic lighter on the low setting. Sorry, that is all I know.

Now for the fun. I was told by a wise old man once that it is not a "hot" water heater, but a water heater. We are not heatimg water that is hot. :gar-La;:gar-La;
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
hehe, ok, thanks for the tip, ill check out the magazine tomorrow on whats wrong with my hot water maker :mrgreen:
 

sushinutnc

New User
Mike
Steve... your system should be similar to this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyPd5_ShOto

The ones with the sight glass can be a little annoying (like you've discovered), if you've never seen what it looks like when it IS on. Since everything is closed off in there, it'll be totally dark. The pilot light, when lit, will be OBVIOUS though. Smooth blue flame.

I'm in Holly Springs, too, and replaced my water heater last fall myself. I'm by no means a plumber, but if you're interested in some help, I'd be more than happy to assist... just shoot me a PM.
 

RandyJ

Randy
Corporate Member
In order to see my pilot light I have to actually put my head closer to the floor and look through the glass and UP as if I'm trying to see inside the top of the heater. If I just look straight in the glass I can't see the flame.

Good luck,
 

NCTurner

Gary
Corporate Member
The flame would be like a Bic lighter on the low setting. Sorry, that is all I know.

Now for the fun. I was told by a wise old man once that it is not a "hot" water heater, but a water heater. We are not heatimg water that is hot. :gar-La;:gar-La;
Must be talking to Good ole Bruce again...
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
woot, got it relit. the tip about looking up and the video helped me. The pilot was so dim, I could barely see it, even after I blacked out my garage, it was pretty far in the back and a very thin line. To double check I did what the guy did and turned it from pilot to on and a few secs later I heard the woosh of the gas catching.

guess tomorrow if it goes out again, it will mean a bad thermocouple
 

aplpickr

New User
Bill
A bad thermocouple will not prevent the pilot burner from lighting. It will keep the pilot burner and then the main burner from staying lit. The thermocouple when hot(it will get "red" hot) generates 30 millivolts. This current energizes a magnet coil that allows the gas to continue to flow. Poor gas pressure, dirty pilot burner, kinked 1/4" aluminum gas tube to pilot burner, funky draft problems, or a stopped up pilot orifice can reduce the size of the pilot flame so that it does not heat the thermocouple properly. A sudden down gust of wind can also blow it out. After at least three years of CONTINUOUS heating the end of the thermocouple burns off, killing it. The end should be a smooth round, similar to the tip of a smaller diameter than a .22 bullet. Thermocouple is 1/8" diameter copper tube that screws into gas valve with an aluminum hex nut. The current flows with an insulated core wire and the outside tube as a ground.

To light: light pilot burner while holding down valve knob, wait 30 seconds for T/C to heat, release knob, if flame stays lit, turn to main. A rolled up piece of paper can be used to reach back into heater to light the burner. Usually a thermocouple stays bad, if it was bad, you should not have gotten it lit. Probably a gust from a thunderstorm.
 
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