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Old 12-07-2010, 07:22 PM   #1
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Water heater blues

I have a new question. Recently I was trying out all the appliances to be sure they worked OK. Checked the hot water heater and the base of the flame is blue, but it seems to me that there is quite a bit of lazy yellow flame after it. I read the instructions and it said that spiders and such can cause obstructions in the burner baffle (I think that is what it was called) I carefully unscrewed the part indicated and it said to slide it up the tube so you could insert a flexible wire brush to clean inside. It will only slide a little ways before it hits an elbow in the tube and not enough to gain access with a hair much less a wire brush. I am nervous about using it with that much yellow flame. What do you think?
Photo one shows sleeve with screw removed
Photo two with sleeve slid to right as far as it goes
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:44 PM   #2
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I have a new question. Recently I was trying out all the appliances to be sure they worked OK. Checked the hot water heater and the base of the flame is blue, but it seems to me that there is quite a bit of lazy yellow flame after it. I read the instructions and it said that spiders and such can cause obstructions in the burner baffle (I think that is what it was called) I carefully unscrewed the part indicated and it said to slide it up the tube so you could insert a flexible wire brush to clean inside. It will only slide a little ways before it hits an elbow in the tube and not enough to gain access with a hair much less a wire brush. I am nervous about using it with that much yellow flame. What do you think?
Photo one shows sleeve with screw removed
Photo two with sleeve slid to right as far as it goes
Check the LPG pressure. Should be 12 inches of water column pressure.

Clean the oriface.

Clean the burner tube.

By the way, Airstream's do not use "how water heaters".

But they do use "cold water heaters".

Andy
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:51 PM   #3
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You should be able to pull out the entire burner and give the whole thing a good cleaning.
Dave
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:37 PM   #4
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Carol, the thing to remember is that is has to come apart. I expect you have to remove the gas valve (I think that's the thing on the left partially in the photo) and the pipe and burner will probably come with it. You'll have to take apart the propane supply line somewhere, maybe to the left of the gas valve. Make sure the gas is off. When you put the pipe back together, use teflon pipe tape to get a better seal—use the yellow tape, it's for gas lines (white is for water pipes). You may have to use 2 pipe wrenches to get it apart.

The pipe is screwed onto the gas valve and could be detached there, but I can't see how it could turn since it goes into the burner chamber so far as I can tell. But there seems to be a support for the pipe under it at the mouth of the chamber. If that was unscrewed, would it release the pipe somehow and then it could be unscrewed at the gas valve? I doubt this is the solution, however.

The thing that slides ("baffle") controls how much air is mixed with the fuel and you can move it until to get the best flame and tighten the screw. I believe the igniter is the white thing with the wire attached on the upper right and that needs to be cleaned gently also. It its mounting plate unscrews, you can take the igniter off and see inside better and clean more. The igniter will come out of the mounting plate, but I am unsure how, so be careful. After putting things back together, check all the joints in the gas pipe with soapy water to make sure you have no leaks. When working with gas it's a good idea to be paranoid.

I haven't worked on our Airstream water heater, but have installed gas appliances and pipe and fixed a few appliances, and they are all pretty much the same in principle, but my guesses may not be correct.

If you are worried about explosions, or like to smoke a cigar while working on this or use a candle to see better, get someone else to do it.

Gene
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:42 PM   #5
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Am I supposed to unscrew that big copper bolt to the left of the red wire? The sleeve will not move to the right far enough for me to have access to the burner assembly to clean it. All the instructions said were to remove the small screw from the baffle and slide it to the right. Not possible...
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:50 PM   #6
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Gene, I didn't see your note till I posted. I will give it a try and will refrain from puffing on any cigars while I do it. Perhaps moving the baffle to allow less air to flow in will change my flame, sounds like it would make sense and it would be the easiest thing to try first.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:53 PM   #7
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Andy- it's not a 'HOW water heater' thats supposed to be a cold water heater...it's a 'HOT water heater' thats supposed to be a cold water heater. ....
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cclarkego View Post
I have a new question. Recently I was trying out all the appliances to be sure they worked OK. Checked the hot water heater and the base of the flame is blue, but it seems to me that there is quite a bit of lazy yellow flame after it. I read the instructions and it said that spiders and such can cause obstructions in the burner baffle (I think that is what it was called) I carefully unscrewed the part indicated and it said to slide it up the tube so you could insert a flexible wire brush to clean inside. It will only slide a little ways before it hits an elbow in the tube and not enough to gain access with a hair much less a wire brush. I am nervous about using it with that much yellow flame. What do you think?
Photo one shows sleeve with screw removed
Photo two with sleeve slid to right as far as it goes
There is a 1/4" hex head screw that holds the burner tube onto the combustion chamber at the bottom. The flange is held there by 2 (IIRC) of the same screws. By removing the flange from the combustion chamber mount, you can then remove the burner tube from the gas valve without touching the valve to clean it out.

Be VERY CAREFUL not to put anything thru the LP orifice except compressed air or maybe carb cleaner, as it is precisely drilled and easily damaged.

And even though Andy had a typo in his post, there is no such device as a 'hot water heater'. The device that you have pictured is simply a 'water heater', as it DOES NOT HEAT HOT WATER. Rather, it creates hot water from the incoming water, be it warm (like in the south in the summer) or cold (like incoming water now).

And always remember....NEVER LEAVE YOUR BATTERIES ON CONCRETE!!!!!
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:24 PM   #9
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Andy- it's not a 'HOW water heater' thats supposed to be a cold water heater...it's a 'HOT water heater' thats supposed to be a cold water heater. ....
Yeah, I know, sometimes a key or two gets misplace on my wifes computer at home.

Yes, it's supposed to be "hot" not how.

Sorry folks, but I still stick to my rights as a senior.

And besides, I don't always remember what I forgot. Hmmmm.

Andy
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:29 PM   #10
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OK, I will go over there and try these things VERY carefully....

Thank you,
Carol
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:50 PM   #11
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And besides, I don't always remember what I forgot.
Andy

That's really great. I must remember this one. Are you related to Yogi Berra? Or is that something he is supposed to have said?

Very funny indeed.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:58 PM   #12
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Maybe could someone take a peek at their hot water heater when it is on and tell me what their flame looks like? I was assuming that it should look like the burners on my stove. Mostly blue with a yellow tip. Mine has blue with 3-4 inches of yellow.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:09 PM   #13
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Ours runs blue when lit. and I myself...if I remember right (which might be wrong) - the flame is yellow or can be peppered with yellowish flame when it is said to be burning too rich, a term for out of adjustment. Due to air mixing not being right..........right?
I also wanted to go sideways here and mention that we moved away from the old house location because the city power line coming from the alley came loose from the house and was swinging two feet from the ground and fifteen feet away from the TT. The city came out and condemned the house to be torn down. Every night I was going to sleep with one eye open that whole time we were there, watching for yellow flames flickering on the wall.
I did not want to start a thread about that because I did not want to see a whole line of 'I told you so's' ....
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:12 PM   #14
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So, do I want more air or less air going into the tube? I can slide the sleeve with the slits in it slightly to accomplish this by giving it lots of air or a little air...
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