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Old 07-13-2003, 09:16 AM   #1
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Question Water heater pilot issues?

I seem to have some issues with keeping my pilot lit. The unit lights ok, but frequently extinguishes itself after heating the water tank. I have checked and adjusted both the pilot flame and air shutter adjustment...both appear to be correct but still don't like to consistantly work unattended.
The unit appears to be the original equip. (I am the second owner, and the AS was always serviced by dealer) Bowen heater and Robertshaw control, but I'm reluctant to R&R if all I need is a cleaning, etc.
Thanks in advance
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Old 07-13-2003, 09:35 AM   #2
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Possibly

Sometimes the pilot flame gets pulled off the thermocouple. This may happen right when the water gets hot and the main jet goes off. On a prior trailer, I had to bend the thermocouple bracket a bit to keep it in the pilot flame when this happened. I had a similar problem with a prior refrigerator where the flame wasn't quite on the thermocouple at all times.
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Old 07-13-2003, 09:54 AM   #3
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Wow! thanks for the prompt reply!
At the risk of sounding ignorant (a risk I hope I don't run too often ;-) ), is the thermocouple the small tubular unit w/ the other lead into the control unit and directly above the pilot flame?
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Old 07-13-2003, 10:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Marko69AS
Wow! thanks for the prompt reply!
At the risk of sounding ignorant (a risk I hope I don't run too often ;-) ), is the thermocouple the small tubular unit w/ the other lead into the control unit and directly above the pilot flame?
Correct. The thermocouple has to stay in the flame at all times to generate the small electrical potential that keeps the gas valve actuated. If the flame is pulled off, even momentarily, the valve will shut off.

Here in Texas. a lot of folks have problems with high winds pulling the flame away and the WH going off. My old Scamp did that sometimes until I did some bending to keep the flame playing on the thermocouple better.
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Old 07-13-2003, 10:15 AM   #5
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Also ...

I should have mentioned that sometimes thermocouples do get weak and sometimes totally fail. Years of being in the flame and long periods of exposure to the elements will ultimately eat away the metal sheath. They only cost a few dollars to replace.
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Old 07-13-2003, 11:20 AM   #6
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This sounds like good advise...thanks. Not only is the thermocouple farther away from the pilot flame than the recommended pilot flame height, the water heater is on the windy side of the trailer.
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Old 07-13-2003, 05:50 PM   #7
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I went out a few weeks back with my newly installed atwood water heater.

I blew out 3 times in four days.

I called atwood and they acted like that was normal.

They have an optional pilot relight module that runs off a 9 volt battery so it needs no other wiring. It senses the flame and when it is not there it creates a spark to ignite it.

I assume you could also light it then w/o a match this way but I am not sure.

It's around $60. I was thinking of getting one.
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Old 07-13-2003, 06:17 PM   #8
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Water Heater Pilot

I had to replace the control unit ($135.00) to get the pilot to work.

My heater is only 3 years old but is used all summer every day.
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Old 07-14-2003, 10:46 AM   #9
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Talking Seems to have done the trick!

Thanks Pahaska!
Just a little bending and adjusting and wallah, I seem to have the issue fixed (at least all day yesterday and through a windy evening and a couple of cycles this morning)...at least greatly improved.
Thanks again,
Marko
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