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Thread: Gas Water Heater Help Needed

  1. #1
    DIY Member Southpaw134's Avatar
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    Default Gas Water Heater Help Needed

    I had a Bradford White gas water heater installed about a year and a half ago. This morning I noticed the water was not very hot, would only get luke warm. I checked and the pilot was out, I attempted to re-light the pilot with no luck. My water heater has a electronic control, which looks just like the one below:

    http://www.bradfordwhite.com/images/...on-closeup.jpg

    The light on the control box will not light up and the pilot will not light. I had my gas company out and they couldn't get it to light either. The gas technician mentioned that he heard there have been some problems with these going bad.

    I have a few questions which I hope some here can answer.

    Are there any know problems with these units?
    Would this be something normally covered under warranty based on age (1 1/2 years old)?
    I assume the electronic controls are battery powered, and it's possible the batteries have failed. Are the batterys hard to replace (i.e - something I can and should do on my own)?
    Any other words of wisdom regarding my current situation?

    Thanks in advance for any help. I'd really like to be able to resolve this today so my family has hot water this evening. I did already place a call and leave a message for my gas contractor.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    You should have the operator manual , which would give you trouble codes, etc. I am not familiar with any water heater which uses batteries. Are you sure that there is not a low voltage connection from a wall cube? The warranty may cover parts for 6 years, but labor may only be one year. Again, check all the papers that came with it.

    Since you know the model number, you can get all the info you need on the Bradford White website.

  3. #3
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    There is no batteries. It uses a high output thermocouple. The new thermocouple generates enough current and voltage to run the electronics on the valve. Check the thermocouple is threaded in snuggly into the valve. Also check the over temperature thermal safety switch. Its like a circuit breaker, just ensure it is pressed all the way in, then try lighting the heater again. Here is a picture:



    Also it can take up to three minutes holding down the pilot light button before the led starts to blink.

  4. #4
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    I wonder if this guy eveer got his water heater to light up. Or did he break the con valve before I replied.

  5. #5
    DIY Member Southpaw134's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewerRatz View Post
    I wonder if this guy eveer got his water heater to light up. Or did he break the con valve before I replied.
    This made me laugh, I can only imagine the things you've seen homeonwers do and break. SewerRatz, I appreciate the information regarding the thermocouple

    After several hours and some presistance I was able to get the pilot to light and stay on. I didn't do anything special, just continued to attempt to get it to light. I'm not sure what the problem was, maybe an air pocket in the line? I was surprised to see the gas company tech unable to get it lit, up until that point I just assumed I was doing it wrong and maybe I was - it had never gone out before.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    As far as I am concerned that "improved" control is one of the worst ideas ever. There are FOUR components which can fail and ALL of them have the same symptoms. BW has a 5 step troubleshooting sequence to try to get the pilot to light. The parts are covered by the warranty, but the labor to get it working is not.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southpaw134 View Post
    After several hours and some persistence I was able to get the pilot to light and stay on. I didn't do anything special, just continued to attempt to get it to light. I'm not sure what the problem was, maybe an air pocket in the line? I was surprised to see the gas company tech unable to get it lit, up until that point I just assumed I was doing it wrong and maybe I was - it had never gone out before.
    Had the tech tried purging the line? I used to have that kind of trouble at a furnace at the beginning of the heating season, and the tech just opened the line and let it vent to the atmosphere for a few seconds. Too much of that can be really dangerous, but NG is lighter than air and that line would have to be open for a bit longer before enough gas for an explosion could accumulate. The same is true for LPG, but LPG is heavier than air and will settle and spread rather than "float away" like NG (unless in an enclosed space with no escape, of course).
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

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