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Rick
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Category: HVAC
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Experience:  40+ yrs. experience as a licensed oil & gas technician.
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I have a AO Smith GDHE 50 Vertex Hot Water Heater, 2 years

Customer Question

I have a AO Smith "GPHE 50 100" Vertex Hot Water Heater, 2 years old. On the White-Rogers Intelli-Vent Control it is displaying Error Code 6 - Ignition/Flame Failure. My plumber is stumped and dumped me on AO Smith. AO Smith had me clean the flame sensor with steel wool, which did not help. AO Smith sent me a new White-Rogers Intell-Vent Control unit which I installed today and I am still having the same error on the unit. Any help would be appreciated.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Rick replied 6 years ago.

Rickheatdoc :

Welcome to Just Answer, I will do my best to help you solve your problem

Rickheatdoc :

Does the hot surface ignitor glow at start up?

JACUSTOMER-g03bld8i- :

Yes

Rickheatdoc :

What happens after the HSI glows?

JACUSTOMER-g03bld8i- :

It lights up, the burner goes on for a minute then all of the sudden shuts off completely. Then there is a clicking noise from the White-Rogers Intelli-Vent Control and the ignitor comes back on and this process continues a few times before an error code is displayed. Error Code 6.

Rickheatdoc :

The only thing left is the flame sensor. Try replacing it and the lead from it. Maybe just cleaning it wasn't enough.

JACUSTOMER-g03bld8i- :

On page 24 of the manual for the intellivent it mentions the following:

JACUSTOMER-g03bld8i- :

Gas supply is off or too low of pressure to operate.
• Insure manifold gas pressure is present and within requirement.
• Insure the flame sensor is making good contact with the burner flame. See the
Ignition and Flame Failure bulletin on page 16 and the burner check on page 18.
• Insure the flame sensor is clean - use steel wool to clean sensor.
• Insure flue restrictor (on models so equipped - see page 19) and flue baffle are
installed properly. Flue restrictor must be flush on top of flue pipe. A disloged or
missing flue restrictor/baffle can cause excessive air turbulence in the combustion
chamber - sweeping all gas away from ignitor (no ignition) or the flame away from
the sensor (short cycling burner).
• Insure vent termination restrictor (see product notification sheets at end of this
publication) is installed when required.
• Insure the ignitor is positioned correctly for consistent ignition.
• Low voltage to the water heater. Should be 115 - 125 VAC.

JACUSTOMER-g03bld8i- :

See http://www.hotwater.com/lit/training/tc070r3.pdf

JACUSTOMER-g03bld8i- :

I am not sure how to get to the flue baffle to check it. Or other things they mention....

JACUSTOMER-g03bld8i- :

I don't want to have to pay for hours-and-hours of labor for this. Yikes.

Rickheatdoc :

The flue baffle issue should have been raised by AO Smith if it was relevant. You told be you have ignition so the ignition related issues should not apply. Since you have ignition, flame rectification is the next step in the process. That's why I mentioned replacing the flame sensor. This is a fairly new model so I assume it hasn't been installed for too long and is still under warranty. If you want to avoid additional unnecessary expense I'd suggest you get back on the phone with AO Smith and tell them their solution isn't working and you want a warranty tech to come out and fix this or you want a new heater.

Rickheatdoc :

AO Smith has specially trained technicians that deal with warranty related problems. They approached me several years ago and I declined (I didn't like their terms). So, unless you live in a very rural area there probably is a local tech that can come check this out for you. Given the difficulties involved with diagnosing this problem I wouldn't recommend you try and fix this yourself.

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