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Old 04-29-2016, 03:12 PM   #1
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First Trip Out (2) - Water Heater

Second post from our first trip. We have the standard 6 gallon gas water heater. Got set up, hooked up water, let the air out of the water lines (hot and cold) and then turned on water heater. Checked later in the day and the water was warm, heater not running. Turned it off and back on a few times. It would ignite the burner, burn with a good flame for a about 5 seconds then turn off. Did that a few times and then, per the book, turned it off for 15 minutes then tried again. Came on and stayed on this time. I took a nice hot shower later and assumed all was well. Decided to check again before going to bed and no, only warm water and same symptom - ignites and burns for a few seconds then shuts off. Cooked dinner on the gas range and since it did work once I assume I don't have air in the gas lines. Now back at the house and turned it on, comes on and stays on. I hate it when things work then don't then do since it will certainly work fine if I take it in for service. I plan to reseat the elect connections in the outside panel but other than that there are no adjustments or settings on the thing. Any tips? I've tried to read through all the posts re bypass valves and the link to ducktec site listed here.

I also got a good laugh - we grew up calling them hot water heaters. I know, they are water heaters and I correct myself when I say it but I do see here that I am not the only one that uses that term.
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Old 04-29-2016, 03:40 PM   #2
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Electrical connection seating is a good move. If you can get to the control board of the water heater that would be a good thing to do there too.
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Old 04-29-2016, 04:14 PM   #3
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Maybe we can start a movement to start calling them "cold water heaters"???
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Old 04-29-2016, 04:43 PM   #4
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When there's air in the line then you get the approx. 5 second shutoff after firing up. The little light beside the propane heater switch will lit. This is a normal condition. After resetting a couple times it will stay on. It usual happen when all the gas is removed from the line and the line is full of air.
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Old 04-29-2016, 04:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFlightRisk View Post
Maybe we can start a movement to start calling them "cold water heaters"???
For some having problems, it is a "cold water tank".
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Old 04-29-2016, 04:56 PM   #6
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I had that problem a few years ago and it drove me crazy!! I replaced main circuit board and it didn't fix it.
Turned out to be crazy simple.
All gas devices like water heaters and furnaces have a thermocouple, a small tube that sticks into the path of the flame and if it doesn't get hot and stay hot it shuts off the gas.
Normally, when the heater won't light or stay lit, it's because the thermocouple fails completely. But that can't be the problem when the heater burns fine sometimes.
In my case the thermocouple bracket was just slightly bent and holding it in ALMOST the right place. Most of the time it would get hot enough. But sometimes, I guess when the wind is just wrong or something, it would fall and shut off.
I bent the bracket just a little and it worked fine for years.


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Old 04-29-2016, 05:52 PM   #7
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Another common problem is a spider web inside the gas orifice. Blowing it out with air or disassembling it and blowing it out will usually fix it.

On mine. it would work when stopped but would immediately go out when I was moving. After cleaning it out, 2 years later, it still works perfect.
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Old 04-29-2016, 07:54 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the tips. I've been testing it here at the house and it's working fine now. From what I have read here I think I had air in the gas lines. I'll keep it going here at the house for a couple of days and test it a bit more before the next trip. One thing I have noticed is that the water gets REALLY hot. Hotter than I keep my house water at but, that likely means you use less hot water and can stretch it out further.
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:11 PM   #9
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One thing I have noticed is that the water gets REALLY hot. Hotter than I keep my house water at but, that likely means you use less hot water and can stretch it out further.
Exactly right. I believe fixed factory thermostats are 140 degrees with a 20 degree hysteresis. That means it could be anywhere from 130 to 150. The wife likes hot showers so I changed my electric side thermostat out for a 150 degree one so the water wouldn't get colder than 140. That stretches it out even further.
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