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Keeping Pilot lit in Wind

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  • Keeping Pilot lit in Wind

    I bought and installed a Williams Gravity Direct Vent LP Wall Furnace from HD for myself.

    It works fine until the wind gets pretty gusty. The pilot doesn't go out when it's just the pilot going. When the heaters going the wind will make the pilot go out then the heater shuts down. I tried turning the pilot up but I can't tell a difference after adjustment. I'm experimenting with a baffle for the vent cap and I played with restricting the air intake some, with limited results.

    Does it sound like there is something wrong with the heater that it only goes out when it's running not when it's sitting with the pilot on?

    Any thoughts suggestions appreciated.


  • #2
    Check inlet gas pressure it should be min 11'' W.C max13'' W.C. on L.P. system. If it's to low pilot will droop when main burners run and be more likely to go out.


    • #3
      sound like the issue is the draft diverter. problem is it happens when the heater is operating with high winds. typically when the main burner shuts off the air flow changes as the burner shuts down. make sure that the sheet metal around the burner compartment is installed properly. i would contact the facory for more advice.

      phoebe it is


      • #4
        if the gas pressure is OK watch the pilot to see if the pilot gets lower when the heat comes on . check to see if the thermocouple is still in the pilot when the heat is on .

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        • #5
          Problem with checking the pressure is I'm a carpenter. None of my tools measure a water column. Whatever that is. Is there a gauge that I could buy that's not too expensive?

          I've watched it when it goes out. The fire right around the thermocouple goes out then in a few seconds the whole thing shuts down.

          I thought it might be a supply problem so I changed to a two stage fixed regulator that I bought at an RV place. I was using a regulator for a outdoor grill.
          I have a 100lb bottle with a two stage regulator then a flex hose going to about 30' of 1/2" black pipe to the heater.



          • #6
            This might sound like a dumb question but are you sure it is an LP unit? All I see on the HD web site are NG units.
            SSG, U.S. Army
            K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.


            • #7
              tacman, you're in southern calif. why not let the gas co come out and look at it. they can measure the pressure,

              a word of advise, if the problem is a danger, they will shut off the unit.
              this can be a good thing or a bad thing.

              i have a new customer that called me 2 days ago. he was having problems with his furnace. the gas co came out and determined that the main from the gas meter to his house is restricted, ( not leaking). they shut his gas off wednesday.

              personally, if the line is not leaking and this has been an ongoing problems for months. why shut off the gas to the whole house no hot water or heat.

              i'm going there today to check it.

              a real dumb question. where in southern calif do you live that you use propane? and this is southern calif. i've had to run the a/c to cool things off these last few weeks

              phoebe it is


              • #8
                I'm in Riverside County out in the stix between Hemet and Perris. Unincorperated Riverside, Nuevo mailing address.

                Yes summer came pretty early this year.

                It's tough in Calif. No seasons, 70degrees all year round.

                Actually, November of 2004 we had snow. It will snow here every 15 or 20 years.


                The HD in Hemet sells propane heaters and propane waterheaters, even a tankless one. (which I'm thinking about - $500)

                I have a guage around here somewhere that I used to check the pressure of natural gas but it was in PSI.

                Can you convert PSI to WC?


                • #9
                  i think there is 21" wc to 1 lb so if you have a gage that you can read 1/2 lb
                  then a 1/2 lb will be about 10" to 11" wc you can get it close

                  the unit will shut off if the pilot goes out Wye is the pilot going out ?

                  you say you have a long hose and then it goes into 1/2 " pipe .
                  this may be to small of hose and pipe and this is wye your pressure
                  might be low . you may need to turn the screw in on the regulator
                  a little bit about 1 full turn . try to get a gage on the heaters gas valve this will be a Allen screw on the inlet side of the valve. you may need a 1/8 to 1/4 " reducer , this depends on what size your Gage .
                  Last edited by HVAC HAWK; 02-24-2006, 04:40 PM.

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                  • #10

                    I looked up an online conversion...

                    13 Water Column [inch] = 0.469 654 794 pound/square inch [absolute]

                    Not much pressure.

                    I have a low pressure gauge for the quad tires. When you clear it, it stops on 1.5 pounds. I thought that was because there is that much pressure in the air here.

                    I'll try some measurements.


                    • #11
                      " Does it sound like there is something wrong "

                      " if you have a gage that you can read 1/2 lb..."

                      13 inch Water = 0.46897546897546904 psi

                      You would not want to pay what a gauge that can accurately read to tenths of a PSI costs, not for this one-time project anyway.

                      The accuracy of a 'standard' pressure gauge that you are likely to pick up from a local plumbing supply is +/- 5% or higher for the cheapo 2-1/2 or 3" gauges. These are fine for monitoring the pressure of a well pump or in a boiler but to set a regulator for a LP or NG appliance no way.

                      Most gauges of this grade will not read in half pound increments directly, hence they are not considered accurate to less than the smallest increment that can be read directly on the scale, and are even less accurate the the extremes of their range (the top 5% or bottom 10% of their range). You may be able to interpolate a reading less than 1 PSI, but it is only a guess, nothing more.

                      If we assume for the sake of discussion the 11" to 13" WC is correct (as Bill suggested) for your heater (we don't know yet for sure because you have not given us any specs but it sounds reasonable) , then that works out to a range of 0.396 psi (~11" H2O) to 0.468 psi (~13" H2O). do you think you will be able to see a 0.072 PSI difference on that $10 gauge? I doubt it.

                      To read accurately low pressures such as this you need a very expensive CALIBRATED gauge ($300+) or CALIBRATED manometer ($50 and up).

                      Calibrated means the gauges' performance is tested and certified by a recognized calibration lab with traceable standards back to NIST Prime instruments.

                      " Does it sound like there is something wrong " you asked.

                      Yes, it does. The wrong person is doing the work. Before you hurt yourself or someone else have this fixed by someone who knows about LP gas appliances. I don't know about California, but here the Gas Company is not likely to come out and adjust the gas pressure for a stand alone 100# bottle feeding a owner installed heater connected with a mix of hose and black pipe.

                      If you have never seen what a 100# bottle of propane can do when it blows up be glad that you haven't. What occurs is known as a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, but more commonly called BLAST LEVELING EVERYTHING VERY EFFECTIVELY). If you have a standard size building lot that needs clearing, set a couple 100# bottles in the center and cause them to explode, there will be nothing left within 100' radius.

                      If you still think you are the best person to do this work, make sure your will is up to date.
                      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



                      1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


                      • #12
                        bob, don't give my wife any ideas. think propane is bad. try an acetelyn tank

                        time to bring in the expert.

                        "hank hill from king of the hill" knows propane

                        i have a low pressure gas manometer that i bought from a hvac supply house. even with this well protected gauge, i still wouldn't trust it. a simple liquid manometer is still very accurate. a very simple on can be made with a piece of clear hose and glass pipe. keep in mind that the calibration will be 1/2'' = 1'' of water column. that is because the u tube of the manometer will be holding water on both sides. you will be pushing the water down on 1 side while lifting the water on the other side.

                        personally you do need a qualified person to check for this and make proper adjustments if needed.

                        read the new disclaimer that josh has posted for these forums.

                        "thanks plumber and the mole"

                        phoebe it is


                        • #13
                          My MIL had problems with her new propane heater. Two items surfaced (Found by professionals from a different gas company than the one she got her propane from, which is why she changed suppliers). Because of improper installation, the regulator was holding moisture, which froze when the temp got low. (I won't go into particulars about drip legs, etc.) Also, the heater instructions stated a minimum 1/2" id line. She wasn't getting the volume needed to keep the pilot on with the burners lit.
                          If either of these might be the problem, mention it when you call the company so that they can have the materials on the truck when they come out.
                          Practicing at practical wood working


                          • #14
                            My instructions say 11w.c. min 13w.c max.

                            The regulators available and that I see used around here are all fixed so there is no way to adjust the pressure anyway.

                            The 250 gallon tank for the house (that was setup by the propane supplier) uses 1/4" soft copper @ high pressure out of the tank going to the regulator mounted on the black pipe which goes underground to the house.

                            Having a bottle setup for this other heater the regulator is mounted right on the bottle so everything is low pressure. I have two flex lines that I'm going to try changing to a larger size.

                            I've had some improvement with my work on the vent cap.
                            I used this as a model:

                            We have some stormy weather forcast for next week so I can do some real world testing.



                            • #15
                              sorry i had one of those brain laps and did not even think of the cap.

                              my suppler only gives us the high wind cap thats Wye i did not even think of that


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                              new work pictures 12/09