Can't light water heater

The Tank Can't light water heater

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  • #18819
    RETIREDX2
    Participant

    I have a Kenmore Power Miser 12, by A. O. Smith, 5 yrs old and this is the first tine it has been shut off. It has worked flawlessly in the past.
    The pilot will not light using the Piezo igniter, the spark is not visible at the burner as I peek through the window. The wire appears to be in perfect condition.
    There is a 1/4″ spark at the igniter when the lead is grounded.
    The gas co replaced the meter and the heater would not re-light.

    The pilot can’t be match lit as the combustion chamber is sealed, except for the air inlet, which is through a screen.
    I am wondering if there could be some corrosion at the ignition end of the circuit which is blocking the spark. If so, how big a job is it to clean it up? Does the entire burner assembly have to be removed to gain access?

    #18820
    LazyDevil
    Participant

    Assuming this happened right away after the gas supply was turned back on after the meter change, the problem is probably air in the gas line between the meter and the water heater. Did the company representative not ensure that all the gas appliances were re-lit and working? I would call them and complain, LOUDLY.

    #18821
    RETIREDX2
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply LazyDevil.
    That was the first thing I thought of.
    As it turned out the spark generator was weak and/or partially shorting to ground.
    The service man replaced it and the pilot assembly and all is well with the world.I guess it was just bad timing that it went out at this time.
    I was talked into getting a 1 yr maint ins. plan for $200. I normally do not do this but took a gamble.
    I found that it needed a cleaning as well as new parts. I guess this model is very sensitive to dust as the air flow can be restricted and the burner will not stay lit.
    The bill would have been $323 without the ins. This is a total rip-off as it took him less than an hour, but then you pay for knowledge.
    I will get it cleaned next year before the policy runs out.
    The heater has a 12 year warranty on all parts,which came to about $80, but the labor kills you.

    The labor came to $257 which was still more than the ins. so I am as contented as I can be with something like this.

    #18823
    geno03245
    Participant

    Clean the air intake or flame arrestor or flame-trap screen using feather duster> and keep up with maintenance after extended warranty expires.
    AO Smith air intake located on bottom of heater.
    Check instruction manual for illustrations and maintenance protocol, including yearly air intake cleaning.

    The water heater might have debris filter or debris screen, but others say that these are no longer put on water heater

    #18831
    Ej
    Participant

    Honestly when I service these type of calls I see the homeowner isn’t looking in the correct position to even see the pilot. You need to get down on your knees with your face into the sight glass and look up and slightly to the left. Most people don’t lower themselves enough to see the pilot. If you don’t see it then take the lighter and unplug it where it meets the orange cable and spark the loose wire against your finger. It won’t hurt much if it is working but you will know for sure….. guaranteed. 🙂

    #18835
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello: This reminds me of the gas control knob where the lowest setting is “Hot”. It then goes “Hotter” Hottest”. It confuses people.

    I’ve never tried zapping myself with the sparker. Cheap (and effective) thrill 😎

    Yours, Larry

    #18839
    Ej
    Participant

    Larry that is how I met my wife. I zapped her with the sparker. 🙂

    #18847
    geno03245
    Participant

    Back home, we used to call that sparkin’

    #18848
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hmmm: As I always suspected, life revolves around water heating 😎

    Yours, Larry

    #20435
    socalgranny
    Participant

    Dear EJ, I registered here just to send you a thank you note for this information which you posted in Aug 2012! It was still relevant to my 3 year old Sears Kenmore Powermiser hot water heater. I was down on my knees (praying I could see the spark as well as peeking into the glass window) but not looking in the right direction. I had even turned out all the lights the better to see the tiny spark. And it is really tiny! But there it was, just as you said in the upper left rear of the pilot light chamber. From there, I followed the rest of the directions to light the pilot and then to ignite the burner. Voila! Thank you again – much obliged – so nice to find a simple solution from a knowledgeable and competent person who is willing to share that knowledge with the rest of us. My husband claims Sears makes it hard to see the spark on purpose in order to generate service calls or sell their protection agreements! But thanks to you, their scam did not work this time! Best regards, Granny in SD

    #20437
    Ej
    Participant

    Thanks for the compliment. You made me blush 🙂

    #24257
    Baruman
    Participant

    socalgranny wrote:

    Dear EJ, I registered here just to send you a thank you note for this information which you posted in Aug 2012! It was still relevant to my 3 year old Sears Kenmore Powermiser hot water heater. I was down on my knees (praying I could see the spark as well as peeking into the glass window) but not looking in the right direction. I had even turned out all the lights the better to see the tiny spark. And it is really tiny! But there it was, just as you said in the upper left rear of the pilot light chamber. From there, I followed the rest of the directions to light the pilot and then to ignite the burner. Voila! Thank you again – much obliged – so nice to find a simple solution from a knowledgeable and competent person who is willing to share that knowledge with the rest of us. My husband claims Sears makes it hard to see the spark on purpose in order to generate service calls or sell their protection agreements! But thanks to you, their scam did not work this time! Best regards, Granny in SD

    I second this emotion. This thread was a life saver in 2018!

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