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Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 21357
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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I have a Bradford White gas hot water heater and the pilot

Customer Question

I have a Bradford White gas hot water heater and the pilot lite will not stay lit. Have had a problem for awhile now with the lite going out on its own. I can re-lit and heater works for a few days to a week or so. Now the pilot lite will not stay lit.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.

Rick the plumber :

Welcome to Just Answer, I will do my best to help with your problem

Rick the plumber :

Does the pilot go out when you are trying to light it and you release the pilot light button on the gas valve?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
That is correct
Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.
Then the most likely cause of your problem is a faulty thermocouple. The thermocouple is the flame sensor in the pilot flame. The first thing we would do in a case like this is replace the thermocouple
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am pretty handy. Is this something I could get a part from Home Depot or Lowes and replace myself.
Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.
Maybe, most heaters have a thermocouple that is generic and widely available maybe even at the big box stores. If you have one of these it would look something like this
the fittings that are standing up are the mounting fiitings. You would use one or the other if the existing one needs to be replaced. You will probably need to pull out the entire burner assembly to get to the thermo. Most have a friction clip holding it in place and the thermo just pulls out. When you put it back only the top 1/3 of the tip should be in the pilot flame and the connection at the gas valve must be tight but take care not to overtighten it
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I went and bought a thermocouple and was in the process of removing the burner assembly and discovered there is a reset button on the front where two wires connect to some other part. I accidently hit the button and heard a click so I thought that maybe that was some kind of a reset button. I turned gas back on and tried to lite the pilot and pilot is now staying on and water heater is working good. Thanks for your help.

Sunday morning- Well I checked on the water heater this morning and pilot lite was out. The reset button on the other part had popped out again. I have pushed the button and have re-lit the pilot. For now it is still heating the water i the tank. Do you know what this other part is called. It is a round piece that has the red reset button in the center and two wires attached and held in place with two small screws.
Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.
It's a thermal switch. It will pop if the chamber gets too hot. So you need to check that there is no obsturution in the flue passage inside the tank or in the vent. if everything is clear then the switch may be defective. You'll have to go to a plumbing supply house that sells Bradford White to get another one.