Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
aanderud

Water Heater Issues...

8 posts in this topic

OK, someone here might have just the answer I'm looking for....

My water heater is not lighting very well. Here's the background on what I have. It's a power-vent water heater vented out the side of my house. It has a hot-surface igniter toward the bottom which lights the gas burner, and a honeywell control unit controlling the gas/ignition system.

The problem is this. When the hot water heater needs to heat water, the fan comes on at the top (the power vent), then the control unit it clicks once and the hot surface igniter glows bright red. About 5 seconds after the first click, when the igniter is good and red, the control unit clicks one more time to let gas in, and it successfully lights a nice fire (blue flame, not sure if this is normal or if it should be more orange). It burns for like 4 seconds, then the control unit clicks gain and stops the gas and it quits burning. It then waits like 30 seconds and tries again. It'll do this 4 times, then wait some number of minutes (10 or 15?), then repeat. It'll do that whole cycle (4 attempts, then a break, then repeat) like 10 times and then give up until it is power cycled.

Well, the thing is, usually it will 'take' on one of those 40 or so ignition attempts, sometimes as soon as the third or forth one...but once in a while it doesn't 'take off' at all, it goes through the 4 second burn cycle and stops and repeats until it has exhausted it's 40 cycles and quits. This forces me to power cycle the whole thing to get it to forget it tried 40 times already. It starts over and works eventually...

It seems like there's plenty of gas getting there, there's a good flame. I have tried unhooking the vent line from the top and letting it vent straight into the basement (just ONE time, not permanently!!) while it's 'having trouble', thinking there was possibly an obstruction in the PVC pipe (hornet nest or something) causing a back-flow. That did not help.

One other thing that I tried, which seems to get it to keep itself lit on the FIRST try, is if I lightly blow air in the bottom with my air compressor, sorta turbo charge it. Seems like that might point to some type of blockage preventing it from getting enough O2, but I can't tell where said blockage would be. I've blown it all out with high pressure air to try and remove any dust bunnies, etc...

What does anyone here think the problem is? I am really no home improvement guru, that's for sure. I would like to figure this out because I am almost certain that my hot surface igniter is going to wear out about 20 times faster than normal, because it has to try a bunch of times before it actually lights!

Thanks for any help you can give.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blue flame is perfect.

I dont know lots about your heater,My first attempt would be the thermostat on the heater not the wall,sounds like it may be faulty,cutting gas off. May not be called thermostat but a unit that controls gas flow on demand after glow plug makes a ignition flame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of water heater is it?

How old is it?

It could be a couple of things. Believe it or not it bight be the igniter. Cheap fix.

It could be the hoes/tube from the venter motor to the pressure switch is slightly

plugged. With the unit (off) remove the hose from the venter motor take a paper clip bent straight and probe the nipple at the venter motor. They get corrosion

in them some times.

After that it almost has to be the ignition control module. Not cheap....

Also make sure there is nothing plugging the vent pipe at the out let.

Bees, Birds, Bugs. I had one with a peanut butter jar in it once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has got to be an A O Smith heater I bet cry

Its more than likely one of two problems. The older power vents had problems with blower motors. The way to test the blower is to remove the short clear plastic tube from where it connects to the blower housing. While the heater is trying to light, suck on the plastic hose, you should hear a click, and then the heater should fire. If you keep suction on the hose and heater continues to fire, the blower is the problem. Take the blower apart and clean the squirrel cage fins very well. Also use a paper clip to clean the fitting you pulled the hose off of. Then reassemble.

Newer heaters within a few years old are having ignitor assembly problems. If your heater passes the blower test, them remove the ignitor assembly in the burner compartment. Best to just replace the assembly, but you might get a quick fix by very carefully cleaning the "flame sensor" rod with steel wool.

These are the two most common problems with power vent heaters, good luck with your fix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the ideas, fellas. Will let you know what I find out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It could be the hoes/tube from the venter motor to the pressure switch is slightly

plugged. With the unit (off) remove the hose from the venter motor take a paper clip bent straight and probe the nipple at the venter motor. They get corrosion

in them some times."

Look to see if that hose is rotted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's an AO Smith, or a few other varities, there's a good chance there is a flame rod somewhere down there. Take a look for a ceramic rod a couple inches long. On some burner models this flame rod is the same as a boiler flame scanner. If it does not detect the heat of the flame, it will tell the controller it didn't light. Your flame will be put out, go through purge, then try again.

You can sometimes clean a flame rod with alcohol and a soft cloth. DO NOT SCRATCH IT!!! if this does not work, replacements are not very expensive.

If it does not have a flame rod pay no attention to what I just typed.

Blue flame is just what you want. Yellow or orange fingertips on the end are OK, also. Orange flame is fuel rich, and not what you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its the flame sensor, I had the same problem, clean it with

0000 steel wool. Takes about 10 minutes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • I've been getting them at Costco,  I've checked slyvee and sams but never see them.  Although one of the butcher's at slyvee says he can get them which might not be a bad idea since you can have some fat cut off before you pay per #. I picked one up a couple of weeks ago and it was about 2.80 a #, which isn't too bad yet considering bacon in the store can run quite a bit more than that.  You making bacon or doing pork belly burnt ends moon lake?
    • Excellent summer fishing.  Charters catching strong numbers.  Jig/minnow or jig/leech and bouncers with spinners with crawlers or minnows still producing walleyes. When the wind is right for pulling spinners, they have been lights out.  Walleyes being caught in varying depths, 7-31' of water.  Some shallow shorelines still producing. Pike mixed in all over the lake.    Walleyes in the Rainy River with a better morning/evening bite.  Trolling cranks or pulling spinners a good idea to cover more water. Smallmouth bass are out and about along shorelines and feeder streams. Sturgeon fishing opens again Saturday, July 1st.     Up at the NW Angle, water temps are in the low to mid 60’s. Wind blown shorelines are giving up walleyes via leeches or crankbaits along the weed line. Crawlers on a  gold and/or orange spinner are producing fish out of the mud between 22 - 26 feet. On the Canadian side, bottom bouncers and spinners have been filling the livewells outside of monument bay between 24-28 feet.  Jigging near Skeet and Kennedy Islands have produced nice sized walleye and numerous perch. Great smallmouth action in Tranquil channel and the mouth of Johnston passage. Muskie fishing picking up with high 40” class fish being caught with a few 50's from shallow bottom bays or adjacent to them.
    • Busy time of year out there so if u get canceled it is hard to rebook especially with the smaller operations. Bummer though as it can be a lot of fun if they are biting. 
    • I understand that you never really know when the Warriors are going to fall off or if they even will.  Hopefully the Wolves can make the playoffs and gain some experience, maybe teach the rest of the team how to play defense, so that in a few years we are knocking on the door and can lure in a top free agent to put us over the edge.  Its just an awful tough time to be a good team right now with the Warriors so clearly heads and shoulders above everyone else.
    • I couldn't have said it better myself pikestabber!  We have to go out there and do what we can now and not try to set up for "when the warriors are old" cuz the way the NBA is going who knows what players may join forces to set up the next "Warriors" squad.  Heck maybe the Wolves will be that next team !!  I just really love the addition of Butler and from the sounds of it we are not done yet and I am excited to see what will happen in free agency and if we could really land the likes of Kyle Lowry one of the other PG's that are hitting the FA market.  Nice to see the Wolves making moves!!
    • I would ask Getanet where to get some good ones!   Pork Belly Stinks Started by Getanet, May 1
    • So that means you ALMOST caught a fish!!   Real bummer!
    • I never use soap to clean the racks. Just put them on a hot grill for a few minutes and use a brush to get the majority off.    Hmmm, Gin flavored ham, mmmmmmmm.     
    • My local meat market will sell you one. They did for a friend of mine about a year ago. If you want to take a trip to Belle Plaine I can hook you up, but you should be able to find it at a meat market near you also.
  • Our Sponsors