Pilot Light Problems with Reliance 606 Water Heater.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by cchw, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. cchw

    cchw New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    California
    I believe the water heater we have was installed in Oct 2000. I'm not completely sure since we are not the original owner. For the last 2 years the water heater worked just fine. In the last month or so the pilot light went out 3 times. This last time it was very difficult to light up.

    Any one have any ideas what may be wrong? If so, any cost estimates? Or would it be better to get a new water heater.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,358
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    It's most likely the thermocoupler. Easy to change.
  3. cchw

    cchw New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    California
    Thanks for the response Gary! Appreciate all the helpful members here on this forum.
  4. cchw

    cchw New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    California
    Just a follow-up. I contacted Reliance today and found out my water heater is still under warranty. They looked it up by serial number. They will be sending me a thermocouple in the mail at no charge. Reliance has proven to be OK in my book. Also, I got some additional tips from their website regarding my issue. Hopefully it will help others in the future. See below.


    Pilot outages may be caused by many different conditions. The following are some of those conditions:

    * Lack of replacement combustion air from the outside. All gas water heaters (except direct-vented units) need replacement air from the outside through the room it is installed in. Large rooms or large basements do not supply replacement air for a heater to operate correctly. You will need to have louvered access to the outside that will supply approximately 1.7 square inches of air for every 1000 BTUs of heater input.
    * A failing thermocouple can cause the pilot to go out or to not maintain the pilot open.
    * Low incoming gas pressure can create pilot outages. The min. supply gas pressure coming to the heater on current models is 4.5 inches wc for natural gas and 11.0 inches wc for propane (refer to the label on your gas control valve for minimum and maximum for your heater).
    * Defective gas valve thermostat can cause pilot outages.
    * Condensation during the combustion cycle can "knock" the pilot out or corrode the thermocouple to the point it will not function properly.
    * Improper venting will cause pilot outages and CO spillage into the room.
    * Blocked air intakes on the bottom of the heater.
    * Missing combustion doors or improperly installed door seals.
    * Vent termination improper
  5. its not the thermocoupling

    if you can re light the unit and it stays lit for awhile,

    days or weeks, odds are

    then its not just the thermocoupling, its the high limit circuit buried in

    the actual dial or gas controll valve,,,, the heat sensor is getting weak


    and is reading the wrong temp in the water......and every so

    often it thinks its too hot and just clicks off.......

    and the circle begins again...



    you cant repair them so you should call back to those people and tell

    them you already changed the thermocoupling and what you really

    need is the whole gas controll sent to you...

    .they are worth about 60 bucks.

    they will let you do this little dance in the hopes that it takes care
    of the problem and they dont have to shell out a controll......

    but odds are you will be doing the whole change out...


    then its a matter of shutting off the water , and changeing out that
    controll..


    pull out the burner assembly and clean it off too while you are at it.





    also , could you post the link to the reliance web site please???

    thank you
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2005
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,815
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    t'stat

    The thermstat "high limit" is not only not replaceable, but it is not resettable, (it is a "one time" device), so if that was the problem, the pilot would not relight and stay on until the thermostat was replaced..
  7. cchw

    cchw New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    California
    MPM- Thanks for the additional words of advice regarding the control valve. Is changing the control valve pretty straightforward for the average do it yourselfer?

    Here's the link for the Reliance FAQ page where I found this info:
    http://reliance.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/reliance.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php

    HJ- Thanks the info too. You got me wondering now. I am able to relight pilot so maybe the "high limit" themostat on my control valve is not the problem.
  8. weak t-stat sensor

    we run into this all the time

    peolel calll me and tell me that they are constantly
    having to re-light the water heater....


    then you change the thermocoupoling only to have the same problem
    again and agiain then you go back out and change the t-stat

    and the problem is solved....

    I dont know for sure how it all comes about ,


    either it a defective sensor in the t-stat or the
    high limit in the t-stat....


    basically you got to change that square box at the bottom of the
    water heater with the
    dial thingy on it ---

    wether its the heat sensor or the high limit
    switch, I dont know wether they die out all at once or
    seem to linger for a while




    we see both happen
  9. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    pilot

    Just change the thermocouple. Takes 5min and costs about $5 and go from there......
  10. cchw

    cchw New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    California
    Good and bad news

    The story continues.... The good news is that the TC came very quickly from Reliance and I attempted to fix the water heater. The bad news is that I am still having difficulty keeping the pilot lit. Looks like you may have called it Mark. I'll be calling Reliance tomorrow to get that control valve/thermostat sent to me.
  11. Bearcatk

    Bearcatk New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Georgia
    Same issues with my heater

    I have the same problem with my Reliance 606 heater. Have been fighting it for several weeks now. I have replaced the pilot/thermocoupler kit and controller sent by Reliance. My heater will go through a heat cycle and knock the pilot out when it shuts off. I also notice that whenit cuts off the orfice burns yellow like a match for a second. The heater pilot will not relight until the heater cools doen a little bit. Sounds like this high limit circuit but it is a new control dial? They sare trying to tell me that I don't have enough air flow around the heater. This heater has ran there for 3 years and the one before that ran there for 10 years and 8 years in a smaller area. This one is in a wash room that is 6' x 12' I am stumped.

    Help!
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,815
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    t'couple

    There is more to a thermocouple than just heating it. If the flame is applied to the wrong area of the thermocouple or it gets too hot, it will shut down the burner, just as if the pilot went out. And if the pilot goes out when the burner shuts down, that is a different problem and not a thermocouple one.
  13. Jayhawker96

    Jayhawker96 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Michigan
    Pilot Light Problems with Reliance 606 Water Heater

    My pilot went out and wouldn't stay lit on my Reliance 606. I did a search and landed here where the advice was to replace the thermocuple and go from there. It turns out thats all it was. Everythings working fine now. Thanks for everyone's time and especially you Terry for making this forum available to us DIY'ers.:):):)
  14. badley

    badley New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Easy fix.

    I was having the classic problem with my Reliance 606 of the pilot light not staying lit. I was following all the diagnostic procedures that Reliance gave me with the hope I'd get some free (warranty) parts out of them. I got to the point where they wanted me to test the millivolt output of the thermocouple. The thermocouple tested good but I noticed I really had to dig the meter probe hard into the end of thermocouple to get a reading. The pilot light still wouldn't stay lit. I took the connector out of the valve body one more time and cleaned some dark oxidation of the end where it makes electrical contact. NOW the pilot stays lit ! So far, so good. Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  15. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I was trying to figure out how a cheapo water heater from 2000 was still on warranty...unitl I noticed the original OP was almost 7 years ago!

    I can understand them sending a thermocouple, but would they send a gas valve to a homeowner?????
  16. cchw

    cchw New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    California
    First and foremost, I wanted to thank all that helped on this post. I contacted Reliance and they sent me a control valve/thermostat under warranty back in 2005. I installed it and it has worked ever since although I think I just jinxed myself updating this post. :D
  17. Kellya

    Kellya New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Tennessee
    re: Reliance 606 Pilot Light Issues

    We have this heater (unfortunately) (gas)

    For 3 years we replaced thermocouplers, pilot assembly... everything. Still had periods where we had to re-light the unit several times a day.

    Finally.. we now have the fix and have not had to re-light this unit for 6 months. It is working like a champ. All we did was remove the little glass pane at the bottom. That is it... no more.

    When the heater was firing and getting hot, it was starved for air. Now that is not a problem now.

    It did not hurt to have a master plumber for a father-in-law. Just took time to finally figure out what was going on.
  18. bballard

    bballard New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    south dakota
    I know this is an old thread, but thought I would respond with my experience which may help others. I purchase the reliance 606 natural gas water heater in march of 2006. In September of 2010, I started having problems with the pilot light not staying lit. I called customer service at the time and went through the usual try this and clean this with customer service. They ended up sending me a pilot light assembly under warranty and that took care of the issue. Well this past weekend (09/28/13), I started having the same issue again. Of course now, the water heater is no longer under warranty. My local ACE hardware stocks the pilot light assembly. I bought the assembly for $42.00 and installed it. Everything is working good again. Seems like these pilot light assemblies last for about 3-4 years for me. The install isn't too bad if you are halfway mechanical. I think the main problem is the thermocoupler in the assembly going bad. I could not find just a themocoupler like the one they use, so I ended up just putting in the whole pilot light assembly. Hope this helps someone!
  19. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,815
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; It is working like a champ. All we did was remove the little glass pane at the bottom. That is it... no more.

    When the heater was firing and getting hot, it was starved for air. Now that is not a problem now.

    That solution was NOT a "fix", it was a dangerous bypass of the problem, to cure the symptom not the cause of it. The solution was to find out WHY it was being starved, not to bypass, and negate, a safety feature of the water heater. A qualified" plumber would NEVER had done that.
  20. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,314
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Do you have a ACE part number ?
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