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New GE Gas Water Heater - Pilot won't stay lit until tank te  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 05:57 pm
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elenano
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Don't call Whirlpool. That is a different company that makes different water heaters.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 10:41 pm
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Geno_3245
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Your water heater installation is out of code. I believe most local codes require water heater installation 18" off floor. Note that many flammable vapors are heavier than air, and hug the floor. And so you can't smell them.
Your air intake is located on side of unit, and does not appear to be covered with lint etc.
But the area is not free of dust, and the air screen inside tank is finer mesh.

My 'opinion' is that the powder probably clogged air intake and caused FV event.
Fine powder looks like powered soap like Tide?? When you scoop soap it produces dust, and water heater draws cubic feet of air into burner from surrounding room, so dusty environment will clog water heater.
Notice your gas burner is also covered with soot, and hasn't been cleaned. This imples poor air supply, not enough air, and/or poor venting.
Facts point to dirty environment, lack of yearly burner maintenance, lack of air intake cleaning, and incorrect installation causing FV event.

Without good air flow, the combustion chamber heats up because the gas is burning but the heat is not rapidly moving up vent pipe.
Overheated combustion chamber can trip FV.

Today's water heaters require good air flow, good venting, and clean combustion parts.
Read product manual for advisories and maintenance.

Some gas controls need to be replaced.
Product manuals are not fully clear because FV systems are evolving, and there are many different gas control valves, and different conditions cause different events.
If pilot will not light, and no gas is coming out of gas control, then gas control is bad.

Following AO Smith service manual covers possible testing walk-thru.
Including causes for sooting and ECO test pg 12-13
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/AO-smith-service-handbook.pdf
More testing steps with Bradford White service manual.
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/44943-D-FVIR-Brad-White.pdf

Your photograph looks like the water heater does not have resettable ECO or TCO located on combustion door. And that no wires connect gas control and combustion chamber.
Without wires connecting combustion chamber to gas control, the FV event might not have caused gas control to shut down gas. So gas control might be good.
http://waterheatertimer.org/images/IMG_1098-Gas-wh-800.jpg

Gas controls have ECO located inside probe that extends into tank.
ECO energy cut off will trip if high heat is detected inside tank.
If this single-use ECO is tripped, then gas control will not let any gas pass to pilot or burner.
http://waterheatertimer.org/images/Gas-valve-ECO-124.jpg

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 Posted: Sat Feb 4th, 2012 02:44 am
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Ej
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Water heaters in laundry room are are a poor choice for FVIR heaters. The air intake vents suck up lint and clog the fresh air intake. White powder is usually caused from the high heat created during the over heat condition.

I wouldn't advise bypassing the FVIR device especially being in a laundry room. Your vents are along the sides of the heater. Even a small reduction in the holes for the vent will cause over heating. Inside the heater their is a small flame arrestor screen right below the glass vial. This also can get plugged.

A failed thermostat, blocked flue, slab leak can also break the TRD. Some models the TRD can be replaced and it is best to call GE to see if yours apply.

Cleaning of the air intake can be done by removing the burner but you are going to need a gasket kit when doing this. This should come with the TRD part.

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 Posted: Sat Feb 4th, 2012 08:28 am
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usaer
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Thanks EJ for input.

Today I called GE. They will be shipping the kit for the glass vial shutoff device. It will ship out Monday and they said I will get it Tuesday.

Today I removed the burner assembly and cleaned EVERYTHING inside the heat chamber. The white powder (shown in my above post attachment) was on the screen and on the inside of the vent pipe that runs from the bottom of the heater to the top. However, I had very very light dust-webs on maybe 2% of the outside vent holes that surround lower part of the heater. To little to think that this is where the problem might be. I agree with EJ that the laundry room is not the ideal place for this water heater. I expect that cleaning-stuff in the air may cause weird combustion and the result is the powder and this causes overheating in the heat chamber and poor ventilation that results in breaking the glass vial. I did notice somewhat of a bend inside the vertical heat vent above the heater I would estimate the bend could have resulted in reducing proper heat exhaust by as much as 10 or 15%. So may have played a part in the problem. I plan on replacing that with new one.

I did rig the spring pin that normally holds the glass vial. I wedged in 2 pieces of ceramic that held the pin down all the way and allowed the baffle (or whatever you call it) to stay open. It took about 20 minutes to finally get that spring pin pushed in and wedged. The pin has a lot of resistance and is hard to press in with one hand while at the same time holding whatever you use to wedge it open. What makes it even harder is that you can not look inside the access door at the same time as reaching your arm inside the access door, so you have to do it by blind touch. Hopefully the glass vial will go in easier.

I realize there could be some risk in by-passing the safety shutoff (glass vial) but it seems to operate fine. (No strange sounds, smells or sounds when it on) As a precaution I installed a fire/carbon monoxide alarm in the laundry room and will keep the heater no higher than the "warm" setting until Tuesday. Plus I am going to turn the heater off before going to bed and also before leaving for work. I also put the fan on low facing away from the heater just to make sure i have extra good ventilation. Finally, I put the fire extinguisher where I can grab it just in case. I guess a fine line between being safe and being stupid....Guess I'm both, but hate cold showers.

I am curious about how much they will include in the kit. Especially if they will include a new gas control valve (thermostat), because on the outside of my heater on the label it states something to the effect that once the one-time disabling device is activated that a new gas control valve MUST be installed. When I mentioned this to the person from GE she was not aware of that. She said she did not think that the parts department included that in the kit and that the control valve and the emergency shut-off was not connected in any way. I did not argue with her. If it is not in the kit I will probably call GE again and raise the issue. I don’t see how they can refuse sending a new one.

Thanks for your input EJ. The post that I have found in this forum were so great and hopefully my long-winded play-by-play will help someone else one day. I will check back daily for any new post, and also let you know how the KIT INSTALL went.

Will try to post some pics later

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 Posted: Sat Feb 4th, 2012 09:27 am
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Geno_3245
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Laundry room is bad location.
Read product manual for advisories about location of water heater.

Typical manuals says about sooting: " An insufficient supply of air will cause recirculation of combustion products resulting in air contamination that may be hazardous to life. Such a condition often will result in a yellow, luminous burner flame, causing carboning or sooting of the combustion chamber, burners and flue tubes with possible damage to the water heater."

Same manual says about chemicals: "Water heater corrosion and component failure can be caused by the heating and breakdown of airborne chemical vapors. Examples of some typical compounds that are potentially corrosive are: spray can propellants, cleaning
solvents, refrigerator and air conditioning refrigerants, swimming pool chemicals, calcium and sodium chloride, waxes and process chemicals. These materials are corrosive at very low concentration levels with little or no odor to reveal their presence."

Rheem bulletin on corrosive atmospheres says about chemicals:
" Atmospheric conditions inside a home can cause damage to a water heater. The water heater should not be installed near an air supply containing chemical compounds that are formed with these corrosive elements. Halogens are any of the four non-metallic chemical elements - fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine. For example, the air in beauty shops, dry cleaning establishments, photo processing labs and storage areas for liquid and powdered bleaches or swimming pool chemicals often contain such hydrocarbons. The air may be safe to breath, but when pass through a gas flame, corrosive elements are released that will shorten the life of any gas burning appliance. Propellants from common spray cans or gas leaks from refrigeration equipment are highly corrosive after passing through a flame. In many cases these chemical become vaporized. These vapors are normally two and one half times heavier than air and are drawn to gas fired appliances. Halogen contaminated atmospheres may be the cause of external corrosion of gas water heaters."

The white deposits on roof of combustion chamber appear to have been built up over time.
The layer is flaking off and hanging down in one place. And flaked off in another area and then the surface was re-coated. The flakes laying on bottom look like they broke off the ceiling in small slabs.
It looks like result of something getting burned in the flame over period of time, otherwise it would coat the side walls too.

It doesn't look like the white deposits caused damage to combustion chamber, and probably hasn't damaged the vent pipe, but the vent should also be inspected.

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 Posted: Sun Feb 5th, 2012 02:23 am
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Ej
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The less restriction you have in your vent pipe the better off you are going to be. Every elbow reduces the the ease which hot air can move through the pipe. So you heat the burner chamber up a bit more with each restriction,

Please check the flame arrestor screen also below the glass vial. Lint can pass through the outside screen holes since the are much bigger and plug this area up.

Also you can do a temp test by heating your heater up slowly at different stages on your thermostat. Test your water temp each time your burner cycles off.

GE will only give you a new glass vial once so make sure you find the reason why it broke in the first place.

Also do a draft test. I think there are some instruction on this site. A blocked or slow drafting flue will break the vial also.

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 Posted: Sun Feb 5th, 2012 02:25 am
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Ej
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P.S. A new thermostat isn't included with the kit. Hopefully you will get a gasket kit with it:)

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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 06:34 pm
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usaer
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Thanks for heads-up about GE not usually including a new thermostat with the shutoff glass vial. Hopefully tomorrow I get the kit as GE said, but more likely will get it Wednesday if it was shipped Monday.

I am thinking that if the thermostat gas control valve is NOT included with the kit that I will just go ahead and install the shutoff glass vial and IF the glass vial breaks again I would INSIST that they send me another glass vial kit and this time include the thermostat. I don't think they can justify NOT sending me another kit with thermostat when their own label on the heater states that the thermostat MUST be replaced at the same time as the shutoff device (glass vial).

I wonder if anyone ever got a NEW heater if the old one keeps tripping the shutoff device making the heater useless?
(Just thinking ahead)

I am still operating heater by bypassing the glass vile shutoff. (I dont mind doing this for a couple of days but might be to risky to do perminently. The updraft on the heat vent pipe is good and it has a nice big blue flame which to me means the burner has good ventilation...right? If it did not, I would think that the flame would be more yellow/orange as what happens when not getting enough oxygen

Thanks for input.... will post again once i have kit.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 06:55 pm
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usaer
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Geno....i SOMEHOW did not see your 1st post on Feb 3 at 5:41. That post had a lot of info! Although we only use liquid detergent (not Tide) I agree that fumes and particles would tend to hug the floor area and might indeed have played a big part in the chamber overheating. When i bought the heater 7 years ago, I think that I asked the guy at Home Depot if code required that I put this heater on a stand (18"). He said no. I think that I will have to double check that info and maybe put it on a stand whether required or not... just so the heater gets cleaner air. Thanks again for all of that info!

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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 05:15 pm
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ohillny
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I have read a lot of the posting with people and the pilot issue I am having the opposite.

I have a GE i think 40g bought it 2009.. The water heater went out at some point during the day. I lit the pilot i attempted to turn the thermostat back up and a large flame burst out and it went out. I tried a second time after turning it off "spooked out of my mind" letting it sit for about 10 min this time i lit pilot I was attempting to put the cover back on before turning the thermostat up it seemed as soon as i touch the cover to the water heater I got that same flame burst and flame went out again. After this i turn the it off and closed the gas valve. Also the manual states combustion shut off tripped and I should call a service technician. Trying to avoid spending the money on that if some has experienced this and can be fixed by the average joe

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 Posted: Sat Feb 25th, 2012 12:31 am
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Ej
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Yes the manual is correct. Since there is no or little air to support combustion and the gas is still open because the thermocouple hasn't cooled down yet you can get gas build up then a flare. First find out if your heater can have the TRD replaced from GE. If so we can discuss the next steps.

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 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2012 02:48 pm
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mikesurfs
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I have a GG50T06AVH00. My pilot also kept going out. I stumbled across this thread, and read through it. Basically, my water heater was going cold, i'd inspect it, and find the pilot to be out. I'd relight it, the heater would heat up the water, and the pilot would go out once the burner shut off.

The solution for me was blowing out the bottom intake vents of my heater with compressed air. While my heater was heating last night, after a re-light, I went out and started blowing compressed air across and into the perforated vent screens on the bottom.

My burner flame instantly became twice as intense! The first reason was it was burning all the dust I just blasted into it. Second reason was it was now getting enough oxygen for complete combustion. Remember heat, fuel, and oxygen make fire? Well at the pilot level there wasn't enough oxygen coming in to support that little flame. I could get the big burner to fire only because the combustion chamber had sat long enough to fill with clean air and the big burner flame could overcome the lack of oxygen with incomplete combustion and probably a high CO output.

My heater works like new now. Easy fix was the compressed air.

Mike

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 Posted: Fri Nov 16th, 2012 04:06 pm
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elsee
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Thank you so much to everybody that wrote on this thread...we live in a new world with "safety" devices that are not replaceable, and government issued parts?
sounds like germany a bit...I understand completely that there are a lot of people that have no business trying to fix their own appliances...but some of us are used to being able to fix things in our own house, and are electricians and plumbers ourselves, or have a lot of plumbing maintenance experience...my husband and I have done property maintenance for years in Colorado where you have to learn to fix a water heater if there is a blizzard and yours goes out...or someone else calls you to rescue them if theirs goes out...
all in all, after two days of taking apart our newer ge 40 gallon tank ( warranty just expired ofcourse)
and cleaning it all out...I fianlly found the little pieces of glass and the oil from the
vial around the inside of the tank...I went ahead and built a similar part to fit in really
tight where the vial was and bypass it...we are going to install extra vents near the base where the air intake is on ours to assure that it is getting air, and also leave the
doors and windows open more when we are showering to encourage even more air flow...plus when we are gone we will just turn the gas off and re light it only when we need to use it...sound slike a pain in the butt, but we have very little money and that is what we can afford to do right now....

QUESTION - has anybody on here bypassed the glass vial with a nail or custom fitted piece of metal? and if so how long did it work for? and if we make sure to vent it exteremly well, and never use on the hottest setting, is it safe? for now until somehow we can afford to buy a new one?

thanks again for all the info on and especially the pictures of the vial and bracket
that helped me so much...I hope to hear back from someone...thanks

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 Posted: Fri Nov 16th, 2012 05:22 pm
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elenano
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People have done stuff like that before and it seems to work. Naturally, no pro would want to touch it because of the liability. Probably the only danger is the one that FVIR was created to prevent: spilling flammables next to the water heater pilot light. I would also keep an eye out for soot. If a heater doesn't get enough air, you encounter that.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Fri Nov 16th, 2012 08:13 pm
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eleent
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Hello elsee:  It sounds like you have a Rheem heater. They do make a replacement part now for that problem.  Don't know if it would work on your older heater, but despite the similarities to nazi Germany, I'd try to keep the safeties in place rather than bypass them.  I understand "whatever gets you by" in an emergency, but once that's done, find out why it failed in the first place and fix it.  That would be my approach.

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Mon Nov 19th, 2012 03:31 am
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Ej
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elsee wrote:


QUESTION - has anybody on here bypassed the glass vial with a nail or custom fitted piece of metal? and if so how long did it work for? and if we make sure to vent it exteremly well, and never use on the hottest setting, is it safe? for now until somehow we can afford to buy a new one



Not without finding why the original failure happened in the first place. I agree water heaters have been around for a long time. So have fires, explosions, and parent-less children.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 19th, 2012 02:06 pm
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elsee
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nice and negative...our main problem was air flow...we have installed a vent from the outside so fresh air comes directly to the intake...
but thanks for the morbid comment

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 Posted: Mon Nov 19th, 2012 02:27 pm
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Ej
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Measuring the combustion burner temperature after 10-15 minutes of burn time will tell you if it is air flow. You did do this didn't you? How do you know it is air flow? You removed the measuring device for over heating and you removed any future liability the manufacture might of had for catastrophic failure. I didn't mean to be morbid, in your view, but blunt when I describe what can happen when you redesign your water heater.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Cv178a60Ypg

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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2012 05:37 am
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eleent
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Hello:  There is a slogan from the 1920s, "The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation."  See picture.  It actually has been researched and found that good plumbing, done by good plumbers saves more lives in the US than all of the doctors do.  Plumbers provide basic sanitation and control dangerous things like gas and steam.  Good plumbers care, get educated and follow in the tradition.  We each have different ways of getting the message across, but that's not a bad thing. To me, Ej is trying to alert you to the risk of a potentially deadly situation. 

I've run across lots of plumbing nightmares that had the potential to kill people or destroy property and I always do what I can to educate the owners so they fix or let me fix the problem.  One cannot in good conscience, leave a known risk alone.  So, please don't get mad at Ej.  He's trying to help you.


Yours,  Larry

ps.  Have a look at "Fun Stuff" then "The Closet of Horrors" (from the home page) to see what sorts of scary things we find in the field.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2012 06:23 pm
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elsee
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thanks ...no worries...I am no ..t mad at him at all...
I am just tires of being a victim to all the new things we buy that the
government puts non replaceable parts on so we have to sell everything we have just to get a new hot water heater when it is not even broken...those little glass viles
have been known to break when people get the heaters dropped off, and then they are no good all of a sudden...they are trying to choke us out it seems...
and as far as fixing things yourself goes, there are a lot of people that have no business trying to fix anything, but when you do it for a living , you learn how to save yourself time and money and grief...but it seems like the only way for us because we can barely afford food let alone pay someone to come in our house and charge us
$90 an hour to break other things that were fine...this is what has hapened when we did the right thing and called a plumber before unfortunately...but that is because
there are a lot of unqualified people claiming to be masters out there. and too many people lie all day long and it is getting worse, hard to now what is real and true anymore...our water heater works better than it ever has and know we know how
to maintain it right...so I have to go with that...no money to do anything anymore gotta fend for your family I guess

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