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my burner won't stay lit for very long-why  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 05:41 pm
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june01
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Our gas heater is about 6 yrs. old.  Yesterday it decided not to keep the burner on long enough to heat the water.  I turned the therm. down to vacation and left it like that overnight because the fan would not turn off by its self.  This morning got up early to turn the temp up so that my children could shower.  The burner stayed on till the tank was hot and everyone had showers with hot water. (happy about that).  Now, when the new water that replaced the water from showering asked to be heated, the burner would kick on for a few seconds then turn off.  Again, it would attempt to light the burner and work for a few seconds.  It will continue to do this until I turn down the therm.  The pilot light is on and has no problem.  We replaced the thermocouple last fall.  It is, I think, working properly since I haven't had to relight it at all.

I have been on your website since 7a til after 1p.  Read every article you have.  I haven't found any that are more closely related to my problem.  I have learned a lot though, especially about blowing up, frying yourself and rockets launching through your house. Hoping you can give me a list of things to look for that causes this problem.  Also, I couldn't find any articles on whether or not the accumulation of sediments from hard water in the bottom of the tank could be the culprit.  My husband is going to flush it tonight to see if that helps.  We don't have a meter to test stuff.  Hoping we don't need to.  Also, I don't see any leaks anywhere.  Which article tells exactly the right way to flush?  I don't want to burn up any elements.

thanks,

June

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 Posted: Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 11:58 pm
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june01
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Just finished flushing the tank.  That all went fine.  Turned on the electric and gas and fired it up.  The burner lit and we closed up the area.   The burner stayed lit for about 10-15 minutes and went out.  The system tried to ignite the burner and it lit for about 5-10 seconds and went out.  It kept on doing this, so we turned the thermostat down to vacation level so that it would stop trying and the fan could shut off.  Hoping we can rule out sediment problem, if that was a consideration.

Question still remains....no what do we look for?

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 Posted: Tue Oct 24th, 2006 02:16 am
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Ej
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My best guess without knowing the model number is there is a problem with the control valve since it wants to cycle on/off continuesly.  Since you state you have a thermocoupler then it is not a flame sense problem and your pilot stays on with no problems.  But then again you say you have a fan and whether it be a blower or an exhaust fan most of these have electronic ignition which would bring us back to a flame sense problem.  Model please:)

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 Posted: Tue Oct 24th, 2006 10:32 am
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june01
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It's a Powerflex.  Made by American Water Heater Company.

Model number:  PVG62 50T63 3PH

50 Gal.   Made in 1998 and installed in 2000

Got up early to turn up the temp. again.  It stayed on for the length of time it needed to heat the water.  Now that a couple showers have been taken, it is acting goofy again.  The fan is at the top of the unit and comes on when the tank is heating.

Let me know what ya think and if there is any more info. you might need.  Would like to try and fix this problem ourselves before calling someone to come out here.

thanks

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 Posted: Wed Oct 25th, 2006 02:31 am
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Ej
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Wow you picked a tough waterheater to cut your teeth on.  Your going to need a multimeter and the understanding on how to use one to troubleshoot further.  I will give you a few clues.  First check for any obstuction in the vent line.  This unit has a pressure switch and a gas pressure switch to prove conditions.  Most likely your problem resides with one of these.  Your gas company should be willing to come out at no charge to take a pressure reading at the control valve.
 
Here is a link to read up on. 
 
http://www.americanwaterheater.com/support/manuals/powervent.pdf

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 Posted: Wed Oct 25th, 2006 05:29 am
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eleent
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Hello Ej:  Thanks for spending time here.  You're making it a better place :dude:

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Wed Oct 25th, 2006 12:07 pm
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june01
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Well, EJ.....my hat off to you.  You hit the nail on the head.  The problem was indeed the vent line.  I used a tool that I wonder if heating/air conditioning people own.. a paperclip!  I didn't see any lint on the clip when I cleaned the little metal tube that the clear plastic tube hooks onto, but it worked.  And, we had hot water this morning, too!

Glad that I found your Tanks website and got a chance to get advice before having the heater serviced.  I will highly recommend this site to people I know. 

I'm curious though.  How much do you think I saved by not having someone come out and work on this?  And, would they have known from the beginning what to look for?  I think this weekend we will open up the fan and clean the blades and motor area.

Thanks for all your help and I agree with Larry's reply..you are an asset to this site

June

p.s.  I hope that when you stated that I have a tough water heater to work on, that you meant we bought a good one.   

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 Posted: Thu Oct 26th, 2006 03:19 am
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Ej
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Thanks for the cudos.  Most likely you would have needed a technition to trouble shoot the problem.  In my neck of the woods most plumbers will not service electronic heaters.  In my area the cost would of been $100.00 to repair it. 
 

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 Posted: Mon Mar 24th, 2008 03:24 am
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Kevin
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June01 & EJ - Unbelievable!!!!   I have farted around for days now, replacing the vacume lines and cleaning the burners on my power-vent water heater.  I have looked through multiple web sites and online manuals looking for this 'gas not staying on very long' problem.  I also don't have meters and tools and am certainly no plumber.  When I finally saw June01's problem, it was like I wrote it myself.  And, the craziest part is, the paper clip worked for me too!  It was a little tight working through the little access door and once my arm was in I couldn't see, so had to do by feel.  But, I eventually got the clip in the gas vent orafice and worked it around a little.  The old water heater, about 10 years old, is working perfectly again. 

Knowing the going rate for plumbers around her, I'm sure you just saved me $75 to $100 at least - and that's if they didn't start replacing parts!

THANK YOU BOTH!  I was ready to call the plumber in the morning.  My family thanks you too!

 

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 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 12:53 pm
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pj
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I have been running into same problem since early am today. We have AO Smith Promax PCV 50 100. The pilot will stay on by itself when thermostat is on pilot ignition,  but when I turn the thermostat to any higher setting A, B, C, the boiler will come on for a few minutes and then shuts down taking the pilto light out along with it. Was wondering if paper clip would work for my situation. Since this is me first time, Would appreciate if anyone could provide more details on the steps.Thanks in annticipation.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 12th, 2008 11:47 pm
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Ej
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Electronic ignition, either glow coil or spark, comes on at temperature demand.  Then the pilot will go out once the temperature has been satisfied.  As stated above, with your model the common error seems to be either a flame sense problem or the vacuum switch prover protecting the exhaust venting.    First check for blockage in the vent pipe.  This could come in a form of a bird nest, water, or other blockage of some sort.  Next check the clear vacuum tube on top of the heater.  This is clear 1/4 inch tubing coming from the blower to the vacuum switch.  As stated above push a paper clip thru the barb portion of the switch and blower where the hose attaches.  Also make sure the hose is not loose at where it attaches.  Also check any fan intake screen on the blower. Clean if needed.
 
Second would be a flame sense problem.  This is much more difficult to check without the proper meters.  A simpler but not always accurate method would be to check if your control valve is flashing a sequence code.  If your model is of this kind then check the number of flashes against the error code sticker on your water heater and then report back your findings.

 
 
Regards
 
Ej
 

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 Posted: Sun Apr 13th, 2008 03:35 pm
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pj
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I checked and there aren't any clear pipes coming out of the  heater. There are some holes on the top which could possibly be venting/diluting intake air. The bottom intake screen is clear of any blockage and so is the vent pipe. It seems like some kind of a cut off is in play becauce the pilot stays on as long as the thermostat is set to "pilot lighting". Once the thermostat is set to a higher temperature setting, the burner lights up and then within a minute or so, the burner shuts off and so does the pilot.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 13th, 2008 06:21 pm
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Ej
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My fault.  I thought we were talking about the power vent model.  Your model has a flame switch soldered into the thermocouple.  This switch protects a overheat condition in the burner area.  Your condition is a common one and several things need to be checked to remedy your problem.  Here is what I recommend starting with the simplest.
 
1.  Remove the plastic screen at the very bottom and rinse it off under a faucet.  Dry good.  Even if your screen looks to be clean a very small amount of dirt, dryer lint, cat hair, etc. can cause an overheat condition. 
 
2.  Once the screen is removed take your wife's feather duster and shove it into the holes that the screen covers.  Try to clean the bottom of the flame arrestor by moving the duster back and forth.  A air compressor works fine too.  Now put your screen back and give your heater another try.
 
What is happening is once you turn your thermostat to heat the burner area is over heating and the flame switch open turning pilot and burner off.  Of course all of the above assumes you have no blockage in your venting system.  If this doesn't fix your problem then there are two other things you can do which are a bit more difficult.
 
Now don't forget to put your wife's feather duster back :)
 

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 Posted: Sat Jul 17th, 2010 06:37 pm
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shannon18
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june01 wrote: Our gas heater is about 6 yrs. old.  Yesterday it decided not to keep the burner on long enough to heat the water.  I turned the therm. down to vacation and left it like that overnight because the fan would not turn off by its self.  This morning got up early to turn the temp up so that my children could shower.  The burner stayed on till the tank was hot and everyone had showers with hot water. (happy about that).  Now, when the new water that replaced the water from showering asked to be heated, the burner would kick on for a few seconds then turn off.  Again, it would attempt to light the burner and work for a few seconds.  It will continue to do this until I turn down the therm.  The pilot light is on and has no problem.  We replaced the thermocouple last fall.  It is, I think, working properly since I haven't had to relight it at all.

I have been on your website since 7a til after 1p.  Read every article you have.  I haven't found any that are more closely related to my problem.  I have learned a lot though, especially about blowing up, frying yourself and rockets launching through your house. Hoping you can give me a list of things to look for that causes this problem.  Also, I couldn't find any articles on whether or not the accumulation of sediments from hard water in the bottom of the tank could be the culprit.  My husband is going to flush it tonight to see if that helps.  We don't have a meter to test stuff.  Hoping we don't need to.  Also, I don't see any leaks anywhere.  Which article tells exactly the right way to flush?  I don't want to burn up any elements.

thanks,

June



OMG!  I am having this identical problem with my Amercian Water Heater model PVG62-40T50-3NV.

I've tried the paper clip in the orifice which connects to the clear tubing.  I guess it worked for a little while (maybe wishful thinking), but I've been having the same problem sporadically since the beginning of the year! 

I've had several plumbers and "experts" look at it and their diagnoses range from a bad solenoid to bad pressure switch in the fan, to the latest....bad vent design.   I have had the air pressure switch replaced, and it worked for a couple of months.  Now, back to the same problem....only sounds worse now.

I live in a condominium, so the unit is power vented through a wall and along the walls of the garage and exits the building directly next to the garage door.

My thoughts are....this unit has been here since the condo was built in 2000.  If it is, in fact, a "venting" issue, why is it only causing problems now?

I do actually get hot water, but when the heater turns on, it runs OK for about 5 minutes, then the burner shuts off and then immediately re-ignites.  This happens over and over and over until it just sounds like a rattling/clicking noise.  During this whole on-off-on process, I can hear the solenoid clicking on and off as well.

I was told by one of the many plumbers that's been here that the unit is still in good condition (no rust in the water??).

I can't seem to find anyone that knows what's going on with this unit!  So frustrated.

If there is anyone that has any idea what's going on with my unit, your help would be soooo greatly appreciated!   :?

 

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 Posted: Tue Jul 20th, 2010 02:29 am
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Ej
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My guess would be that since it is trying to light then all the above is fine and your problem lies with sensing ignition. If your heater has a flame rod at the pilot area you can try running a piece of sandpaper along it or even replace your pilot assy.

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 Posted: Thu May 3rd, 2012 09:44 pm
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stefan325
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Well, I also had a problem with my powervent PVG62-50T63-3NHV. After changing the thermocouple it was short cycling. I called Amrican Heater and they suggested a new gas valve/thermostat. Before I plunked down $125 plus shipping I thought I'd take the top of the electrical box off and I immediatley noticed that the clear vent tube that goes from the air switch to the motor had several drops of water in it. Took that off, drained it and for good measure I ran a piece of wire into both the air switcha as well into the motor connection; popped the hose back on and ... HOT WATER.

Thanks for making this information available.

Last edited on Thu May 3rd, 2012 09:46 pm by stefan325

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 Posted: Wed May 9th, 2012 02:31 am
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Ej
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If water made it's way into the switch you will most likely need to replace it in the future. Also I would be concern how it got in there?

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 Posted: Sun May 13th, 2012 01:21 am
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bob393
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Hi, I'm new here and I apologize in advance for hijacking this thread but this is exactly why I joined :) not to hijack threads but to find out why my GSW superflue is cycling. It has a Robertshaw gas valve.

When I plug it in it goes through the start up cycle fine, ignites the burner, and runs for one to three minuets than shuts off and begins the start up cycle again and again and again until I unplug it. My initial thought was that the flame sensor was bad which I replaced and that made no difference. I also cleaned and vacuumed out the fire box which improved the flame quality but that wasn't my problem.

From what I have read here so far it seems to be pointing to the vent pressure sensor??

Any other thoughts on where to look next? Thanks

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 Posted: Sun May 13th, 2012 06:04 pm
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eleent
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Hello:  I don't know your model, but here are instructions/troubleshooting for Superflue heaters.  http://www.gsw-wh.com/Docs/71189-1G.pdf (hope the link works!)  I see it gives from 20 to 60 minutes unplugged time to reset. I'd try that first.  From there it looks like pressure switch or flammable vapor sensor.  Is the flue pipe and screen at its end all clean?  Hopefully, someone who really knows these heaters will give you a better reply ;)

Yours, Larry

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 Posted: Sun May 13th, 2012 07:16 pm
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bob393
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Larry, Thanks

It's a: m/n 6G40PSV, s/n S035503974, 74,000 btu, Propane.

It's been unplugged all night and I'm heading over right now to look at it again, check the vent, do a little more cleaning and see what happens.

I'll stay in touch.

Thanks

bob

Last edited on Sun May 13th, 2012 07:17 pm by bob393

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