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Rick
Rick, HVAC Supervisor
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 21792
Experience:  40+ yrs. experience as a licensed oil & gas technician.
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My RUUD ph2-40sf 3 year old water heater pilot light went

Customer Question

My RUUD ph2-40sf 3 year old water heater pilot light went out 2 days ago. With some persistence I got it relit but it went out again last night. Now, following the instructions on the tank, I can't get it to relight.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Welcome to Just Answer, my name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you with your issue. If my initial response doesn’t answer your question then let me know and we can continue our conversation.

You could have a dirty pilot burner orifice if you're getting a good spark. Are you comfortable removing the burner and cleaning the orifice?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Probably, as long as it's simple and accessable. I can't tell if I'm getting a good spark, tho, since it's difficult to see way down where the sight window is.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Well, simple is a relative term. You have to remove the access panel to the burner chamber, disconnect the gas tubing to the main burner and the pilot at the gas valve then pull out the burner assembly. I can't find any specs on your unit so I don't know if it has a TRD which could complicate removing the burner. So I wouldn't say it's simple for a novice. A coupe other things you could try. First check the reset button on the outside of the inner access panel to the chamber. It has 2 wires attached and small button between the wires. Push that button. If it clicks you have reset it. If it doesn't click it wasn't tripped. You could also try lighting this with a match or a grill lighter (I know it says not to). If the pilot lights then the piezo igniter might be faulty, not giving you a good spark.

Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

You'll need to remove the access panel to light this with a match

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, a friend stopped by and I was talking to him. Your take is that this probably isn't a thermo-coupler problem?
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

The thermocouple only comes into play once the pilot is lit. If you can't even light the pilot then it's not a thermocouple problem.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's what the instructions say but I could get it lit on Friday. It went out last night and now won't light. Still, probably not a thermo-couple problem?
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

If you can't light it that's not a thermo problem. Maybe, it going out could be.

Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Some new pilot assemblies have a thermal cut out device in the assembly (not the button I mentioned earlier). If this trips you have to replace the entire assembly.

Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

So if that's the case then both problems, pilot going out and not relighting, could be due to this issue

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sounds like I may have to have a professional look at it with all of these maybes and might bes.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

All I can do from here is give you the possibilities. You have to do some hands on troubleshooting to determine which is the culprit. What you can do without too much complexity is try lighting the pilot with a match.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can appreciate the difficulty on your part not being able to diagnose this offsite. I can't say that I feel I got my moneys worth, tho, since I'm not any further along than I was before we started.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

I gave you a pretty simple option, try lighting the pilot with a match. Your success there or lack of it will narrow down the possibilities.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well, Changing parts with the gas off is relatively safe. Lighting the pilot with a flame against reccomendations is not so safe.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Your advice has been worth my first $5. Hopefully you guys won't charge me the other $23.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Until pretty recently lighting a pilot with a match was the only way to light a pilot. The only reason you don't now is because of industry paranoia about extremely rare fires caused by water heaters igniting flammable vapors in the room. Changing parts if not done properly is far more dangerous than doing what we've done for decades, lighting a pilot with a match. You need to contact customer service if you ave any billing questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Paranoia and liability laws. Fair enough, I suppose its along the lines of lighting a gas grill when the igniter doesn't work. Have a nice day.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Just the same.