Piezo igniter, no spark?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by pman6, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. pman6

    pman6 Member

    Feb 8, 2012
    Los Angeles
    pilot went out and wh won't light up anymore on this GE 50 gal.
    pushed the igniter and no sparks were seen.

    I removed the whole burner assembly, along with the igniter switch. Clicked it a hundred times. no spark.

    I did shock myself while holding the assembly while clicking the igniter, whatever that means.

    So I dunno what's wrong.
    Isn't there supposed to be a spark?

    I can't find an exact replacement for this igniter.

    I checked both gas lines in the burner assembly, and they both flow properly.

  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    Can you light it with a long butane lighter or propane torch?


    I am not a pro.
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  4. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Aug 13, 2013
    Do what we used to do before they had spark igniters: we used long fireplace matches or a metal coat hanger. They worked very well then. A long nose butane lighter may work too if it reaches the pilot light area near the burner.
    Just remember, you are playing with natural gas and fire.
    Looking at your 2 pictures, this pilot assembly looks worn out, so I doubt the pilot light will be able to stay on for long.
    I strongly suggest you get code compliant by replacing this water heater, let's face it, you are going to have to replace it sooner or later, might as well do is sooner.
    One thing you don't want to do is start replacing parts: gas valve, burner assemble - parts that can easily be as much as a new WH.
  5. pman6

    pman6 Member

    Feb 8, 2012
    Los Angeles
    i don't know if the assembly was damp or something.

    but this morning, I pressed the igniter, and there was a tiny spark. Barely noticeable. Maybe it was there last night and I didn't see it.
    I thought the spark would be bigger.

    I took apart and cleaned out the pilot nozzle, which had crud inside, put the burner assembly back in the wh, and it lit right up.

    up and running now.
    Reach4 likes this.
  6. mliu

    mliu Active Member

    Feb 7, 2007
    From the style of drain valve, I'd guess that water heater to be well over a decade old. And the amount of rust and metal erosion on the thermocouple and pilot flame holder indicates that this heater is on its last legs. The pilot went out for a reason.

    You should do as DJ2 suggested and replace the heater. Now that you have it working again (temporarily), you can shop around and replace it proactively, rather than as an emergency.
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