Whirlpool / AO Smith Shutting Off During Shower

The Tank Whirlpool / AO Smith Shutting Off During Shower

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  • #24684
    Dawgmom
    Participant

    My 8 yo Whirlpool tank water heater is shutting off when I shower or wash dishes. The thermostat, burner, and thermocouple have all been replaced within the last 3 – 4 years – the unit has been troubled since turning 3.

    Anyway the flame seems a bit big to me – like 3 inches high – when heating up. Color is light blue with wisps of orange at times. The flue gets hot and I can feel the heat radiate from the vent. Seems a little noisy / hissy when heating but no rumbling as I’ve heard from previous units.

    I’m thinking maybe it needs cleaning but honestly, I’m no plumber and have no clue and am just making a guess. so does anyone have any ideas or advice, please?

    #24685
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello, There are a few things to look at. I’d start by seeing if your owner’s manual has a troubleshooting section in it. That might be useful. Next I’s be concerned about airflow, both in and out of the heater. There is an inlet screen which can be cleaned. Sometimes even cobwebs which are nearly invisible can block air flow enough to cause trouble. Insufficient air can cause the pilot flame to lift off the thermocouple, particularly when the main burner is shutting off. A restricted flue can cause similar problems, in addition to putting carbon monoxide in the space where the heater lives 😯 Another thing that can cause problems is a strong exhaust fan, which can pull air down the flue and starve the water heater’s burner. One more thing to do is simply watch the heater’s burner when it fires up, runs and shuts down. You may see the flame move away from the thermocouple or some other thing, like lifting off the burner, or “floating flame” that’s wrong. Do let us know what you find. 😎
    Yours, Larry

    #24698
    Dawgmom
    Participant

    Okay. I finally have a small update on what I’ve done.

    Firstly, thanks for your reply. I usually keep the area and vents under the water heater clean. It’s a small area and my washer / dryer and furnace are in the room. So I normally vacuum and dust monthly at least. I did it again after your message because it shut off while I showered yesterday. Cleaning didn’t help.

    I also read in the manual that there is a place to adjust the flame but I’m still trying to figure out what it looks like and where it is. I did remove the controller cover and am thinking it looks more like a nut than a knob based on the generic image in the manual (of a ‘typical’ controller).

    I’ve since needed not water, so I restarted it earlier today. I’ll wait until it shuts off again before attempting to adjust. I’m slow-going because get a little anxiety when investigating as well. 😞

    Also, I did get on my roof to check the vent – FYI the furnace and water heater vent intersect and share the flew – and there is no blockage and I don’t have a fan.

    Thanks again.

    #24699
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello, A few things that might interfere with airflow are the dryer and the flue connecting both water heater and furnace. Some furnaces have a powered vent, or a fan in the vent. The water heater is probably atmospheric draft, so only uses the buoyancy of hot flue gasses to drive the venting. If the furnace has a blower in it, that will easily overpower the water heater and prevent it from drafting/venting correctly. If the room is closed up when the dryer runs, it could be pulling air down the water heater’s vent, preventing the water heater from drafting as it should. I’d be tempted to sit and watch the water heater’s flame with both the furnace and dryer turned on and off to see if these things have any affect on the water heater.

    Beyond that, it would be useful to see a photo of the control for the water heater, so we might be able to help figure out what adjustments it has and where.
    Yours, Larry
    ps, Is the water heater natural gas or propane?

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