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Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 22001
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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New propane water heater installed by home owner was working

Customer Question

New propane water heater installed by home owner was working fine for a couple of days. Then the pilot igniting the burner doesn't light smoothly anymore, it poofs on kinda loud. Makes me a little nervous.
Its new from Home Depot. Its a RHEEM Performance Platinum 40 Gal. It has a red dial that has setting Off, Pilot, Low, Med, Hot, A,B,C. It has a push button Igniter and a flashing light that flashes blue if everything ok or red if theres a problem. Its flashing Blue.
Its located by Inside the house by Front door inside a closet. There is a vent window on the floor and one on the ceiling, Vent pipe on top of water heater to attic I assume and a pressure release valve. NO propane leaks used soapy water to test connections and no water leaks.
The details: I have used BBQ propane tanks to feed the water heater it last half a month. So every two week or so it goes empty and I change it out with new tank. Relight pilot. The two tanks are about 26 dollars a month.
Why are you thinking I doing this way you ask? In short I bought the house as fore closer
Propane was running good for about 3 months. One day the propane tank to house was all taken apart stripped off and tank was capped with a lock of some sort. The propane company responsible for the tank wanted hundreds of dollars to set up and fill tank. I was willing to fill tank when it was empty. They said it would be about 600 to 800 dollars from start to finish to set up. I said no thank you get off the property. 3 Years later they removed their tank. They said they forgot they had a tank here. Who financially lost on that deal.
My name is***** County California
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Plumbing
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.

Do you have a regulator on the tank? What is the gas supply pressure?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do not know the tank pressure. But now that mention it the regulator is probably 4 years old.
Going to one up right now.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Ok, this sounds like it could be a gas pressure problem. I'm not talking about tank pressure I'm talking about gas supply pressure at the heater.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
New regulator is wrong application. Reading online I have the propane fuel pressure is wrong. Would I be able to get an adjustable propane fuel regulator ? If so where? Are you talking about an adjustment at the actual water heater?
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

I'm talking about the regulator pressure. You can get one at any plumbing supply house. If you want to get one online or somewhere else the standard range is 11" to 13" WC. If you get an adjustable one you need to check the pressure with a gauge at the heater. While you can adjust the pressure on most gas valves I've never (in 40+ years) had to adjust a water heater gas valve pressure.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The customer service people say that its a delayed ignition and it only needs an adjustment or the burner needs to be moved slightly closer. Im not sure I agree with that. Would the the wrong regulator give me a large pilot light? it seems normal to me. Its just the burner ignition. In my foothill area theres one plumbing supply house the other does not sell to the public.
Might have to get online. Service company will get work order in a day and call me to schedule. That might be a while I am concerned. I have to go myself to do an equipment repair 4 hours away. Your thoughts
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Yes it sounds like delayed ignition but "the burner needs to be moved closer"?! closer to what? the pilot? on most models that's not a tweak you can make. The burner and pilot positions are pretty well fixed. Too much pressure could cause the gas valve to malfunction, too little pressure could require the gas to build up before it ignites (delayed ignition). Proper gas inlet pressure is critical. The folks at Rheem aren't to adept at addressing atypical issues like this.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The customer service lady said "burner closer to the pilot" Thinking I moved something while installing. Is there any other adjustment on the controller?
So i believe the fuel pressure into the water heater is key also. I would to search out regulator standard range is 11" to 13". I don't want to find myself in the holiday with no showers.
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

It's doubtful you moved anything inside the chamber unless you pulled the burner out. Even then moving the pilot closer to the burner is not usually an adjustment you can make. That distance is purposely fixed so it can't be/doesn't need to be tweaked. I suppose it's possible something was dislodged in shipping so it wouldn't hurt to take a look inside the chamber if you haven't done so already. There are cheap regulators that have a fixed range. The adjustable ones sometimes come preset for propane at 11" to 13" WC

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If we back track the water heater was working good for two days smoothly. So I am off to look for a regulator and get on the road. will keep you posted
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I called the plumbing supply house and they do not carry those regulators. I have to call a propane company to set us up with a large tank and setup fee. I am guessing that the in this county that would be a problem so the supply house does not sell regulators. Will need to try online
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

If you're going into a 20 lb tank there are quite a few that are preset and have the standard tank connection