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romr2009
romr2009, Repair Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 1782
Experience:  32 years practical systems experience: computer/phone, automotive, appliance, & electrical control
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Whirlpool water heater Whirlpool 6th Sense 50-Gallon 9-Year

Customer Question

Whirlpool water heater Whirlpool 6th Sense 50-Gallon 9-Year Tall Gas Water Heater (Natural Gas)

Item #: 333571 | Model #: N50T91-403

The Honeywell gas valve: WV8840B1042 seems to have completely quit working. No light at all, the igniter clicks and the gas is flowing, but no light off at all, even the pilot. Of course it happened last night, Friday, long Memorial Day weekend, with guests coming over, and Lowe's is absolutely NO help at all, even though the unit, the 3rd within 5 years, is less than around a year old! Any help? I really don't want to pay someone to tell me I need to contact Lowe's or Whirlpool or a plumber to get it fixed. I'd be very willing to pay for someone to tell me I need to change a battery or something and how to do it AS LONG AS IT WORKS. Retired military TIRED of the corporate idea of a quality product.....ready to go underground!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  romr2009 replied 2 years ago.
Hello Bill and thanks for choosing the JustAnswer.com Appliance category.

  • Are you saying you have spark but no ignition?

-----

 

  • Turn off the gas at the shutoff valve near the unit.
  • Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.
  • ----- Wait 20 minutes. -----
  • Turn the gas back on.
  • Re-apply power.

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There is no power cord going to an outlet? That is what is so confusing as I am looking for a battery access panel or something. There obviously must be something that provides the electrical power.
Expert:  romr2009 replied 2 years ago.
  • Try the circuit breaker box maybe it is labeled for the hot water heater.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sir,

I am telling you that there is NO electrical connection from the tank/gas valve-thermostat to ANY outlet. It is completely isolated from my home electrical system. There is no circuit breaker to check as it is not on any household electrical circuit.

Bill
Expert:  romr2009 replied 2 years ago.
  • The power is probably in an electrical conduit pipe.
  • Make sure to physically open the flue damper and/or check that the vent to the roof is not obstructed.

-----

 

  • Are you saying you have spark but no ignition?
  • Are you able to light the pilot with a match? (With the main burners off of course!)

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sir,

I have a spark but not ignition as far as I can tell. Again, I guess I'm not stating this very well, but there is NO electrical wiring going away from ANY portion of the water heater, either in a conduit or not in a conduit. If I disconnected the pipes for the water and the gas and the flue pipe, I could take it away without disconnecting ANY electrical wiring at all......there is no conduit,,,,, no wires other than those going from the valve/thermostat into the bottom of the tank! It is NOT plugged into or wired to the house AT ALL.
Expert:  romr2009 replied 2 years ago.
OK

  • You may a different ignition/valve system.
  • To start up, move the control to the pilot position.
  • Push down on the knob to allow only the gas to the pilot to flow.
  • Light the pilot.
  • Hold down the knob until the pilot heats up the millivolt generator and keeps the pilot alive.
  • Then you can release the pilot knob without the pilot going out.
  • Then move the knob to the regular on position.

 


-----

  • The pilot flame heats a safety device called a millivolt generator.
  • When hot, the generator sends a voltage to the gas valve to allow the main gas to flow through to the burner.
  • Make sure that the pilot is actually touching the millivolt generator.
  • Loosen, then tighten the connection of the millivolt generator at the gas valve.
  • If no change, replace the millivolt generator.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Kinda confused......

First, I've followed the instructions printed right on the unit, which are pretty much exactly what you have stated. The printed instructions state that I am to hold the button down in the pilot position after the flame is lit until I get a flashing LED indicating that it is ready to go. Unfortunately, after many minutes, I never get the flashing LED, or does the Pilot remain lit after I release the button. Again, I know I can call a plumber/technician, but am willing to pay for something that works if I can do it myself. So far, it isn't working. Any other suggestions?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Are you still there? Were you going to send a reply to the last message?
Expert:  romr2009 replied 2 years ago.
  • Sorry but the last post yesterday was my last before my internet connection closed for the day.

-----

 

  • The millivolt generator has to be replaced as stated in my last post.
  • Troubleshooting further requires a digital multimeter to measure the very small 200 milliVolt output.
  • Consider the generator as a heat powered battery that eventually wears out.

 

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
System is FAR less than one year old. I manually heated the thermopile, which I believe you were referring to as the millivolt generator, and I get four flashes on the LED. Obviously, the thermopile (millivolt generator) is generating electricity, so is working. I would have spent money replacing a working part.

I'm a bit concerned about your knowledge of the system as you were adamant that I had power from the water heater connected to the house.

No need to reply.....this isn't working out.
Expert:  romr2009 replied 2 years ago.

My post from 4:45 PM yesterday

  • The pilot flame heats a safety device called a millivolt generator.
  • When hot, the generator sends a voltage to the gas valve to allow the main gas to flow through to the burner.
  • Make sure that the pilot is actually touching the millivolt generator.
  • Loosen, then tighten the connection of the millivolt generator at the gas valve.
  • If no change, replace the millivolt generator.

-----

 

  • Thermopile is similar to the millivolt generator except it is more than one generator in series to make more voltage (pile means more than one).

-----

 

  • If manually heating the generator causes a response, the pilot is not properly aimed/touching/heating the generator or you are not holding down the button long enough for the generator to get hot before releasing.

 

 

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I pulled up the manual online. The four flashes mean that the system detected an overheat and I need to "replace the gas valve/thermostat". Seriously, have you ever worked on or do you really know anything about the system I have described? Again, I would have purchases a new thermocouple and it would still have needed to be replaced (the gas valve/thermostat).

It would appear that I should have started somewhere else. Thanks for your time, but I'm glad I did my own additional research.
Expert:  romr2009 replied 2 years ago.
  • That is because you manually heated the generator without noting the actual location that the pilot heats the generator.
  • I did not tell you to do that.
  • I told you to check that the pilot was properly impinging on the generator.

-----

 

  • If you wish to discontinue, just do so.
  • If you reply, the system forces me to answer before I can continue working with anyone else.
  • Good Luck.



Expert:  romr2009 replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for letting me know and congratulations!

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