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Williams gas wall heater quit working. How to troubleshoot?

Customer Question
I have a Williams gas...

I have a Williams gas wall heater. It has been working fine all winter, but then it has stopped working...When I push the thermostat arm up it does not click like usual. The pilot is lit...there is no on/off switch on the thermostat...it just gets pushed down to the lowest degree setting to be 'turned off"...any ideas on what is going on?

Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: HVAC
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Answered in 16 minutes by:
2/8/2011
HVAC Technician: M Oglesby, HVAC Technician replied 6 years ago
M Oglesby
M Oglesby, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 2,038
Experience: Universally Certified HVACR Technician
Verified

M Oglesby :

Remove the thermostat cover and you will see a R terminal and a W terminal.

Remove the wires from the R and W terminal and twist them together. Let me know if the heat comes on or not.

Customer :

do you mean to twist red/black wires 2gethr?

M Oglesby :

How many wires are there?

Customer :

2

M Oglesby :

Twist them together and tell me what happens.

Customer :

will let u know in just a second...the screws holding the wires in place are really tight...

M Oglesby :

ok

Customer :

any concern of getting shocked while doing this - twisting the wires together...?

M Oglesby :

No this is low voltage wires.

Customer :

ok, they are twisted together and nothing is happening...

M Oglesby :

Try tapping on the gas valve with the back of a screwdriver very hard.

Customer :

with the wires twisted together or should I untwist them?

Banging on the gas valve caused nothing to happen

M Oglesby :

It sounds like you need a new gas valve. Place the wires back on the thermostat.

Customer :

We need a new gas valve even though the pilot is still lit?

Is there any special reason for putting the wires back on the thermostat as well?

M Oglesby :

Yes because the Main valve is not opening to allow the burners to light.

Customer :

and what about the wires needing to go back...

M Oglesby :

No special reason to put the wires back, except the fact that we have eliminated the thermostat as being bad so may as well put them back.

Customer :

OK, thanks for the help...how much does it cost to replace the valve...and do I need to have a plumber do this or is this a DIY kind of thing?

M Oglesby :

I would advise you to have a technician come out and replace it. That way he can check to make sure the gas valve is bad.

It usually cost about $450 to replace the valve.

Customer :

Well, what would cause the valve to just go bad all of the sudden?

M Oglesby :

wear and tear.

Check the wires to make sure they are not broken or frayed in any place.

Customer :

It is only three years old

maybe five years old...not used a whole lot either

M Oglesby :

Three years old and it has a standing pilot light?

Customer :

what does a standing pilot light mean?

M Oglesby :

Usually anything younger than 10 years uses a automatic pilot igniter.

It means the pilot flame is lit all of the time.

Customer :

on all the time? No wires are frayed by what we can tell...it is definitely not more than 5 years old

M Oglesby :

That is unusual.

It definitely sounds like the gas valve is bad.

Customer :

the pilot stays on and then when the thermostat signal kicks on it lights the burners...but there is no click that happens

M Oglesby :

And you are sure that there were only two wires at the thermostat? Is the fan coming on?

Customer :

there is no fan. it is a milli-volt thermostat. The model number is ***** 2016

This is not a forced air wall furnace...it just radiates heat

M Oglesby :

Ok

I would advise you to call a tech out to look at it.

Customer :

Will do..will let you know what the resulting action is.

M Oglesby :

ok

Customer :

I was not convinced that the answer you gave me - "it definitely sounds like the gas valve is bad" was really what the issue was. Turns out my hunch (probably my hunch leaned this way because you said it would cost $450 to replace the gas valve - more than the cost of the heating unit itself, I might add). Turns out it was the thermo-coupler - a $20 replacement. I was NOT satisfied with your answer and hope that next time you might give your on-line chatters a number of options to investigate rather than just assuming one thing based on a couple of symptoms. ? This would be more helpful in the future, since I was asked to give feedback on improvement. One last note, If I had followed your advice and "expert opinion", it would have cost me a few hundred dollars more - and I cannot afford that.

M Oglesby :

I am glad that your issue was resolved. I apologize for sending you in the wrong direction and I thank you for sharing the info with me. This will help me in the future.

Have a great Day!

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M Oglesby
M Oglesby
M Oglesby, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 2,038
2,038 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Universally Certified HVACR Technician

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