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Question DetailsAsked on 5/4/2016

When should a gas valve be replaced on a water heater . Changed thermocouple but pilot still goes off after one day

Whirlpool water about 5 years old

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2 Answers


Replace it when it fails - which in probably about 90-95+% of the time is not before the water heater needs to be replaced due to rust or leakage.

OK - to be serious - if it goes for a day before it shuts down, I really would NOT think this is a gas control valve issue - that would usually be an immediate failure, and eveary time it tries to fire, not intermittent as a day's run would imply (as it probably fired a half dozen times or more in that timeframe).

Seem to be a fair number of this type of complaint on Whirlpool and Rheem water heaters, google following search phrase for blogs and articles on it - whirlpool water heater pilot going out after a day

I would be looking at the pilot being blown out by a draft (maybe when a furnace or other appliance on the same flue kicks on or due to high wind blowing over the flue above the roof and creating a vacuum draft ?), the gas burners blowing out the pilot because the draft guard (the curved metal "finger" the pilot flame reaches up into) is oriented so the air being pulled in by the burner is putting it out, the thermocouple being only marginally in the pilot flame so during a draft it cools down enough to shut off the gas control valve, a bad contact where the thermocouple goes up into the gas control valve, with a few type thermocouples touching metal along its route (in a few mostly older types the tubing is "live"), or a safety device like a combustion chamber overtemp shutoff or flame rollout sensor kicking in (properly or because it is bad).

If a newer type with LED indicator could be the thermal "pile" - the piezoelectric generator it runs off of - is failing to provide enough voltage to operate reliably.

Or if a high-efficiency unit with forced draft flue blower unit, a bad pressure sensor or a damper failing to open or fan failing to kick on every time, or outside wind blowing into/across the flue and disturbing the pressure sensor - this is quite common on units without an extended downleg on the flue exhaust end.

If a newer unit with LED light on the panel, check your owner's manual regarding the flashing sequence code and what it means.

An experienced technician (might take a Heating and A/C tech rather than a plumber) should be able to test the voltage and resistance/inductance on the gas valve to see if it reads right, and check the thermocouple and pile (if any) AT OPERATING CONDITIONS to see it is putting out the right voltage. Of course, if you leave it sit after it goes out until the tech comes, he can also check sensors to see if one of them kicked out.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD



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Answered 4 years ago by Member Services

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