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Old 06-02-2014, 12:06 PM   #1
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pilot light on water heater won't light

Had the 1007 out last weekend, the pilot light to the water heater would not light. The propane tank was just filled prior to the trip so I know I have LP.

What do I try next?

Need warm showers this coming weekend for a biking event that we dry camp at..... Cold showers were a bit too much to handle.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:36 PM   #2
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When you refill you need to light the burners on the stove to get most of the air out of the lines. Then you might still have to make several tries are lighting the hot water heater but at least you are only removing air from a shorter path that all the way back to the tanks.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:56 PM   #3
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Do you have propane at all in the TT? The check valve in the pigtail may have been tripped if you opened the tank valve quickly. If the stove won't light then I'd bet that's the issue. Elder makes a good suggestion also. I have to "bleed" my gas system if its been off for a while.
3rd possibility is there's a problem at the heater. Can you hear the gas flowing when you try to light it?
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:39 PM   #4
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we used the stove on the outside connection (which seems to be the furthest LP point away) several times without issue while the water heater would not light. And I do NOT hear any propane flow coming through to the water heater(forgot to mention that.)

We bought this 1007 used, it has (1) 20lb LP tank with the Marshall 290-00 regulator. We tried last year to get the water heater to light twice and didn't have any luck then either, but showers were not an issue then. Someone else told me that a single 20lb tank may not be big enough for the entire line and that is why the heater will not light.....don't think that is accurate unless several others tell me the same, but thought I'd mention it because the previous owner installed the tank.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:56 AM   #5
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You don't specify what technique you're using to light the heater, but the trick is, there is a heat sensitive safety device inside the burner. I assume yours does not have a built in lighter, but even if it does you can light it manually. The device will not allow propane to flow unless it is hot, i.e. you're holding a lit match under it. This is so that if the flame goes out, propane flow stops.

SO.., consult your owner's manual for specifics, but generally:
1) turn the gas on at the tank and heater
2) light a match
2a) turn the knob to "light" or "pilot"
3) apply match to the little rod above where the gas comes out.. this will cause gas to flow.
4) woosh, you're lit. Switch from "pilot" to "heat"
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:51 AM   #6
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You don't specify what technique you're using to light the heater, but the trick is, there is a heat sensitive safety device inside the burner. I assume yours does not have a built in lighter, but even if it does you can light it manually. The device will not allow propane to flow unless it is hot, i.e. you're holding a lit match under it. This is so that if the flame goes out, propane flow stops.

SO.., consult your owner's manual for specifics, but generally:
1) turn the gas on at the tank and heater
2) light a match
2a) turn the knob to "light" or "pilot"
3) apply match to the little rod above where the gas comes out.. this will cause gas to flow.
4) woosh, you're lit. Switch from "pilot" to "heat"

yeah, tried all this, these directions are present inside the cover when you open it. What was not said was my directions also include 2a) turn knob to pilot, and hold down RED reset button while lighting pilot. (I assumed that holding down the red reset button allowed the LP to flow freely to light the pilot). 3a) Let pilot burn for 30 seconds before moving knob to ON. If pilot does not remain lit, repeat procedure and let pilot burn longer for 30 seconds. Then set water temperature. (while mentioning water temperature, when I turn the water temp dial below 'warm' and before I get to the icon, I can hear an audible click. It clicks when turning the dial in both directions and I assume this is normal)

Lighting by manual flame, I have no electronic lighter. I tried long stick matches and a gas grill 'trigger' lighter flame several times for both.
But if you are saying that the LP gas will not flow out unless a flame is present(or is hot enough at the tip), then maybe I am not holding my match in place long enough(?) .... but I wasn't aware it was that sophisticated. I was just figuring once you turn the knob to pilot or ON that LP gas would start flowing.....

it's hard for me to tell what's going on as we are the 2nd owners. We bought in JAN 2013 in the dead of winter. Maybe the heater was not winterized properly and there is a lot more wrong.

Maybe I can pop it up again and light the stove inside, then light the stove outside to bleed off any trapped air in the line and then try heater.

My manual states: Water Heater Switch(if so equipped)
The "propane gas" water heater switch enables propane operation of the water heater. The "electric" water heater switch enables electric operation of the water heater.


Where would this switch be located if there is 1 equipped?
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:59 AM   #7
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I installed the exact set up in my old camper. I always used a “trigger” lighter. Don't worry, it is not real sophisticated. I did have a problem once and ended up finding a dead bug in the little slotted metal tube that is under your “hot/warm” dial. Might want to check that to make sure there is nothing obstructing it if you haven’t already.
And one tank should be fine. I had 2 tanks, but I always had one tank shut off.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:18 AM   #8
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I installed the exact set up in my old camper. I always used a “trigger” lighter. Don't worry, it is not real sophisticated. I did have a problem once and ended up finding a dead bug in the little slotted metal tube that is under your “hot/warm” dial. Might want to check that to make sure there is nothing obstructing it if you haven’t already.
And one tank should be fine. I had 2 tanks, but I always had one tank shut off.
I did pull off the slotted metal tube and ran a wire pipe cleaner through the elbow tube looking for any bugs/dirt/dead mouse(LOL), it was clean, not even a cob web.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:19 AM   #9
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Gas will flow anytime you are pressing down on the red button. The thermocouple "little rod" is the device that provides a millivolt current to the main gas valve which holds the pilot valve open, allowing the pilot to burn after you release the red button. If you cannot get a flame to light while pressing and holding the red button after you are certain there is gas to the water heater then you probably have a clogged pilot orifice/tube or a bad gas valve altogether.

If the pilot will light and stay lit while pressing and holding the red button, but goes out when you release it after 30 seconds then you have a dirty, misaligned or non-functional thermocouple. Try some fine sandpaper on the outside of the thermocouple and make sure the flame is surrounding the tip of the thermocouple.

Check the orifice for an obstruction. You'll have to remove the venturi tube/air shutter assembly in order to have a look at the orifice. Remove the orifice with an appropriate sized socket and make sure it is clear. You can run a small wire or tiny drill bit through the hole, just don't make it larger!

Some gas valves have a pilot adjustment screw that will allow you to get a stronger pilot flame.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:49 AM   #10
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Gas will flow anytime you are pressing down on the red button. The thermocouple "little rod" is the device that provides a millivolt current to the main gas valve which holds the pilot valve open, allowing the pilot to burn after you release the red button. If you cannot get a flame to light while pressing and holding the red button after you are certain there is gas to the water heater then you probably have a clogged pilot orifice/tube or a bad gas valve altogether.
Yes, while holding down the red reset button, I'm not hearing/smelling any LP at all.....so it appears the line has air, or the clogged pilot oriface/bad gas valve as you mentioned.....I'll try to narrow this down tomorrow evening.
Thanks.
To clarify, this millivolt current that holds the pilot valve open, does there have to be a power source for it to be present so it works? (i.e. my 12V battery or the shore line connected) just so I understand how it works.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:57 AM   #11
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mcfarmall is much better versed on this than I am, but I will say that mine worked with no power source. Matter of fact, there was no electrical hook up (12V or 120) on my old one at all.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:26 PM   #12
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When a thermocouple bulb is heated it creates current. There is no outside power source required. See attached diagram.
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thermocouple.jpg  
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:34 AM   #13
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well I didn't have time to do a set-up check the last few days, so will have to wait and see if our showers on Saturday will be cold or hot.
I did a youtube search and found a few videos and some were good and had some pointers. In one of the videos for the Unitrol gas valve, the user stated that on his water heater that he would have to hold the Red Reset button sometimes for 30 seconds before introducing the flame to light the pilot. So maybe because I just filled and have air in the lines, I just need to hold it longer. But I will light my stove inside prior first to see if that helps.
Thanks All.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:13 AM   #14
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we had hot showers this weekend!

Mystery Solved:

Since I had disconnected the LP line to have the tank filled, air gets into the line. The suggestion to light the inside stove first may have helped to bleed out some of the air. But also adding, the directions state to hold the red reset button down while lighting the pilot. I guess a bit misleading as I thought it would light within a few seconds just like any other LP unit. It took 25-30 seconds holding down the red reset button while holding a flame between the pilot tip and thermocouple tip before the pilot would light for this first time....the 2nd time using the water heater on the next day, the pilot lit in 3 seconds, much faster.
So I guess there was air in the line and I was just not holding flame and reset button long enough.

Thanks All for the suggestions.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:20 AM   #15
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Just think how long you'd have to hold that button down if you had to bleed all the air out of the main line from the tank to the water heater. The instructions aren't misleading, they just assume that the user has an adequate supply of LP at the gas valve inlet.

You can now consider yourself an experienced water heater troubleshooter!! Next spring when you get it out of storage you'll know what to do and expect.

Glad we could help.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:40 AM   #16
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Just think how long you'd have to hold that button down if you had to bleed all the air out of the main line from the tank to the water heater. The instructions aren't misleading, they just assume that the user has an adequate supply of LP at the gas valve inlet.

You can now consider yourself an experienced water heater troubleshooter!! Next spring when you get it out of storage you'll know what to do and expect.

Glad we could help.
Right.

Not misleading per say, maybe a bit vague(?). The directions state to hold down red reset for 5 seconds and light the pilot is the part that you are saying they assume you have LP in the line and are ready "to go".
Maybe a secondary note should follow for us s
"if lighting pilot for the first time after tank disconnect/fill or a long period of non use, it may take a longer period of time than 5 seconds to light the pilot" "hold red reset button for up to 30 seconds".......something like that.
It just would have been that easy. I was doing everything right, just not long enough with the button and flame. Maybe that little fear in me that when you open up a propane line and wait 20 seconds before lighting and you get that big flare up and singe the hair off your knuckles is what was my problem.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:36 AM   #17
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Maybe that little fear in me that when you open up a propane line and wait 20 seconds before lighting and you get that big flare up and singe the hair off your knuckles is what was my problem.
To avoid a flare up, you should apply an ignition source at the pilot assembly the entire time you are holding the button down whether its for 5 seconds or 5 minutes. This applies to ANY gas fueled appliance...stove, furnace, water heater, grill...anything. My personal favorite ignition source is my trigger start propane torch that I always have by my side...I use it so much I almost need a holster on my belt for it! You can lock it "ON" and hold it by the pilot assembly till the cows come home if necessary and the wind will never blow it out.

Something to ask for with Father's day approaching is the Bernz-O-Matic TS4000. One handed operation all metal construction and has a trigger lock.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:11 PM   #18
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Great thread!

I have the exact set up and was pissed I couldn't get the pilot lit. I'll fire up the stove next time and I'll bet it works.

New here, and very happy to find this place! This is the second issue I've had help with.

You guys rock!
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:21 PM   #19
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:15 PM   #20
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Every year it is a refresher course for me whenever I try and get the heater running. All the input from everyone helped me as well. Thank you.
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