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Rick
Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 20929
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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I own a State Hot Water Heater Model Number GS640YBRT Serial

Customer Question

I own a State Hot Water Heater Model Number GS640YBRT Serial Number A05A149113. When clicking down on the Gas Control Knob when in the 'Pilot' Position, I am able to get the pilot flame lit, but when (after 1 minute; per the intructions on the hot water heater) I release the knob the pilot flame will not stay lit. Additionally, the Piezo Ignitor is not lighting the pilot flame, so I had to opt for using a long matchstick to even light the pilot flame.

My questions are:

1. What, if any parts would need replaced and what are the the correct part numbers since the State Industries website lists several different options for the thermocouple kit, however I am not sure if it would be the thermocouple, the thermostat or any other part that would need replaced:

A.(NNN) NNN-NNNNTC-K18 18 inch thermocouple kit
B.(NNN) NNN-NNNNTC-K24 24 inch thermocouple kit
C.(NNN) NNN-NNNNTC-K26 26 inch thermocouple kit
D.(NNN) NNN-NNNNTC-K30 30 inch thermocouple kit

Natural Gas Thermostat Part #(NNN) NNN-NNNN

2. What is wrong with the hot water heater that is not allowing the pilot flame to stay lit and what action would be needed in order to correct this?

3. What is the cost of a service technician to repair the hot water heater?

4. Would it be better to purchase a New Natural Gas Hot Water Heater to replace the State Hot Water Heater I currently have or purchase parts and attempt to repair it on my own or contact a service technician to come out and repair the hot water heater for me? (I found the following online at Lowe's: Whirlpool 6th Sense 40-Gallon 6-Year Gas Water Heater (Natural Gas) Item #: 333567 | Model #:N40S61-403)

Thank you,

Steve
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.

Rick the plumber :

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

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

Thank you, Rick.

Rick the plumber :

Any of these thermocouples will work in fact you don't need to get one from State a generic thermocouple is typically used for a replacement

Rick the plumber :

Replacing the thermo should keep the pilot lit

Rick the plumber :

Repair cost to replace a thermocouple in the Boston area would typically run $125 to $150

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

Thank you. My other question(s) regarding whether or not I should do this on my own, if I would be able to handle the job on my own, etc., is important as I am in the midst of a messy divorce, living in my soon-to-be-ex's home and do not want to dump a ton of money into this unless it does indeed correct the issue. And to be honest, I am not sure that she would reimburse anything to help cover the costs of the repair. (Hopefully that makes sense...)

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

Thank you for the details on the cost of the replacement part for the Thermocouple.

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

Sears Hardware? Lowe's? Home Depot? Any of those?

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

Also, I would need some instructions on how to replace the Thermocouple if you believe that will indeed correct the issue...and if so, for a non-professional plumber such as myself, how long that repair might take.

Rick the plumber :

If you have some measure of confidence with this type of repair then you could try it your self. If you do you need to make sure your gas connections are tight since you will probably need to remove the entire burner assembly to replace the thermocouple

Rick the plumber :

Your best bet for a replacement is a plumbing supply house although Home Depot or Lowes may have one as well, The only difference between thermos is the length of the copper lead

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

Good to know about shutting off the gas...makes sense, and I assumed I would need to shut of the gas. Just at the meter, correct? I mean, I could shut it off at the hot water heater itself, but should I just shut it off where it connects to the house at the meter to be safe, or just at the hot water heater?

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

Would you know what length I would need? A family friend looked at the thermocouple and said that it was not long and it was not short...but medium, if that makes any sense. (He says he has seen both short and long thermocouples.)

Rick the plumber :

No you shut the gas off at the heater. Your responses indicate to me you have no experience with this sort of thing so I would suggest you call in a pro for this repair.

Rick the plumber :

You could wind up cross threading the gas connections at the gas valve which will wind up costing you more than having a pro do it

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

I do not have experience with hot water heater replacement/installation, however I have worked in the construction industry on new builds for a super as well as working with storm, sewer and water line installation...

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

I also have a neighbor who is a licensed contractor and works with gas line...but neither of us could figure out why the pilot would not light, so that is when I called the family friend.

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

I do have pipe wrenches for the repair...just need to weigh out the cost of the repair versus the cost of a replacement hot water heater...

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

If I do attempt this repair with my neighbor or family friend, I am accustomed to using soapy water to spray on the fittings to ensure that there are no leaks as well.

Rick the plumber :

Ok, it's your call. You shut the gas cock off at the heater. Disconnect all the connections coming out of the bottom of the gas control valve (Main burner tubing, pilot tubing, thermocouple). Then remove the tubing and burner assembly. Once it's out it's easy to just remove the old thermo and replace it. Most just pull out. If you can't light the pilot with a match then the pilot orifice may be clogged. If you can then the piezo ignitor may need to be replaced but given your circumstances I'd just use a match

Rick the plumber :

A new heater (forget any brand at a big box store) will cost ~$1000 to $1200, the repair probably 1/10 that much

Rick the plumber :

that's installed average cost for a new heater

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

I see the plate on the front of the hot water heater and I believe that the thermocouple goes from the bottom of the thermostat and then where the gas control knob is located and then into the bottom of the hot water heater. Would you recommend taking the thermostat in as well to have it replaced? So, the thermostat, the thermocouple as well as the burner?

Rick the plumber :

The thermostat is in the gas control valve. It might be the source of the problem but replacing it is a last resort since it costs ~$200. You only remove the burner assembly so you can easily get to the thermo to replace it. You don't need to replace anything but the thermo at this point.

JACUSTOMER-spar9pxa- :

The 'thermo' being the 'thermocouple'?

Rick the plumber :

yes

Rick the plumber :

do you have any more questions?

Rick the plumber :

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