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Old 04-29-2013, 02:01 PM   #1
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Black soot on outside of heater/pilot light grate

Does anyone know why we're getting black burn marks, soot-like residue on the grate covering the gas heater/pilot light box on the outside of our Airstream Bambi?? The pilot seems to be lighting fine - no problems. We've got hot water, gas works fine on the stove tops and the fridge is cold. Should I be worried about a gas line problem? - this a new one. Hasn't done this before.....

Thanks, Bruce
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bskane10 View Post
Does anyone know why we're getting black burn marks, soot-like residue on the grate covering the gas heater/pilot light box on the outside of our Airstream Bambi?? The pilot seems to be lighting fine - no problems. We've got hot water, gas works fine on the stove tops and the fridge is cold. Should I be worried about a gas line problem? - this a new one. Hasn't done this before.....

Thanks, Bruce
Is it your water heater or your furnace? A helpful tech adjusted our water heater by reducing the amount of air entering the burn propane feed pipe just as it feeds into the burn tube. He did it to reduce the noise but what it did was increase the carbon generated and marked the exhaust grille. I went back in and re-adjusted it, turned the flame more blue again and solved the problem. The black deposits burned off eventually.

I've added a picture of the water heater - the adjusting tube is in the green circle and the screw to release the tube is marked with the yellow arrow. - more air makes it louder and cleaner, less air makes it quieter but more dirty. You can experiment whilst it's on if you're brave!





Apologies if it's not your water heater that's causing the problem!
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:53 PM   #3
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It is most likely (assuming it is the water heater we are talking about) that either spiders have built a web in the burner tube or the tube which goes through the tank itself, or that the adjustment for the air quantity (the yellow are #3 that steve shows in his photo) is not set right.

Clean things first then set the burner air adjustment so you have a blue flame, not hard and roaring, but not yellow and lazy either. Then you will have no soot.
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