"State" Gas Water Heater- Pilot won't stay lit - replaced thermocouple

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by jeremytl, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. jeremytl

    jeremytl Scientist

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    durham, nc
    I replaced the thermocouple. It's installed correctly. I get a nice blue flame. No drafts. No water dripping on pilot light. When I go to light pilot light, I hold down the knob for 60 seconds, as soon as I let up on the knob the pilot goes out. Yes, the gas supply is turned on. Is this a faulty gas control valve? How do I test it? I had no trouble replacing the thermocouple so I may be able to replace the gas control valve?
  2. jeremytl

    jeremytl Scientist

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    durham, nc
    Please, has anyone else had the same experience with the pilot light going out after holding it down for 60 seconds and then releasing it?
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    The position of the thermocouple can be critical to its proper operation. The pilot flame must intersect the thermocouple for it to genereate the signal to tell the gas valve it's okay to light. While it shouldn't be a problem with a new one, if it is all covered in soot, that can be an issue. You may need to bend the bracket slightly to reposition it.
  4. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Typically this is a problem with the gas control valve/thermostat.
  5. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    Jim, You sure have come a long way . We talked Years ago. Kevin the old Marine
  6. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    To add to what I wrote earlier: the primary problem of many water heaters in recent years has been a failure in the gas control valve/thermostat--particularly those with Unitrol valves. For the Whirlpools (see sticky above) a primary culprit was an ECO device that would shut off the gas. If this goes you have to replace the gas control valve/thermostat. From what I've seen personally and other posts here, the replacements seem to be holding up.

    About the only time this won't work is if there is a problem with the air supply (plugged flame arrestor screen) or vent stack (back pressure/back draft.) While these were posited as primary causes for many pages of the Whirlpool WH thread, these did not explain most of the problems. The gas control valve/thermostat issue did!
  7. jeremytl

    jeremytl Scientist

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    durham, nc
    I replaced the gas valve assembly. I am back up and running. It was a fairly easy procedure.
    I thought it was suspect how readily "State" was to send me the part (under warranty of course)...they must have had a lot of problems with their short-lived gas control valves.
  8. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Everyone seems to have had trouble with the the Unitrol gas valves for awhile (including Rheem and others...BW had the same set up for awhile, but they have far fewer installed.) At some point vendors became pliant to replacing parts when people called. Anyway, glad you could repair it--it is beyond the ability of some folks. Makes way more sense trying this than throwing out a good tank many years before it fails. For awhile there were several plumbers here recommending a new WH as the first response, which was just stupid and unnecessarily wasteful.
  9. jeremytl

    jeremytl Scientist

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    durham, nc
  10. Someone's padre

    Someone's padre New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    First day off in two weeks. I slept in to 5:30am, get up find note from wife, no hot water, oh boy time for fun. Luckily master bath has it's own WH. Hot shower then figure out why main WH isn't running. I watch some YouTube videos, seems easy to replace the thermocouple. I get the burner assembly out, doesn't look simple. Find the manual, it says replace the whole pilot assembly which is $77 for the part not 10 bucks for a hardware store thermocouple. It is a State Select High Efficiency WH. Damn. Can't get one on Saturday but can order it. Somewhere on the internet it says to blow out the pilot tube, I apply compressed air, some crud comes out, I can't get the pilot to light even allowing time for gas to come through. Go to order part, all ready to put in info and CC, figure I will try one more time. Blow more air then verify it is coming out pilot end. Reassemble WH 2nd time then allow two minutes to bleed air out, click click click, pilot lights, hold button for one minute, turn knob and WOOSH main burner comes on and stays on. It finally cycled off, look in the stupid little window and there is a good looking pilot flame in there. Run the hot water for a while and WOOSH main burner comes on again which is a big relief.
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