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MrFixit1

join:1999-11-26
Madison, WI
reply to tcope

Re: Water Heater Replacement

That little device with the " thin wires " is there to prevent a fire in case the thermostat goes bad and the burner area overheats . It can also open if the burner area gets to hot from lack of airflow , or if there is some blockage leading to inadequate extraction of flue gases . As simple as the device is , it usually will not fail unless a unsafe condition exists .
Soldering it back together allows it to " work " but may have compromised it's safety purpose .
I would have to strongly recommend that you replace it as soon as possible ( it will come as part of the pilot assembly )

Also , congratulations on your start on the path to being a real DIY person As you continue you will find that it can save you a lot of money and give you a lot of personal satisfaction .

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
Good advice. I'll order the pilot assembly and replace that.

I've done a lot of stuff in the course of owning two homes. Mainly because I just don't like paying someone else for something that I can do. However, most things I know nothing about and have to hope I did not misjudge the job. While I am not an expert in any repair field, I still think I tend to do a better job then most repair people as go the extra mile and spend the extra buck to make sure something is done well (in my case that usually means over-kill). For example, when installing a sprinkler system with 4 manifolds. I installed wire for 6. If I'm going to do the work, I might as well plan for the future.

I think my biggest project on my current house was moving a retaining wall and filling the yard in with about 60 yards of dirt. I also found out.... I suck at driving a Bob Cat.






tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:5

2 edits
You have an AO Smith heater OEM'd by Sears.

I fix these all the time.

There is a spark arrestor behind the black plastic screen that is clogged with lint/dust/etc, and needs cleaned, otherwise the new part you install will quickly be overheated and trashed.

Unfortunately no actual document exists to instruct you how to clean the spark arrestor, so I will detail how I have done it..

1- get a good bright flashlight, and an inspection mirror. (a womans compact will work as well if nothing else).

2- Look thru the rectangular metal holes in the bottom of your heater, at an approx 20° angle up, and you will see an 8-10" round disc in the bottom of the heater. This is the spark arrestor. It is a ceramic disc, about 1" thick, with approx 10,000 needle sized holes. This stops the spark/flame from getting out and igniting gas,thinner,stain, etc if the situation should arise.

3- Your arrestor most definitely will appear fuzzy or hairy, as anything in the room will be sucked in and stick to the arrestor. This is what you're cleaning.

4- I use a small shop vac and a 24" piece of 1/2" copper pipe with an elbow crimped onto the end, so it doesnt fall off. Duct tape the pipe to the shop vac hose for max suckage. You can duct tape the elbow to the pipe as well.

5- Lay the flashlight on the floor shining into the air intake hole, use one hand for the mirror, one hand for the pipe, and guide the elbow onto the spark arrestor so it makes a seal against the arrestor, to pull air/dirt down thru it. Move the pipe+elbow in a pattern around the arrestor to clean all the surface. Make sure to hold the elbow tight to the arrestor, or you will not clean it well, and it will burn up the pilot again.

6- Last thing, take a pair of needlenose and shake the flue baffle at the top of the heater, to make sure there isnt any scale buildup on the baffle. Ive seen a few heaters with this problem as well.

The new pilot assy you need is here:

»www.waterheaterparts.com/Advance···=%20&SN=

Or, I stock these pilots on my truck, I`ll sell ya one for 20$ shipped. PM me..

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)

tberg

join:2001-08-23
Greenville, SC
reply to tcope
Whoever installed your water heater did you a favor. It has dielectric unions right off the nipples. If you can find the same height water heater, you can just unscrew everything, put it on the new one, and screw it back together.
Most water heaters are standard height and distance between nipples.
If you can't find the same size, go with stainless steel braided hoses with 3/4 threads on the water heater end and shark bite on the other end to just slip onto your existing pipes.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to tp0d
said by tp0d:

There is a spark arrestor behind the black plastic screen that is clogged with lint/dust/etc, and needs cleaned, otherwise the new part you install will quickly be overheated and trashed.

Or, I stock these pilots on my truck, I`ll sell ya one for 20$ shipped. PM me..

That is what I call a BOAT LOAD of help! Yup... now I remember what I did a few years ago and why I left that bottle brush next to the heater. I'm going to do what you suggest as now that you mention it, this is exactly what happen last time it went out.

I'll also need to send you a PM. I cannot thank you enough.


tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:5
np


Heater

@optonline.net
reply to tp0d
said by tp0d:

You have an AO Smith heater OEM'd by Sears.

I fix these all the time.

That's a bad sign.

said by tp0d:

2- Look thru the rectangular metal holes in the bottom of your heater, at an approx 20° angle up, and you will see an 8-10" round disc in the bottom of the heater. This is the spark arrestor. It is a ceramic disc, about 1" thick, with approx 10,000 needle sized holes. This stops the spark/flame from getting out and igniting gas,thinner,stain, etc if the situation should arise.

3- Your arrestor most definitely will appear fuzzy or hairy, as anything in the room will be sucked in and stick to the arrestor. This is what you're cleaning.

My plumber refuses to install AO Smith water heaters because "they clog up all the time". Now I know what he was talking about.


magicjimmy

join:2006-03-23
Tucson, AZ
+1


tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:5
reply to Heater
said by Heater :

said by tp0d:

You have an AO Smith heater OEM'd by Sears.

I fix these all the time.

That's a bad sign.

said by tp0d:

2- Look thru the rectangular metal holes in the bottom of your heater, at an approx 20° angle up, and you will see an 8-10" round disc in the bottom of the heater. This is the spark arrestor. It is a ceramic disc, about 1" thick, with approx 10,000 needle sized holes. This stops the spark/flame from getting out and igniting gas,thinner,stain, etc if the situation should arise.

3- Your arrestor most definitely will appear fuzzy or hairy, as anything in the room will be sucked in and stick to the arrestor. This is what you're cleaning.

My plumber refuses to install AO Smith water heaters because "they clog up all the time". Now I know what he was talking about.

I am a warranty agent for AO Smith, State, Bradford white (tanks) among others for tankless. I fix all product, yet I choose to install Smith.

Smith has a new design that does not have this problem. It was introduced in mid 2008.

All 40/50gal heaters post 2003 must have a federally mandated spark arrestor. Any spark arrestor is victim to lint/pet hair/dust/construction dirt. Smith's design is cleanable. Rheem and Bradford white's is not accessible, and only can be cleaned from inside the combustion chamber with compressed air, which doesnt remove the contaminate. And rheem's older design has a glass overheat vessel, which if it overheats, you must change the entire water heater.

Dont post if you only bash.

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to tcope
I mentioned this to tp0d but now I recall what I was doing about a year ago and why I left a bottle brush next to the heater. I was cleaning off the ceramic filter. It worked then but it's not working now. This time I took tp0d's advice and I used some small PVC pipe with a 90 degree elbow. I cleaned the filter several times for several minutes. The pilot light lights up and stays lit just fine. I can turn the burner on/off several times and the pilot stays lit. But if I leave it and come back several hours later, it's out. It's been a real pain as I need to get up 30 minutes early and relight the heater. I ordered the pilot assemby from tp0d (thanks!) and I'm hoping this will take care of the problem. I'm betting it's the heat that is affecting the thermocouplar connection and not the air flow (as the burner will stay on for at least 10 minutes no problem.

I drained about 10 gallons of water out of the heater and got about 1/4 cup of grain material. It stopped coming out after a few gallons.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2

1 edit
reply to tcope
I want to thank everyone for helping out with this issue. I want to say a special thanks to tp0d for really going out of his way to help me. I bought a pilot assembly from him... well (well) under what it would have cost any place else. He also included a better wrap around screen that installs at the base of the heater. This will really help keep debris away from the air filter.

I installed the new assembly and the heater is working perfectly! No more waking up an hour early to turn the heater on just to get a lukewarm shower.

From this:



To this:







I also broke the shop vac out and cleaned up the entire area.


tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:5

1 edit
Looks good... Much better than the candle, thats prety damn funny..

I like to wrap up the pilot and t/c lines to prevent damage, but thats up to you..wont hurt operation..

I recommend cleaning the FVIR spark arrestor every 1-2yrs for best results, even with the new screen

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
I did bend them a little to make them more compact and I also installed the metal cover that goes over them. I'm guess that there are just wires in those lines so that can be bunched in a loose circle?


tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:5
yea.. .thats more of a universal part made for multiple size heaters, thats why theyre long. the thermocouple has an internal wire, but the pilot line can be kinked if you arent careful. I usually wrap them around 4 fingers before attaching them to the control

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)


mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to tcope
Well guys and girls, I just got finished cleaning up and draining my burst 50 gal 1999 Bradford White.

Guess I'll go shopping tomorrow.

And a very quick cold shower in the morning.