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My GE water heater keeps going off immediately after burner

Customer Question
ignites. I changed the thernmocoupler...
My GE water heater keeps going off immediately after burner ignites. I changed the thernmocoupler but no change. How do you know if the Smart Shield sensor has gone off? Can you reset it?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Appliance
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
5/1/2011
Appliance Technician: Craig, Electrical Technician replied 6 years ago

Craig :

Watch the pilot flame when main burner lights. If it decreases and drops low, the thermocouple will loose signal. Tell me what happens...

Customer:

Burner lights then immediately goes off. I installed new thermocouple earlier today no change though. No visual change to pilot light.

Craig :

You have a bad 'safety coil' in the main gas valve. You will need to change the gas valve. It's allowing the little coil that holds the main gas valve open when pilot is on

Craig :

It's failing to hold open and allow gas in.

Craig :

The thermocouple produces a millivolt signal to hold open and allow main burner to light.

Craig :

Replace main gas valve on heater

Customer:

How do you know it is gas valve rather than the Smart Shield Sensor preventing ignition?

Craig :

I'm not sure about the sensor you refer to, where is it located on the heater? This water heater has a thermocouple and a pilot light and main gas valve. Where is this smart shield sensor you are asking about?

Craig :

That's the thermocouple that is the sensor

Craig :

As I said, if you have replaced it and it still goes out, it's the main valve failing when lighting, the pilot coil shuts it down.

Craig :

If the pilot flame does not change size or drop lower, it's the main gas valve failing after lighting

Craig :

Usually due to the pilot coil inside the main valve

Customer:

This is a fairly new water heater it is equipped with what is called a Smart Shield Sensor System that automatically shuts down the water heater if flammable vapors are detected. I am told that once it is tripped the water heater is done. But how do you know if it has gone off? It is located right under the main burner.

Craig :

Let me see what I can find it's not mentioned at all in the manual...

Craig :

Here is what it's for;

Craig :

Is the air flow intake clear of dust and it's open?

Craig :

It's going to shut down the pilot circuit just like the thermocouple if it senses fuel vapors like gasoline or natural gas leaking or paint fumes from igniting and blowing up

Craig :

This could be it but without being there to test it...you would have to figure out a way to by pass it and I can't tell you how to do that without being there to see it.

Craig :

I'm looking for any kind of test that may be available for that...

Craig :

I bet that it's in the same circuit that the thermocouple is to the gas valve safety relay. Look and see if the thermocouple circuit goes down to the smart shield sensor then to the gas valve. If it does, we may could bypass it to test it. See what I mean?

Craig :

If we can by pass the sensor and get it to light and run, that's it! We know it is failed.

Craig :

If you have already replaced the thermocouple, it's a very good possibility that the sensor is the problem here.

Customer:

The air intakes are clear but the actual sensor is a pop up thing right under the burner and I am not certain that it might have went off from, lack of air as my wife was using the Water heater closet for her dust mop, broom , dust pan ectera... If it was oxygen starved or overheated,might it kick the sensor and is it all done? I'm not certain what might have happened. Online I have read about some comments that indicate once it has went off, water heater is done.

Craig :

I can't find much on it.

Craig :

I don't know if I believe that it's done from going off. Why don't you call GE tech support and ask about it, I can round up a number?

Craig :

I think I would take it out and have a look...

Craig :

It's not all that to get at it.

Craig :

Water heaters are pretty straight forward but that sensor adds a new dimension

Customer:

Closed until Monday and no hot water! We must be whimps! can't take a few cold showers! well i guess we'll have to just "rough"it for a few days! Thanks for your time.

Craig :

Pull that burner out and have a look. I'd bet you can bypass that sensor for a test

Craig :

Either that or head for a cold shower...

Craig
Craig, Electrical Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 4,529
Experience: 33 years experience electrical troubleshooting industrial equipment and control systems.
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Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 4,529
4,529 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 33 years experience electrical troubleshooting industrial equipment and control systems.

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