Gas water heater - pilot light trouble

ramsforeverFebruary 18, 2009

About a year old.

Pilot will not stay lit after button is released.

Changed thermo coupler, and still will not stay lit.

Is there something else that might cause this?

Thank You in advance.


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The "normal" issues are thermocouple or the flame not being aligned right with the thermocouple to get it hot enough to do the job.

Less likely is a problem with the valve.

Does this happen to be a Whirlpool water heater?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 11:55AM
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Yes, it is a Whirlpool 40 gallon.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 12:17PM
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Whirlpool Flame Lock water heaters have a known problem with the pilot light. Googling "Whirlpool Pilot light" turns up a lot of hits. Seems that sometimes a thermocouple takes care of it, other times it takes a replacement gas valve.

I would consider your options including bailing out of this heater altogether.

I don't have an answer for you. If you bought it at Lowe's, you might see what they will do for you. They are all aware of the problem now, although they will play dumb.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 4:18PM
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Make sure that the end of the thermocouple is over the pilot light. When I installed a Bradford White at my house I has the same issue. The therocouple needed to be pushed farther thru the hole in the bracket.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 9:15PM
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See Jake 2007. I have expericened it all

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 2:23AM
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This probably won't apply for you, but we had a problem with our boiler and it turned out the pilot flame had to be lit on "all sides", including the "back side" port of the pilot in order to stay lit. (imagine that we would have to see a flame split 3 ways, basically, under there).

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:43AM
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Called Whirlpool and they are overnighting a gas valve.

Someone from Sears is coming over to install it tommorow.

Thanks for the advice everyone, and I can't believe all the people having the same problem. What the hell is wrong with Whirlpool?


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 11:13AM
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I can't believe that they haven't fixed it yet.

They have to know what the problem is by now.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 1:48PM
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its all about money...cost less for them to play dumb. and send out gas valves when asked to..instead of a call back
they are playing the presentages...50 precent will fix have plumber do it,,30 cent will buy new heater,20 cent will want a new valve..they just saved big bucks, from the 80 precent....maybe!!!???..just my consperciry,paranoid, brain
working overtime,,60's and 70's coming back..oh look,,,theres a blue one....LOL LOL>...just kidden around!!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:47AM
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LOL Frodo.

I suspect you are right about the tactics about the recall/fixup thing - reminds me of Edward Norton explaining his company's formula regarding recalls in "fight club" -if it's cheaper to pay damages to victims than a recall, they don't recall.

Seems to me the answer is criminal charges for knowingly ignoring safety issues. I guess since this is a safety issue, they're covered that way and can just wait it out - never mind the fact they'll lose a lot of customers.

It pays to read, research and google. I had an image sensor in a Sony digital camera go bad, it started as purple flashes when you were looking at the camera prior to taking a picture, then the pictures themselves went that way, then it went that way permanently. Only a 2meg camera (although I love it because it's sharper than many newer, and tiny, the size of two matchboxes end to end) but I thought no harm in looking it up. Turns out, according to what I read it was a known issue and Sony supplies ccds to many other camera makers, and they offered an unadvertised free repair. Contacted sony, told them of issue, mailed it to them, camera came back free, good as new. True story.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:29PM
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The Whirlpool Flamelock water heaters class action suit pertains to Flame Lock water heaters beginning with model # FN. I have a newer Flamelock model # UG 1J5040T3NV with the same lemon issue. Purchased 1/2008. As of 5/2009 it has gone through replacements of the thermostat, pilot assembly/gas valve and not one, but two, thermocouplers. In addition, my family has experienced about a dozen days of late night showers while waiting for the water to re-heat after the pilot light had to be re-lit, plus four days of cold showers or sponge baths due to having no hot water at all when the system just wouldn't re-light. Repairs are not necessarily same day whenservicers are busy or need to order parts. Whirlpool water heaters provide job security for plumbers so they're not likely to discourage the purchase. Later, they just refer you to the servicer for 12 yr warranty! Yes, whirlpool will repair it, but I just can't stand another 10+years of repairs, so I'll be looking at my options for getting rid of this clunker. My prior heaters never had this problem. This model is sold through LOWE''s the most regretful purchase I've ever made from them. Moral of story: Research before you buy, even when under the gun for a fast replacement...because you'll end up with lots of repairs.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:02PM
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Bought my Whirlpool heater Dec of 04. It was a pain in the butt to light. Threw a lit paper towel in after i decided the ignitor wasn't working. Several years ago I drained it and it lit like it ought to. A few days ago I decided to take advantage of the warm weather and flush the sediment out.

When I went to light it. Nada. tried for at least 30 mins. never smelt gas. made a few calls before finding this site.

After reading some of the posts I figured I didn't have much to lose by lightly banging on the control while either holding a lighter to the burner or hitting the ignitor. After what finally seemed like an eternity with the lighter on the burner, I heard a Whooosh when it finally lit. We're back in hot water again. :) ... and I will never buy another cesspool hot water heater again.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:26PM
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