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Help ordering correct hot water heater parts
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raydog
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:57 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Can you post a picture of the gas valve and burner access area in detail? Do you truly have a thermopile? Or do you have a thermocouple or powerpile. Some people interchange these names. It is possible that the gas valve is faulty. Make sure the access doors and grommets are sealed up, no gaps.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2021 1:23 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

raydog, yes it is a thermopile from A.O. Smith and installed by the service provider. The pilot went out 2 more times since Monday's install. I called A.O. Smith again and now they are sending the entire heating unit which includes everything except the holding tank and computer. They also said I will not break warrantee if I install it. My colleague at school in the engineering department is intrigued and is going to help me install it as he doesn't think the gas pressure needs to be tested. I'm looking forward to the results. My brother-in-law who is a mechanical engineer said he had to replace his computer on the same unit but I think he received warning flashes which I have never gotten.

The entire unit I'm waiting to arrive looks somewhat to this:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


raydog wrote:
Can you post a picture of the gas valve and burner access area in detail? Do you truly have a thermopile? Or do you have a thermocouple or powerpile. Some people interchange these names. It is possible that the gas valve is faulty. Make sure the access doors and grommets are sealed up, no gaps.

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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:32 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Can you snap a picture if the pilot flame? It has to bathe the whole thermopile to work right.

No backdrafts on flue,and make sure no one has nested it it either?
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raydog
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:37 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

I am a little skeptical as to whether the replacement burner assembly will solve your problem. Thermopiles or powerpiles don't have a very high failure rate, this will now be your third one. Other than that, there is nothing on that assembly that will cause the pilot to randomly go out unless yours is physically damaged somehow. It is possible that the replacement assembly that they are sending is a redesign. But going from experience, I have replaced an unusually high number of gas valves on these because of intermittent pilot failures.

Also, after you remove the existing burner, use compressed air to blow out the ceramic honeycomb directly below where the pan is located. Blow from inside the water heater. This is where the heater gets its combustion air. If that gets plugged, it will also put the pilot out, but usually, the high limit trips too. Hopefully this info is correct, without having your model number, but I think what you have is a basic gas water heater that is chimney vented.

Just to add, make sure your water heater is not an LP unit being used with natural gas. You probably would have picked up on this long ago, just worth mentioning.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:14 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Well it worked for 4 years, so I doubt it is an LP on gas.

But, they could have sent you LP parts by mistake.

L...I do have the working assembly from my last cold water heater from when I went on-demand
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Abscate, I'll get that picture sometime today. I have a door to my chimney which I will open and look inside & get an image, good idea.

Abscate wrote:
Can you snap a picture if the pilot flame? It has to bathe the whole thermopile to work right.

No backdrafts on flue,and make sure no one has nested it it either?



raydog, My AO Smith water heater, model is GCR 30 400. How did you determine your gas valves not working properly and required you to replace them?


raydog wrote:
I am a little skeptical as to whether the replacement burner assembly will solve your problem. Thermopiles or powerpiles don't have a very high failure rate, this will now be your third one. Other than that, there is nothing on that assembly that will cause the pilot to randomly go out unless yours is physically damaged somehow. It is possible that the replacement assembly that they are sending is a redesign. But going from experience, I have replaced an unusually high number of gas valves on these because of intermittent pilot failures.

Also, after you remove the existing burner, use compressed air to blow out the ceramic honeycomb directly below where the pan is located. Blow from inside the water heater. This is where the heater gets its combustion air. If that gets plugged, it will also put the pilot out, but usually, the high limit trips too. Hopefully this info is correct, without having your model number, but I think what you have is a basic gas water heater that is chimney vented.

Just to add, make sure your water heater is not an LP unit being used with natural gas. You probably would have picked up on this long ago, just worth mentioning.

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raydog
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Well it worked for 4 years, so I doubt it is an LP on gas.

But, they could have sent you LP parts by mistake.

L...I do have the working assembly from my last cold water heater from when I went on-demand


An LP unit will work on natural gas, but not very well, again, this should/would have been noticed long ago.

When the water heaters were redesigned so that the flames could no longer roll out and ignite nearby combustibles, practically ever year the new design was being changed because of various design flaws causing burners, pilots etc. to go out. It came to a point where there was a class action lawsuit, and manufacturers had to replace free of charge the burner assemblies and gas valves if the customer had constant pilot outages.

LAGrunthaner's water heater was made after that whole fiasco. Now they have the type with the powerpile and gas valve with the idiot light that flashes. Back to LAGrunthaner's question. First thing to change is the powerpile and check all connections for clean and tightness. Also make sure screen and surrounding breathable belt that goes around the water heater must be clean. Last thing to replace was the gas valve, with this design 9 out of 10 times that solved the problem. If it helps, I have been doing this for 25 years.

The purpose of the powerpile is to keep the coil for the pilot solenoid, inside the gas valve, open to allow the pilot to stay lit. It also serves as a power source for the led light and electronic circuitry. A weak coil will cause intermittent problems and drop out the pilot for no reason.
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LAGrunthaner
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 3:30 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

raydog, very interesting information, thank you.

I've always used pipe dope for the fittings but my colleague who will help tomorrow wanted to use the gas tape. I've aways been told to stick with old school pipe dope. Your opinion?

Also should I replace the valve too?

I checked the chimney and it is clear and clean, looks like new in there as I try to post pics.

I personally want to know why it didn't keep the pilot light on after 4 years as much as I want it to work all the time.

I think you can see these images as I made them public. I can't figure out how to make them appear without having to click the link. Tips appreciated.
Thank you kindly, Linda

Chimney:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/51144752279/in/photostream/

Tank:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/51145074675/in/photostream/

Computer & valve:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/51143978441/in/photostream/

Stovepipe:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/51145079950/in/photostream/


raydog wrote:
Abscate wrote:
Well it worked for 4 years, so I doubt it is an LP on gas.

But, they could have sent you LP parts by mistake.

L...I do have the working assembly from my last cold water heater from when I went on-demand


An LP unit will work on natural gas, but not very well, again, this should/would have been noticed long ago.

When the water heaters were redesigned so that the flames could no longer roll out and ignite nearby combustibles, practically ever year the new design was being changed because of various design flaws causing burners, pilots etc. to go out. It came to a point where there was a class action lawsuit, and manufacturers had to replace free of charge the burner assemblies and gas valves if the customer had constant pilot outages.

LAGrunthaner's water heater was made after that whole fiasco. Now they have the type with the powerpile and gas valve with the idiot light that flashes. Back to LAGrunthaner's question. First thing to change is the powerpile and check all connections for clean and tightness. Also make sure screen and surrounding breathable belt that goes around the water heater must be clean. Last thing to replace was the gas valve, with this design 9 out of 10 times that solved the problem. If it helps, I have been doing this for 25 years.

The purpose of the powerpile is to keep the coil for the pilot solenoid, inside the gas valve, open to allow the pilot to stay lit. It also serves as a power source for the led light and electronic circuitry. A weak coil will cause intermittent problems and drop out the pilot for no reason.

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raydog
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:26 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

The installation looks fine. I personally would just use pipe dope on the fittings. The flex line to the burner and the aluminum pilot tubing , just put a small dab on the threads, just to help with getting threads started. The flare and compression ferrule do the actual sealing. Then use either dope or tape for the black iron nipple. Try to stay away from using both dope and Teflon. The Teflon can break up in small pieces and get inside the valve. At this point, I would replace the valve, along with the parts that you have received.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Im really reaching here, but maybe...

Shut off the gas upstream, and pull the debris nipple (whats the trade term, raydog) and see if maybe you got a big shot of junk from the gas main?


...sediment trap, maybe??
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

No dope on the threads of any flared fittings. It just does not work. They end up loose and leak. Teflon tape is okay to use but again it has limits.

Regular pipe thread receive dope or tape.

Tapered pipe thread receive dope or tape.

Flared fittings receive nothing!!!!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:34 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

VW_Jimbo wrote:
No dope on the threads of any flared fittings. It just does not work. They end up loose and leak. Teflon tape is okay to use but again it has limits.

Regular pipe thread receive dope or tape.

Tapered pipe thread receive dope or tape.

Flared fittings receive nothing!!!!


Nothing wrong with putting a dab of dope, or a drop of oil on the slip nut threads or on the threads of a compression fitting nut to help get the nut started, and to aid in taking the fitting apart at a later date. Just don't goop it all over the sealing surface.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
Im really reaching here, but maybe...

Shut off the gas upstream, and pull the debris nipple (whats the trade term, raydog) and see if maybe you got a big shot of junk from the gas main?


...sediment trap, maybe??


You got it!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

raydog wrote:
VW_Jimbo wrote:
No dope on the threads of any flared fittings. It just does not work. They end up loose and leak. Teflon tape is okay to use but again it has limits.

Regular pipe thread receive dope or tape.

Tapered pipe thread receive dope or tape.

Flared fittings receive nothing!!!!


Nothing wrong with putting a dab of dope, or a drop of oil on the slip nut threads or on the threads of a compression fitting nut to help get the nut started, and to aid in taking the fitting apart at a later date. Just don't goop it all over the sealing surface.


The Building Officials around here would frown and leave an unsigned permit slot. Not a good thing. Lubing threads is one things, thatís what Vaseline is for. But anything else is a fail around here.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Black iron pipe with Teflon tape T'd off of a domestic gas range supply line got a big fail in NYC...and all the piping was concealed behind the custom kitchen cabinets and though the walk in custom fitted cabinet closet to the gas grill on the terrace. Teflon could be seen at the terrace, and right at the T....
Client swore his plumber only used it there of course, and that the rest was fine. Reason we were involved was his plumber never had a rough in inspection done by the building department, and he wanted some plumber to pro certify the installation.
No one would do it.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

I noticed Linda had some galvanized to black pipe in her supply... that will get trouble in some jurisdictions here, but not others.

Iíve learned it isnít smart to argue with the code guy , either way

Any pro comment on that??
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Help ordering correct hot water heater parts Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
I noticed Linda had some galvanized to black pipe in her supply... that will get trouble in some jurisdictions here, but not others.

Iíve learned it isnít smart to argue with the code guy , either way

Any pro comment on that??


I only go talk with the "Chief Building Inspector" when there is a blatant issue. Regardless, if they send the same inspector out on the finish side, well... you might have shot yourself in the foot. I have also done that!
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