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  • Pilot issue

    This past Monday I went to a client’s home where the water heater pilot did not light. I did my testing and replaced the thermocouple and re-lit the pilot. Wednesday I received a phone call that the client did not have hot water. I went back and the gas shutoff valve was turned off. Naturally I assumed the client turned the valve off for safety reasons. I re-lit the pilot and lo and behold I received another call that they again did not have hot water I arrived and found the gas control know turned to pilot.

    I then re-lit the pilot and when I went in the home to talk with the home owner I brought her out to the water heater to show her what was happening. As we walked out the door we saw the husband who is in bad condition mentally walk over to the water heater and turn it off. He was hearing noises and wanted that noise to stop while he was in the garage.

    Do you have any silly stories where the home owner unknowingly caused issues after you have made repairs?

  • #2
    Re: Pilot issue

    I had a neighbor, who I put a water heater in his house, & everytime he had his kids & grandkids from out of town come and stay, the water heater pilot would go out. Changed thermocouple everytime, but never had an issue, when it was just the 2 of them there, for months at a time.
    I thought maybe they were running tank out, & it would condense from cold water, & put pilot out.
    So finally I told him, the next time you have guests stay over, before you go to bed, go down basement, & check heater to see if pilot was out. Sure enough, the 1st night he has company, he calls me about 10pm & says pilot is out, & no one has even been using hot water.
    So I go over there at 10pm, & as soon as I walked in the door, I solved the problem.
    Because all the extra rooms for guests are on the 2nd floor ( I live in a ranch, so wasn't thinking straight I guess) it was hot up there when sleeping, so they would turn on the whole house fan, (which I didn't even know he had, since it was on 2nd floor), then walk over & open up windows. By then it was too late, & would suck air through chimney, where water heater was vented, & blow out the pilot. I relit the pilot, & had them simulate what they did when turning on fan, just to double check, & sure enough, within about 10 to 15 seconds, pilot was out.
    The only thing I can't explain to him yet, is why he never had this issue with his old water heater
    Last edited by Don the plumber; 03-27-2010, 11:36 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Pilot issue

      is the new water heater an fvir? maybe the tighter combustion air intake makes for a stiffer breeze
      No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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      • #4
        Re: Pilot issue

        The problem is the husband. He turned the gas shutoff off and then he turned the pilot knob to pilot on two different days.

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        • #5
          Re: Pilot issue

          Originally posted by Don the plumber View Post
          The only thing I can't explain to him yet, is why he never had this issue with his old water heater
          I don't know how old the "old" water heater was, but older equipment had larger pilot lights. Newer equipment is more energy efficient using less gas with smaller pilots that can obviously be extinguished more easily. I understand that old equipment had pilots that consumed about 10% of annual gas consumption, whereas more recently it's down to 2-3%.
          Time flies like an arrow.

          Fruit flies like a banana.

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          • #6
            Re: Pilot issue

            Sorry, I was replying to Don.

            Originally posted by rich34232 View Post
            The problem is the husband. He turned the gas shutoff off and then he turned the pilot knob to pilot on two different days.
            No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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            • #7
              Re: Pilot issue

              Originally posted by MoJourneyman View Post
              is the new water heater an fvir? maybe the tighter combustion air intake makes for a stiffer breeze
              This was 2001 or 2002, not an fvir heater.

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              • #8
                Re: Pilot issue

                I have a friend with a few rentals
                One had a girl in it that kept saying the wh went out
                after a few thermo cpls and a gas valve it would still go out,, she said
                We boxed it in so she couldnt get to it .. she was turning it off if she didnt hear the burner running

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                • #9
                  Re: Pilot issue

                  Had a customer, retired Marine, great guy. Called me to install a new toilet in his father's house, also Marine, probably 80 or so, who had just had a stroke. I installed the toilet; two days later, the son calls, upset. The toilet is broken. I go over and find that the fill valve has been broken off inside the tank, AND the angle stop is turned off. I try to talk with the father and he's furious, he's walking up to me like he's going to take a swing with his one good arm. I look at the son, and he's getting all steamed at me,too. I realize I'm in the middle of a whole generational dispute that really has nothing to do with me. (I think the dad was mad that he couldn't fix the toilet in his condition, and then his son got me to replace it, and the dad couldn't punch his own son, but he COULD punch the plumber!)

                  I offer to fix the toilet, no charge, which I do. The son calls me later, still furious. I apologize (although I do remind him that I did nothing wrong, AND repaired the dad's destruction for free) and suggest he may want to try a different plumber. The old coot is now someone else's problem, although I wish I had been able to get those guys to be reasonable about the whole mess; we walk into the middle of SO many family dramas in our line of work.

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