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Deborah

Gas Water Heater Help Needed

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Need a recommendation for someone who can try to fix (or at least diagnose) an on demand gas water heater that won't ignite. Worked for a few minutes after replacing a loose regulator but not working again. Maybe has something to do with air getting into the line from the old regulator?

This is for the shop and we can't wash away chocolate with cold water!

Tried Luis Cotte, but no response.

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Emiglio del Cid (Millo) at 6674-8242 is the best water heater repairman in town.

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Always make the small investment in a new battery or batteries before you call the repairman.

You can tell a lot from how strong and loud the click, click, click of the ignition.

Also, take the regulator off the gas tank and firmly reset it on the tank.

 

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Yes, replace the battery.  Even if you hear the igniter clicking it is not necessarily getting enough juice.  Alkaline batteries are a must.  Learned all this from Luis Cotte after I nearly lost my mind trying to figure out the problem.  Other things that I have found to help:  Making sure the gas bottle has plenty of pressure (I push the valve pin down briefly with whatever small pointy object is handy...keeping my face clear of the gas )  and making sure there is no dirt in the regulator and that the pin makes good contact with the valve pin.  Hope this helps

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thanks to those who suggested batteries, but getting new batteries was the first thing I did.  Regulator is also brand new, after battery replacement didn't work (and the regulator seemed loose no matter how I re-seated it after taking it off).  Someone (no expert) who looked at it today said that it may need cleaning in the line since it seems not enough gas is getting through to ignite. Who knows?  Having exhausted the tank, regulator and battery issues, I'm calling Millo tomorrow.  Funny thing is several people have told me they had the same problem and the solution for each turned out to be different.  I guess these heaters have several problems.

Edited by Deborah

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Is it attempting to fire? Ensure that the cold water inlet filter screen is not clogged. Should be on or adjacent to the cold connection. Typically will not require a tool to remove. Turn off water. Remove cap or plug. (Blue plastic?) (Lefty-loosey! Righty-tightly!) Do not damage o-ring seal. Clean screen (perhaps cylindrical in form) and replace carefully. Turn water back on, check for leaks, check operation. The unit depends upon a minimum flow to trigger ignition and sustain burner operation. I had one where varmints chewed the insulation from the ignitor wires, causing the spark to short out. A little electrical tape fixed that. You can also check for loose wire connectors inside the jacket, or there may be a safety switch that opened -- that's like turning off a light switch. Some of these safety switches may be re-settable with a tiny red push button directly between two wires with spade connectors. Is the thing breathing right? Flue unobstructed? Air inlets in jacket and/or bottom unobstructed?

How old is the unit? Over time, the water way through (actually wound-around) the heat exchanger can become restricted with lime or other mineral build-up. This requires cleaning with vinegar, which is a bit more complicated, but can be done by anyone with proper instruction.

There are certainly YouTube videos to help you learn more about these devices! Good luck, and please report back!

Dav

State of Colorado USA

Master Plumber License #179-842

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12 hours ago, Deborah said:

thanks to those who suggested batteries, but getting new batteries was the first thing I did.  Regulator is also brand new, after battery replacement didn't work (and the regulator seemed loose no matter how I re-seated it after taking it off).  Someone (no expert) who looked at it today said that it may need cleaning in the line since it seems not enough gas is getting through to ignite. Who knows?  Having exhausted the tank, regulator and battery issues, I'm calling Millo tomorrow.  Funny thing is several people have told me they had the same problem and the solution for each turned out to be different.  I guess these heaters have several problems.

I go through these trouble shooting steps when the gas heater doesn't work:

1.  Check to see that the propane tank isn't empty.

2.  Change the battery if the tank takes two or three tries to heat, then finally comes on.  This is a sign of a low battery.  If it doesn't come on at all -

3.  Blow compressed air on the gas outlets, especially the one the spark hits.  You have to take the cover off to do this.  The compressed air can clean out carbon bits that might be blocking the jets.  Use the canned air that you use to clean computer keyboards.

4.  If none of this works, try another tank of gas.  Sometimes (though rare) you will get a bad tank of gas.

5.  As a last resort, call a repairman.

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So, Deborah, nothing at all to do with your problem but I thought I might mention my water heater "failure".  Water heater running fine this morning, at lunchtime it was dead, the igniter was trying to work but no flame.  Have had this problem before and sure enough, when I took the cover off I saw that one of the contacts was disconnected.  Fixed it and fired the heater up, working fine.  But, says I, why did this happen?  Closer inspection revealed a bunch of leaves in the hot air output hole.  A bit further inspection revealed the culprit - a possum had crawled into the heater and was nesting on the top of the heater stack.  He is still there now, I have put out cat food to lure him out tonight.  Meanwhile, cold water only.  Oh well, joys and laughs of Panama.  Moral of the story, put a mesh grate over your heater exhaust vent!

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Those darn possum's! Glad you figured it out! I did not know there are possums in Boquete!

 

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I see possums at night every now and then, mostly at night. I saw a dead one in the road yesterday.

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Jeeze... that's a big sucker! The ones we have scene in California are all white. They used to torment our dogs and eat all our tomatoes!

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We had bigger ones in Florida. And they were, without exception, foul tempered.

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That's his big brother, Keith!  Bonnie, you are right about mean.  I poked a stick in there to try to get him out, he clamped down on it with his teeth and wouldn't let go.  That's when I heard a glass of wine calling me.  Manyana.......

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Twas a happy ending.  The squatter left overnight after eating the cat food I left out for him.  The exhaust vent now has a nice cage over it.

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