Plumbing Zone - Professional Plumbers Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Master Plumber
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
One of my co-workers had no hot water so I offered to check it out for him. His plumber had installed a 30 gal NG American WH around a year ago.

Could not get the pilot light to stay lit. Check the thermocouple with my little gizmo and a multi-meter. Tested OK. (Y'all use that little gizmo don't you? it goes between the thermocouple and the gas valve.)

I had a thermocouple left over from when I was in the business and had it along so he asked if he pays for it, if I would replace it anyways. Told him I don't swap parts to diagnose but hey, it's his money. Well guess what? it worked. But only for about 5 minutes. Then I couldn't get the pilot light to stay lit again. Checked the millivolts with my gizmo and it tested fine.

I ain't asking for help here. He really wants a new water heater after the reviews he found online about this model. Of course, I educated him on which brand to get. (NOT American for sure.) He is calling a plumber I recommended on Monday.

But now that I am home this is bugging me. The gas pressure checked out fine. (Manometer) The pilot light is nice and strong. Am I missing something or is the valve just bad? I don't "need" the answer like I said. It's just bugging me. All these years I prided myself on definitive diagnostics. It's been awhile since I did service. Maybe I am just rusty. But it BUGS me! LOL

BTW, the same plumber was telling them that a Bosch tankless was the best option because it was cheap and because Lowe's wouldn't carry something unless it was the best. I explained a few things to them.

Man, I love what I do but I sure did enjoy using my skills and tools again. It's hard to beat plumbing service work for being fulfilling.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
Could be just a bad magnet assembly or high limit in the control valve.....either way on that heater it would need a new control. Was it the flame lock heater? Pilot light was burning blue and the tip in the flame?
 

·
Illinois Licensed Plumber
Joined
·
4,253 Posts
Was it one of the sealed combustion FVIR type heaters? Only a year old it should of been.

So I am going to assume it was. Where is the water heater located? Same room as the washer and dryer, or a room where lots of dust is around the heater? Here is the trouble I have been running into no matter what brand is installed. The FVIR system pulls in the combustion air in through the vents on the side or bottom of the water heater and through the fine mesh screen. Over time lint, and dust gets sucked right on in and chokes off the fresh air intake. Once this happens no matter how much you can vacuum out the unit it is toast.


One way to tell is lay on your side and watch the flame, if it starts to roll or just does not look normal, that is a good indication. Then to conform this is remove the screws securing the sealed door and pull it open a little to allow air to get drawn in and see how long it stays lit this time.
 

·
Master Plumber
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It was the FIVR and the pilot light flame was perfect as was the burner flame. I check that stuff by instinct, almost.

About the time FIVR came out I stitched to new construction so I never serviced them much.

Are gas valves considered a replaceable item on FIVR WH's? This one won't be replaced. He has his mind made up. I am just curious.
 

·
Illinois Licensed Plumber
Joined
·
4,253 Posts
It was the FIVR and the pilot light flame was perfect as was the burner flame. I check that stuff by instinct, almost.

About the time FIVR came out I stitched to new construction so I never serviced them much.

Are gas valves considered a replaceable item on FIVR WH's? This one won't be replaced. He has his mind made up. I am just curious.
Yes they are replaceable. Even if you have an older non-FIVR unit the new gas valves have the wires for the FIVR, but has a jumper to bypass the heat sensor.

I have had some with perfect flames that died out right away, but when I cracked open the door they ran fine. Ended up replacing them under warranty.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
It was the FIVR and the pilot light flame was perfect as was the burner flame. I check that stuff by instinct, almost.

About the time FIVR came out I stitched to new construction so I never serviced them much.

Are gas valves considered a replaceable item on FIVR WH's? This one won't be replaced. He has his mind made up. I am just curious.
Yes you can replace the gas control on a FIVR. I think american water heater controls have left hand threads on the thremocouple connection or some of them did anyway. Rheem's FIVR also has a door that slams shut to prevent extended vapor burns in the burn chamber...once it acts the heatr must be replaced...technically. You can change the gas control although on all of them.
 

·
Master Plumber
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So is it technically possible to recondition a "blown" FIVR WH?

Or is the reason it's shot strictly liability issues?

Please understand, this is coming from a guy who even refused to install used gas water heaters for safety and liability reasons. If the manufacturer says it's a one time deal and to replace it, only a fool would assume the liability of reconditioning it.

(I fee like I have to put all these disclaimers in because a lot of the newer crowd on here doesn't know me and my passion for plumbing and for doing right. Those who know me well would know I would never do something like this and that I am just curious.)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
So is it technically possible to recondition a "blown" FIVR WH?

Or is the reason it's shot strictly liability issues?

Please understand, this is coming from a guy who even refused to install used gas water heaters for safety and liability reasons. If the manufacturer says it's a one time deal and to replace it, only a fool would assume the liability of reconditioning it.

(I fee like I have to put all these disclaimers in because a lot of the newer crowd on here doesn't know me and my passion for plumbing and for doing right. Those who know me well would know I would never do something like this and that I am just curious.)
You can replace the gas control on any of them.......however rheem's have a one shot safety door in the bottom of the heater and if it "acts" the heater must be replaced.......its a glass vile filled with oil...if the heater overheats or theres a fammable vapor burn in the combustion chamber the oil will expand in the glass vile and rupture......the spring-loaded door will slam shut and cut the air off to the heater. Technically you must replace the heater at that point.
 

·
Master Plumber
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You can replace the gas control on any of them.......however rheem's have a one shot safety door in the bottom of the heater and if it "acts" the heater must be replaced.......its a glass vile filled with oil...if the heater overheats or theres a fammable vapor burn in the combustion chamber the oil will expand in the glass vile and rupture......the spring-loaded door will slam shut and cut the air off to the heater. Technically you must replace the heater at that point.
I am familiar with how Rheem's works. But theoretically couldn't you replace the glass vial, etc? Sorry, I don't mean to be a pain. Just hashing it out in my own mind.

If you could repalce the glass vial and reset it, then why don't they allow you to do it? The answer to that will teach one a lot about the whole set up.

My dad taught me the biz. One of the ways he taught me was to tear stuff apart. A lot of times we would experiment in our shop with stuff we replaced for a customer. In doing so, I not only learned WHAT something did, but HOW and WHY. I remember taking sprinkler heads that we tore out of a job and heating the fusible links with various heat sources to see what made them melt. Stuff like that.

That's the kind of thinking that drives my questions.

Sorry if I am a pain.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
I am familiar with how Rheem's works. But theoretically couldn't you replace the glass vial, etc? Sorry, I don't mean to be a pain. Just hashing it out in my own mind.

If you could repalce the glass vial and reset it, then why don't they allow you to do it? The answer to that will teach one a lot about the whole set up.

My dad taught me the biz. One of the ways he taught me was to tear stuff apart. A lot of times we would experiment in our shop with stuff we replaced for a customer. In doing so, I not only learned WHAT something did, but HOW and WHY. I remember taking sprinkler heads that we tore out of a job and heating the fusible links with various heat sources to see what made them melt. Stuff like that.

That's the kind of thinking that drives my questions.

Sorry if I am a pain.
No your no pain but your correct on the replacement of the glass vile......they just do not sell them...I called and asked. They gave the customer a new heater and was in warranty. I propped the door open and lit the heater.....waited until the tank heated to full capacity and then pulled the shim out from under the door and shut the heater down and capped the gas line off. This gave my customer a tank of hot water for the night and allowed me to buy some time till the next morning. We live in a warm climate so it only took about 30 minutes to heat up the tank. I also just wanted to see if it would work......this was just after they came out. Rheem said they have had some problems with some installation conditions resulting in 'broken glass viles do to over-heating. This heater was in a small laundry room with no ac vent,a clothes dryer and the vent had a couple quick offsets in the vent just above the water heater. Rheem told me thats what caused the vile to break. To correct it we took the door off the utility room to allow the room to ventilate and cool off.....I also re-directed the vent with 45's instead of 90's like they had before. This allowed the vent to start "drawing" quicker and keeps its burn chamber cooler. They also said attic installs can be a problem and the attics must be properly ventilated or the heater can malfunction!!!!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,595 Posts
Rheem can KMA, I was using them for a while until this sort of thing started happening. Bradford Whites can be reset, why would anyone buy a disposable water heater like Rheem anymore that can go bad right away, then throw it away? WOW
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
Rheem can KMA, I was using them for a while until this sort of thing started happening. Bradford Whites can be reset, why would anyone buy a disposable water heater like Rheem anymore that can go bad right away, then throw it away? WOW
Because the rheem is the only one that will stop a sustained vapor burn in the combustion chamber of the water heater.......other's will continue to burn the vapor forever. So the answer would be the rheem can do somthing the bradford cannot do. You must make the judgement if that safety feature is necessary for your install or if you want it. I know whirlpool water heaters are complete and total junk!!!!!!
 

·
Illinois Licensed Plumber
Joined
·
4,253 Posts
I always thought if there is a sustained burn in the chamber the over temperature sensor will pop. Which I have seen happen a couple times. I think I rather be able to correct the problem by removing what ever the flammable vapor source is, press the reset button and re lite the heater, than having the need to go out and buy a new one.
 

·
Illinois Licensed Plumber
Joined
·
4,253 Posts
See the real trouble is people these days are so sue happy for their own ignorance.They feel it is never their own fault, when they stored a gas can in the same room with their water heater. Even though there is all sorts of labels telling you not to store flammable liquids in the same room. So now we have to install these new water heaters for other peoples stupidity and lack of common sense. Then we have to deal with pissed off customers when they run into problems with these FIVR water heaters.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
I always thought if there is a sustained burn in the chamber the over temperature sensor will pop. Which I have seen happen a couple times. I think I rather be able to correct the problem by removing what ever the flammable vapor source is, press the reset button and re lite the heater, than having the need to go out and buy a new one.
That doesn't stop the sustained burn...it simply puts the heater out but the burn has already begun and will not stop until the all vapor is completely burnt in the room. Ok but listen to my theory.....I kinda like the idea of the sustained burn.....without the sustained burn safely(thats a stretch) burning,the room would fill up with vapor and sitting be there until you go in and flip the light switch to see why your water heaters out and blowing yourself up. I like the idea of the new safety systems..... it helps protect little kids from there dumnbass parents.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8,808 Posts
That is way codes are put into place, a gas water heater before the FIVR had to be put on a stand so the ignition source was min 18" above the floor of a garage.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
That is way codes are put into place, a gas water heater before the FIVR had to be put on a stand so the ignition source was min 18" above the floor of a garage.
They didn't along time ago. Some people in bad neighborhoods will take their lawn mowers and yard eqiupment inside the utility room or even in the laundry room inside the house to keep it from being stolen. Also people where spilling gas from their gemerators during hurricanes,etc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,903 Posts
If its only a year old and needs a new control you can call the customer service dept and get $100 plus the cost of the gas valve
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top