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Old 05-29-2002, 07:12 PM   #1
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Help!! Hot Water Heater Flame is Too High

Hi there !

I am new to this forum as you can tell by this being my first post. We have a 1970 Sovereign which we love dearly. We have owned it for almost 2 years and have had just a few problems with it. This past weekend I did not have hot water. I assumed that I had run out of propane and told Dh. He got some more and told me that he thought the hot water heater was shutting itself off as the flame was very high and coming outside of the opening where we light it. This is the first time that this has happened. The pipe that has the air adjustment is very rusted and appears to have rusted out by an inch or two short right where the pilot is. My questions are:
1. Could this rusted pipe falling short be causing the high flame?
2. Does this system have automatic cut off ( the warning label is too faded to read)?
3. If the pipe could be the problem is that something we can order or will we need a brand new h2o heater?
4. Any ideas on anything else that could be the problem?

Any and all insight and thoughts and theories would be appreciated as this is our first camper and neither of us are experienced in the "inner workings". If our manual addressed this dh didn't find it.

Thanks in advance as I do miss my hot water!!

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Old 05-31-2002, 07:10 AM   #2
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1972 31' Sovereign
High Springs , Florida
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If the flame is coming back out of the opening, it would appear to me that the flame tube is clogged with "something" such as spider webs or a mouse nest. Try cleaning that out first. You may be able to get a new gas valve-burner assembly for your heater if it is all rusted out. You could also upgrade to a new heater, if you wanted, cost $300-550 depending on model and options. You will be set for another 20-30 years if you replace the whole thing.

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Old 03-02-2006, 12:34 PM   #3
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2002 16' Bambi
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rookie to forum !!the
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Old 03-02-2006, 02:29 PM   #4
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Flames from Rusty Pipes ... Bad!


Without observing yours, I'd say flames visible outside pipes and rusty pipes imply bad situation.. It's possible prior owner adjusted gas flow manually to keep Thermocouple hot and avoid shut-down, or pipe could be clogged, or pipe could be leaking gas and gas leaking is ignited by gas in proper burner zone...

Regardless of detailed cause, that is not good. Water heater often in area where wood cabinetry nearby, and shutoffs are major nuisance... I would seriously consider investing some of the $$ saved by buying used unit 2 years ago (probably $40K compared to a new one..) and having new electronic ignition water heater installed, including the electric heating rod for use with 110V power. A new one will have safe thermostat, overtemp cutoff, pushbutton ignition from indoors, and use less gas. In addition, the tank is likely to outlast yours, and a tank failure is a messy thing...

John McG

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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