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I have a Richmond 40 gal. natural gas water heater with the electric ignition. The model no. is 6G40-36F. It is 4-5 years old and vented properly. Wednesday night I heard a loud "pop" like a dish had fallen and broken. Then Thursday morning I had no hot water. The pilot light was out and I was able to re-light it immediately, but as soon as I turned up the temperature control, the burner and pilot light both blew themselves out.
I then had to wait 2 or 3 hours to repeat the process with the same results. I've replaced the thermo-coupler and made sure nothing was obstructing the vent stack or the combustion air outlets. Was that sound the combustion shutoff device tripping the water heater? If so, is the water heater dead?
It sounds like you could have a faulty gas control valve. It is the most likely culprit given what you have told me.
Rick, My wife broke down and called a plumber before I even got your response. However, the gas the control valve was his first thought too,but as he was about to start installing the new one,he noticed a spring that had pushed a plate down behind the burner assembly. He had never seen this before,so after making some calls,he found out that it was that ridiculous Combustion Shutoff Device. That was what rendered the water heater inoperable,and as luck would have it, that device CANNOT be reset on Richmond/Rheem water heaters.
It is a now a 80lb paperweight. The plumber and a tech from my local gas company both verified that it was vented properly and there was no gas leak. After all this happened, I did some research and talked to a guy that had this same issue with TWO Richmond water heaters in the same year!!! He never found out what caused the system to trip itself,and mine didn't have any reason either. I didn't have any paint cans,etc. stored anywhere near it. Anyway, thank you for the response and maybe this info can help somebody else down the road.