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 Posted: Mon Nov 27th, 2006 05:29 pm
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krkotara
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Moved into a house six months with a Kenmore Power Miser 6 and the pilot would not stay lit.  Under warranty with Sears for 2 more months at that time, we called Sears.  After several technician visits, they replaced everything: thremocouple, pilot assembly, and the burner assembly.  It finally worked.  Until about 2 weeks ago!  I had to relight the pilot, which fires immediately!  it worked for a week, and then went out again.  Relit and had hot water the following morning.  Last night, had no hot water again, relit (11PM), had no hot water at 645AM.  Very very disappointing.  I thought the problem was fixed.  Now, I have an 18-month old water heater, no longer under warranty, and a pilot that is failing about once a week.  Kenmore tells me its because of some regulation that Congress passed in which they must have some kind of a plate that prevents explosions, however it doesn't allow enough air flow to maintain the pilot lit.  Are they BSing me?  I have been around water heaters that have remained in perfect working order for over 25 years and yet never touched.  DO I need to write my Congressman?  Do I need to write Kenmore/Sears?  the underside of the water heater is immaculate as well.  Kenmore says I need to keep it clean - its clean.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 27th, 2006 06:33 pm
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elenano
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Kenmore is not completely BSing you. Two years ago, a new federal standard went into effect requiring devices to prevent explosions of fumes. However, manufacturers have taken different approaches to implementing it. If their design doesn't allow enough air to the pilot, it's their fault. They are right, however, that lint and dirt more easily foul the burner in the new design,  so it's more important  now than it was in the past to keep the area around the water heater clean.

But all that aside, you should also be considering other issues that might be affecting your water heater, such as wind coming down the vent and blowing out the pilot or gas pressure issues.

If you search here on "pilot light," you'll find that such issues are common and that we've addressed many of them already.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Mon Nov 27th, 2006 07:44 pm
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krkotara
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Thank you for the quick response.  How do i know if too much air/wind is coming down the vent?  There was relatively no wind yesterday in my neck of the woods.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 28th, 2006 07:32 am
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eleent
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Hello:  If there was little wind and your pilot went out, wind likely isn't the culprit. Combustion air makeup and adequate venting are two big sources of trouble.   If you look at the flame of the main burner and see it acting "lazy" or floating off of the burner, airflow into or out of the combustion chamber is impaired. In these conditions, the pilot is easily snuffed out. It might make sense to have someone who knows how to read the flame, (like a heating technician) come out to diagnose the problem.

I'm waiting for the day a client can wear a little real time video camera on his head and converse to me while I'm seeing just what he sees. The experience of a technician combined with being there... It could save a LOT of time and aggravation :)

Yours,  Larry

Last edited on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 07:33 am by eleent

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 Posted: Tue Nov 28th, 2006 02:43 pm
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krkotara
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Throughout the last couple of days, as my aggravation has grown with this, Kenmore has suggested that I just buy an electric heater.  They are convinced the heater is not in the proper place in the house.  I tried lighting it again last night with the closet door WIDE OPEN and it went out the first couple of times after five or ten minutes, then i coudln't get it to light at all after several attempts. Should I cross over to the dark side and buy one?  I hear that my utility bill will be considerably more using an electric heater.  If that is the case, other than higher energy bills, is there any other drawbacks to an elctric heater?

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 Posted: Wed Nov 29th, 2006 06:53 am
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eleent
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Hello:  If you were heating very little water, it wouldn't much matter how it was heated, as the bill would be small. I would rather know why the gas heater is misbehaving so that I had the opportunity to fix it.  Applying the expensive bandaid of an electric heater, will likely have added cost every month for ever more :(  I'll add that we seem to get more posts here about misbehaving electric heaters than gas.

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Thu Nov 30th, 2006 06:25 pm
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krkotara
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Thank you for the reply.  I have another question because I've been doing a lot of research on the "new" water heaters and had two different plumbers out at the house yesterday and I've come to find out that they just don't make them like they used to!  I have an email from customer service of Kenmore admitting that they get calls from everyone, not just kenmore that these new water heaters are having problems operating as per the new congressional regualtions.  My question is, if this is the case why hasn't someone slapped Congres silly and fix their regulations so that these manufacturers can actaully make something that works.

Is there a superior water heater better and more realiable than a Kenmore/GE/Etc.?

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