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Edward, Handyman
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 7966
Experience:  Handyman, Master Gardener
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I have a gas hot water heater. The pilot light keeps going ...

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I have a gas hot water heater. The pilot light keeps going out. It goes out so quickly now that the water is not getting hot at all. The heater is only 3/4 years old. I had someone come out and look at it and they are not sure what is wrong. They thought it could be the thermostat, but were not sure. But noted, that it looked like someone had tinkered with it before. They suggested a new hot water heater, but after they came out, it was working fine. Since the weather has changed (warmer) over the last 1/2 weeks, it has not worked properly.

Hi Customer. Thank you for asking your question on Just Answer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

What is the make of the water heater?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

The thermocouple is often the reason that the pilot light does not remain lit. Click here for information on how to change the thermocouple. Once the pilot light is staying lit, I would bet the problem will be solved. Many people fail to flush the water heater. This can keep it from heating the water efficiently. The video below shows how to flush the water heater.

Click here if you can not view the video.

Should you require further clarification, never hesitate to ask. It would be my pleasure to clarify my answer to your question. If after reviewing the above information, you have additional questions, I will be glad to answer them. My goal is your 100% satisfaction with all questions I answer.

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Edward and 2 other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Edward's Post: I just purchased the home in October w/no history as to the water heater. At first, it would stay lit for a while and then go out. Then it stayed lit consistently for about a month. Now, it lights, but it seems like it cuts off as soon as I walk away. I believe it is made by State Industries Select - Residential Gas.

If the pilot is staying lit, I would suggest that the tank and the burner should be checked. If the burner has a buildup on it cleaning is recommended. If the bottom of the tank or burner has any rust or the presents of dampness or water, a leaking tank can be the reason that the flame is not staying lit. If the problem is the gas valve, replacement of the valve will often cost very close to what a new water heater will cost. I believe the water heater comes with a 2 year warrenty on the parts and to have the parts covered would require that you be the original purchaser and have proof of purchase.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Edward's Post: That makes sense. It seems that they emptied the tank and winterized all of the items were water flowed in the house. There was water sitting in the pan and it may have been there for a month or so. I do see rusting around the air intake screen. Is that something I can clean myself? Regarding the burner, do I have to call a professional to clean that?

If there was water present in the pan, sorry to say this is a very good indication that the water heater's tank is leaking. If that is found to be the case, replacement of the water heater is the only option. If you look at the information provided in the link, it shows how to remove the burner. Once the burner is removed it can be cleaned with a wire brush. Removal of the burner will also allow a flashlight to light up the burner area inside the water heater. Any dampness present will indicate a leak. Rust is also a good indication that there is or has been a leak. Scrub this area with a wire brush, paying attention to the bottom of the tank. Replace the water heater is any moisture is found inside the burner area.