It's most likely the thermocoupler. Easy to change.
I believe the water heater we have was installed in Oct 2000. I'm not completely sure since we are not the original owner. For the last 2 years the water heater worked just fine. In the last month or so the pilot light went out 3 times. This last time it was very difficult to light up.
Any one have any ideas what may be wrong? If so, any cost estimates? Or would it be better to get a new water heater.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
It's most likely the thermocoupler. Easy to change.
Thanks for the response Gary! Appreciate all the helpful members here on this forum.
Just a follow-up. I contacted Reliance today and found out my water heater is still under warranty. They looked it up by serial number. They will be sending me a thermocouple in the mail at no charge. Reliance has proven to be OK in my book. Also, I got some additional tips from their website regarding my issue. Hopefully it will help others in the future. See below.
Pilot outages may be caused by many different conditions. The following are some of those conditions:
* Lack of replacement combustion air from the outside. All gas water heaters (except direct-vented units) need replacement air from the outside through the room it is installed in. Large rooms or large basements do not supply replacement air for a heater to operate correctly. You will need to have louvered access to the outside that will supply approximately 1.7 square inches of air for every 1000 BTUs of heater input.
* A failing thermocouple can cause the pilot to go out or to not maintain the pilot open.
* Low incoming gas pressure can create pilot outages. The min. supply gas pressure coming to the heater on current models is 4.5 inches wc for natural gas and 11.0 inches wc for propane (refer to the label on your gas control valve for minimum and maximum for your heater).
* Defective gas valve thermostat can cause pilot outages.
* Condensation during the combustion cycle can "knock" the pilot out or corrode the thermocouple to the point it will not function properly.
* Improper venting will cause pilot outages and CO spillage into the room.
* Blocked air intakes on the bottom of the heater.
* Missing combustion doors or improperly installed door seals.
* Vent termination improper
if you can re light the unit and it stays lit for awhile,
days or weeks, odds are
then its not just the thermocoupling, its the high limit circuit buried in
the actual dial or gas controll valve,,,, the heat sensor is getting weak
and is reading the wrong temp in the water......and every so
often it thinks its too hot and just clicks off.......
and the circle begins again...
you cant repair them so you should call back to those people and tell
them you already changed the thermocoupling and what you really
need is the whole gas controll sent to you...
.they are worth about 60 bucks.
they will let you do this little dance in the hopes that it takes care
of the problem and they dont have to shell out a controll......
but odds are you will be doing the whole change out...
then its a matter of shutting off the water , and changeing out that
pull out the burner assembly and clean it off too while you are at it.
also , could you post the link to the reliance web site please???
Last edited by master plumber mark; 10-08-2005 at 05:44 AM.
The thermstat "high limit" is not only not replaceable, but it is not resettable, (it is a "one time" device), so if that was the problem, the pilot would not relight and stay on until the thermostat was replaced..
MPM- Thanks for the additional words of advice regarding the control valve. Is changing the control valve pretty straightforward for the average do it yourselfer?
Here's the link for the Reliance FAQ page where I found this info:
HJ- Thanks the info too. You got me wondering now. I am able to relight pilot so maybe the "high limit" themostat on my control valve is not the problem.
we run into this all the time
peolel calll me and tell me that they are constantly
having to re-light the water heater....
then you change the thermocoupoling only to have the same problem
again and agiain then you go back out and change the t-stat
and the problem is solved....
I dont know for sure how it all comes about ,
either it a defective sensor in the t-stat or the
high limit in the t-stat....
basically you got to change that square box at the bottom of the
water heater with the
dial thingy on it ---
wether its the heat sensor or the high limit
switch, I dont know wether they die out all at once or
seem to linger for a while
we see both happen
Just change the thermocouple. Takes 5min and costs about $5 and go from there......
The story continues.... The good news is that the TC came very quickly from Reliance and I attempted to fix the water heater. The bad news is that I am still having difficulty keeping the pilot lit. Looks like you may have called it Mark. I'll be calling Reliance tomorrow to get that control valve/thermostat sent to me.
I have the same problem with my Reliance 606 heater. Have been fighting it for several weeks now. I have replaced the pilot/thermocoupler kit and controller sent by Reliance. My heater will go through a heat cycle and knock the pilot out when it shuts off. I also notice that whenit cuts off the orfice burns yellow like a match for a second. The heater pilot will not relight until the heater cools doen a little bit. Sounds like this high limit circuit but it is a new control dial? They sare trying to tell me that I don't have enough air flow around the heater. This heater has ran there for 3 years and the one before that ran there for 10 years and 8 years in a smaller area. This one is in a wash room that is 6' x 12' I am stumped.
There is more to a thermocouple than just heating it. If the flame is applied to the wrong area of the thermocouple or it gets too hot, it will shut down the burner, just as if the pilot went out. And if the pilot goes out when the burner shuts down, that is a different problem and not a thermocouple one.
My pilot went out and wouldn't stay lit on my Reliance 606. I did a search and landed here where the advice was to replace the thermocuple and go from there. It turns out thats all it was. Everythings working fine now. Thanks for everyone's time and especially you Terry for making this forum available to us DIY'ers.
I was having the classic problem with my Reliance 606 of the pilot light not staying lit. I was following all the diagnostic procedures that Reliance gave me with the hope I'd get some free (warranty) parts out of them. I got to the point where they wanted me to test the millivolt output of the thermocouple. The thermocouple tested good but I noticed I really had to dig the meter probe hard into the end of thermocouple to get a reading. The pilot light still wouldn't stay lit. I took the connector out of the valve body one more time and cleaned some dark oxidation of the end where it makes electrical contact. NOW the pilot stays lit ! So far, so good. Hope this helps.
Last edited by badley; 12-10-2011 at 12:14 PM. Reason: typo
I was trying to figure out how a cheapo water heater from 2000 was still on warranty...unitl I noticed the original OP was almost 7 years ago!
I can understand them sending a thermocouple, but would they send a gas valve to a homeowner?????