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Thread: Water heater, different problem.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member plasticuser's Avatar
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    Default Water heater, different problem.

    This 18 month old Whirlpool gas heater pilot light stays lit. When the main burner comes on, after two seconds, it clicks and shuts off all gas. I can immediately relight the pilot and the thermocouple lets it stay lit.

    Watching it light, the main burner doesn't blow out the pilot, so I'm confused as to what's happening.

    The bottom screen is clear, and the burner and pilot are clean.

    What's next?

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Is the water heater located in an attic, or some other extremely hot location?

    Wherever it is, is there an adequate supply of fresh air into that space?

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Too bad your didn't subscribe to this forum before you got the Whirlpool. There seems to be many major problems with them. You might want to go to the "sticky" at the top of this sections of the forum and read over the numerous complaints and perhaps find a solution to your specific problem.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member plasticuser's Avatar
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    I read the sticky and didn't find my specific problem covered.

    The previous owner installed the heater right before I purchased the house, and Whirlpool say "the warranty isn't transferable" *grumble*

    The heater is in the garage, which is shaded and not overly hot. It has been maintained properly and is clean and clear of obstructions. It is not in a closet or restricted space.

    I have found that touching the thermocouple lead changes the behavior, and letting go restores it. Tomorrow morning, I will replace it and report back.

  5. #5
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Sometimes the "filter" needs cleaning under the water heater.

    1. The AIR INTAKE screen is small, and over time can clog with lint, dust, and hair.
    You must clean the lint off from the bottom of the unit and from inside the heat chamber every 3 months or it will not get enough air to operate correctly.

    Last edited by Terry; 08-13-2010 at 10:54 AM.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member plasticuser's Avatar
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    And here's what it was...

    During construction next door, they had dumped a pile of concrete rubble that had pressed against our wall. It had crushed the gas line after the meter, almost completely flat. There was enough flow to maintain pressure to keep the pilot lit, but when the main burner tried to light, gas pressure would drop too low and it would shut off.

    Obviously, this was a narrowly avoided disaster

    The utility has replaced the line and billed the neighbor with their consent.

    I hope this is useful info...

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    A gas flow problem was the first thing I considered when I read your problem, but it is usually difficult for anything to cause a reduction in flow, so we could not have told you what to look for.

    1. What kind of pipe was it that it could even be flattened out?
    2. The heater was probably NOT registered when it was installed, and even if it were the company would normally NOT check anything except the serial number to verify the warranty. So, you should be warranteed if the heater starts leaking during the first six years. Sears, however, does register their heaters and WILL NOT transfer it, which is why I NEVER recommend Sears water heaters.

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