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Old 09-05-2011, 02:57 PM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Water heater pilot takes FOREVER to light

The pilot on my water heater takes a LONG time to light if I've been away from the trailer for awhile. So far, I've either just waited what has felt like an eternity, or removed and re-installed the flexible line attached to that main burner tube to speed things up a bit. Besides just being patient or removing that flexible line, any suggestions?
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:30 PM   #2
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Couple of thoughts:

1. Don't turn the gas off on your trailer when you are not using it. If it is a leak free system, you will not lose any propane and the gas will be at the HWH just as if you were using it every day. No lectures now from those who disagree...lol. With a leak free system, there should be no issues doing this. If it is not leak free, fix it.

2. Turn your stove burner on and light it and run it for 30 seconds or so. That will get the gas at least as far as the stove. I don't know the layout of your rig, so not sure where the stove is in relationship to the HWH, but at least it will get gas there sooner.
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Old 09-05-2011, 04:07 PM   #3
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I've tried running the stove burners, but I guess the water heater sits far enough away for that to make much of a difference. That orifice in the water heater is so small that I guess it just takes forever to purge the air out.

I hadn't thought about leaving the gas on at all times. If doing this, should I close the gas shut offs just prior to the water heater and stove? I don't see why that would make any difference though.... I like this idea, but I'm wondering what the potential drawbacks might be? My system is leak free, so what are the concerns?
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:41 PM   #4
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What could be happening is that you may have a very, very small leak at the stove or some other place. They develop over a very long time with all the bouncing and rubbing. Do you have shut offs at the stove and before the furnace? We have shut offs on the pilot light for the stove and the burners. We found that our pilot shut off on the stove top had a very small leak. The main concern is that you may have a very very small leak.
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:46 PM   #5
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Normally, we leave the gas on all the time, except when stored over the winter. Haven't had any issues, except for the one Fall we had a squirrel chew through the rubber gas line between the regulator and the black iron main line. Lost all the propane that time. Other than that, never an issue at all. No propane loss, and all the appliances fire right up.

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Old 09-05-2011, 06:09 PM   #6
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Your results may vary....

Same problem with my '78 Sovereign (see signature line).

On my WH, after holding the pilot "on" and heating the safety shut off bulb for about 20 seconds I can feel the safety shut off "reset". At that point (the gas stays on without holding the pilot "on") turn the Pilot/on/off control to "On". The main burner will attempt to light and blow any entrained air until "fresh" gas from the bottles makes it back to the burner. Keep holding the lighter next to the burner to ensure the safety bulb stays hot and there is a flame to light the gas when it arrives at the burner.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:27 PM   #7
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I don't understand...what suggests that I may have a leak that is of concern? Over a period of several weeks (or in this case, 4 months since last use), should there not be oxygen in the line that needs to be purged?

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What could be happening is that you may have a very, very small leak at the stove or some other place. They develop over a very long time with all the bouncing and rubbing. Do you have shut offs at the stove and before the furnace? We have shut offs on the pilot light for the stove and the burners. We found that our pilot shut off on the stove top had a very small leak. The main concern is that you may have a very very small leak.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:28 PM   #8
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So when igniting the pilot after taking out of storage for the winter, does it take awhile for your pilot to light?

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Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Normally, we leave the gas on all the time, except when stored over the winter. Haven't had any issues, except for the one Fall we had a squirrel chew through the rubber gas line between the regulator and the black iron main line. Lost all the propane that time. Other than that, never an issue at all. No propane loss, and all the appliances fire right up.

Chris
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:38 PM   #9
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So are you saying that the thermocouple requires being kept up to temp even when the pilot is being lit? I thought that pressing down the knob for the pilot negated the thermocouple, so I haven't held a constant flame to thermocouple when lighting the pilot. I keep the pilot knob pressed down and try to light the pilot on occasion until it finally takes.

With your method of keeping the thermocouple hot to trick it to thinking there is a lit pilot, and turning the knob to the on position, is there a surge of flame when the burner ignites? I suppose not, since your lighter is simply a substitute for the pilot? So the advantage here is that it saves you from having to hold the pilot knob down for what seems like an eternity?

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Same problem with my '78 Sovereign (see signature line).

On my WH, after holding the pilot "on" and heating the safety shut off bulb for about 20 seconds I can feel the safety shut off "reset". At that point (the gas stays on without holding the pilot "on") turn the Pilot/on/off control to "On". The main burner will attempt to light and blow any entrained air until "fresh" gas from the bottles makes it back to the burner. Keep holding the lighter next to the burner to ensure the safety bulb stays hot and there is a flame to light the gas when it arrives at the burner.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:20 PM   #10
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So when igniting the pilot after taking out of storage for the winter, does it take awhile for your pilot to light?
Yes, it takes awhile. I always first light the stove burners to make sure any air is purged from the lines after being stored. Then the fridge and water heater will usually light fairly quickly.
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