DIY Gas Water Heater Repair - Pilot Light Won't Stay Lit - Status light not blinking (2023)



What's going on guys welcome back to the Hands-On Channel.

It has been a heck of a week for me here, uh for about the last four or five days.

Now, I've been messing with this hot water heater trying to get hot water to come back on and I.

Finally, got it last night and I wanted to share this with you guys because uh, this could happen to you.

It happened to me and I'm a pretty mechanical guy, but it it certainly, uh, threw me for a loop.

And what happened? Well about uh, four days ago or so five days ago I came in here after a shower, my shower ended up just being warm, not hot and I was like, huh? The pilot light must have went out.

So I came in here to re-light the pilot, light and there's a whole process to go through you have to put it on pilot, push the thing in hold it in hit the little igniter switch here.

Look in the little glass thing down there, the little window and you'll see a blue flame, and you have to hold that hold that button in until this status light comes on.

Well, the status light would never come on.

No matter how long I hold the thing.

Uh, it was like at one point, I, held it for like five minutes, and it never came on so I'm like what the heck is going on here.

And so I I got online I, couldn't, remember all the stuff, but I got online and I looked up what the voltage was supposed to be and it's in millivolts, uh, coming out of the thermo pile, there's a little device inside of here that basically sits right by the pilot, light it's like a little, uh, little, uh, probe that sticks out there right by the pilot, light and it's, a thermo pile.

They call it and it's, basically a series or a whole bunch of thermocouples, stacked up piled up on top of each other that's, why they call it a thermal pile.

So it works the same way as a thermocouple in that.

It picks up the heat off of the pilot, light and there's dissimilar Metals inside of that unit that makes it send it creates a little small voltage in millivolts, like, you know, we're talking like anywhere from 300 to 750 millivolts, is what it's supposed to create.

So I go get my volt meter I came out here.

I ran through the process.

I ran the pilot light with this unplugged and plugged into my volt meter and I was getting 700 millivolts I'm like okay, it's not that there thermal pile.

And so I also tested this switch here, which this would be the first thing you'd want to test, hopefully you can see that well enough there, the lighting's a little poor over here, but there's a switch here.

This is your thermal switch.

So if this switch here senses that things are too hot inside the chamber it'll, throw this little tiny breaker, and it will basically shut off the power to this gas valve here, which which obviously once this little bit of power gets shut off.

It closes the gas valve it's, a safety feature, right? So I.


This I, push the button, held it in for 10 seconds.

Nothing happened.

It still was doing the same thing.

So I'm like what in the hell is going on and to be honest with you.

This unit is under warranty.

So it was under a 12-year warranty.

So I called the the people that we bought it from Sears.

And essentially what they were telling me was that.

Oh, yeah, we could come out there and and do it for you, but it's going to cost you a hundred dollar bill and any parts that we want to, you know that we have to put on we're going to charge you for those and blah, blah, blah.

So I, don't know, we essentially learned that the warranty really wasn't worth the darn uh.

They certainly weren't taking my word on it because I'd already done a lot of the diagnostic testing anyway, I got another gas valve.

And the way I did that was I ended up buying a whole nother water heater that was almost identical to this, although it's a shorter fatter one and I was gonna just swap them out, uh, in fact, I did I pulled this one all the way out and I put the other one in there.

But the way my fittings are up here, hopefully you can see that it wasn't going to work out because this one water line here goes up like that.

So it wasn't going to allow me to get a long enough, uh, hose that's, the longest little flex hose.

You can buy there, it's 24 inches and I could I would have had to change things around in here.

I would have had to like turn this valve or this line right here.

And it just wasn't going to work out to put that other water heater in so I thought, you know what all the parts are exactly the same on these two water, heaters I, checked the number on the side here, and it was the same exact gas valve.

So I was thinking.

It was the gas valve since my Thermo pile was testing good.

And this was testing good.

And the way you test this is you run an ohms test on it so you're looking for resistance.

It should be zero resistance.

If you have any resistance it's, probably that thermal switch, both of those parts were testing out good according to my volt meter.

So I'm like what in the hell do I do so I ended up going and taking the uh, the gas valve off of that new water heater that I brought in and it's it's about a year old.

It wasn't brand new, but somebody was Remodeling, and they went ahead and upgraded to a on-demand unit.

And so I picked that other water heater up for a hundred dollars I was like, yeah, let's just do that rather than paying the Sears person, a hundred dollars we'll just do that.

And then I'll have the parts.

Well anyway, really long story short.

What happened was I changed the valve out I messed with a bunch of other stuff and I never could get the status light to come on and I'm thinking.

Man, what in the hell is going on? It could only be three things there's, only three electrical components on this thing, the switch the thermal pile and the valve so I'd already changed the valve out.

Because although these don't go out very often, they say they can go out so I thought, maybe the valves out, you know, the water heater is five years old, maybe it's just out, you know, so I went ahead and changed it out.

Hooked everything back up check for gas leaks.

All that everything was good went to fire.

It up same exact thing and I'm, just like what in the hell do I do now.

So in my last final attempt to repair this thing last night, I, pulled out the burner assembly, which you have to disconnect all these gas lines and be really careful turn your gas off all that stuff do it safely and I pulled out this burner assembly.

And inside the burner assembly that's, where the thermal pile lives, it's got a little bracket that's kind of a little finicky to get it out of there, but you'll figure it out it's, not super hard.

You just have to kind of work with it and there's a little clip that holds it in there.

Well, I changed the thermal pile out.

Even though it was testing good on my volt meter and wouldn't.

You know it as soon as I, put it all back together.

The status light came on and started blinking.

So the reason I'm making this video for you is I've seen a ton, a ton, a ton, a ton of videos, because I've been watching all of them on YouTube that says, basically if you're creating, you know, more than about 600 millivolts with this thermopile then it's good.

But I want to tell you that's, not necessarily true, I, don't know, if I had problem with the connection here, although I I mess with the connection, I manipulated it with some needle nose, pliers and squeezed them in a little tighter, just to make sure they were getting a good a good connection there.

And they seemed I don't think that was it I have no idea.

I still can't explain why the thermal pile that I pulled out of there was testing at 700 millivolts and not firing this thing up I have no earthly idea.

Why that happened, but like I was telling my wife, if it wasn't for bad luck.

I wouldn't, have any luck.

So I wanted to share this with you guys to just let, you know that you know, I'm a pretty mechanical guy.

But sometimes I butt my head on these things and I'm like it can't possibly be.

This I would have saved myself a lot of trouble.

If I'd have just went down first things, first and changed the thermo pile out.

But since it was testing good on my volt meter I'm, like why would I change a good part out? So just a warning to you guys, an FYI, if you have a water, heater, that's a gas or a propane, natural gas or propane unit like this one, it doesn't have to be the same brand.

This is a Kenmore, but it doesn't matter what brand it is.

They all basically work the exact same way.

You've got three electrical components in there.

And if those three electrical components are working the water heater is going to work.

The only other thing that is possible that it could be is that there's a pre-filter around the base ring of this thing and it's kind of hard to see unless you get down in there and feel it I can't show you even maybe you can see it I, don't know, but there's a filter down there.

And that filter can get clogged up if it I don't know how it tells, but if it can sense that it's not getting enough airflow through there that can help that can stop this status light from coming on somehow I have no idea how it tells that because it only has three electrical components there so I'm, not sure I think it would still try to fire to be honest with you I think the status light would probably still come on.

But uh, when I had it all apart, I cleaned everything out and there's also a thing inside there called a spark arrestor and it's, basically on the bottom of the sheet metal of the hot water, heater and it's, just like a grid or a grill type situation, it's a slotted little thing and I clean that out with a wire brush and everything while I was in there and I vacuumed everything out while I was in there, but yeah, guys I wanted to share this with you.

If you have a situation like this and your status, light will not come on.

No matter.

What you do my advice is, you know, check everything with your volt meter first, but go ahead and just change the thermo pile because it's, not that hard of a job.

It's certainly much easier than changing out a whole water, heater and it's easier than changing out this gas valve here and it's.

Also the most common thing to go bad on these things.

So even if your volt meter says, it's good, once you've checked, everything else, go ahead and change that Thermo pile and you'll save yourself three or four days of misery like I've been doing taking cold showers and stuff like that and man, I'll tell you what my wife and I were talking about I, don't know how the the frontier people made it man.

They had to go out and take a bath in a cold stream.

You know, with the wind blowing and stuff I can't, even take a cold shower for very long, I mean, I'm telling you I was hitting the ceiling.

Every time that cold water would hit certain parts of my body.

So anyway, and it would take me half a day to warm up after it happened.

So anyway, I hope that this helps you out, uh, if you've got a situation similar to that, I would just immediately order or go and buy a thermo pile.

And one other thing I want to tell you when I was thinking, it was this I called around to some of my local plumbing supply places and I asked them about this part, and they were like.

Well, yeah, we can get it for you.

And they asked me if I was a licensed, plumber and I'm, like no I'm, not and they're like, oh, well, we can't sell it to you because what they're worried about, you know, it's the nanny state they're worried about you, not getting the gas lines attached back properly, and somehow you'll blow yourself up or burn yourself down so don't do that.

And the way you test that is you take a squirt bottle with some soapy water, or you can just take a, um, you know, any kind of a soapy substance, you know, put it on your fingers or whatever and you rub.

It around the fittings while it's running while it's going.

So you know, gas is flowing through there and you're wanting to be very very careful about that sort of stuff.

You know, make sure you have no gas leaks after you're done.

So just anyways, just an FYI mine ended up being the thermal pile.

And again, it just really really, uh wrecked.

My whole week because I was in here, laying on my side, I lay it on my side so much working on this thing that I've actually bruised, my left hip just laying over looking at this thing.

So I hope that this helps you guys out.

And you won't go through the same thing that I went through and in hindsight now, I'll know for myself next time, the next time something like this happens.

The first thing I'm going to change is the thermo pile for one they're, not very much money like 20, 30 bucks and uh, it could have saved me a lot of trouble.

But now I've got the new valve on there and I'm not going to change it because it's not leaking nothing's leaking.

And after you mess with your water heater, you want to make sure that you have no leaks or anything like that and I had I had to end up pulling the thing out I did have a fitting up here that was leaking.

So I, went ahead and changed that fitting out, uh, while I had had the unit out of the closet.

It was much easier and just another little FYI for you.

If you have to end up changing these fittings, uh, it's, much easier believe it or not I've gone through this before and had to have like a big, what I ended up doing before to keep the water heater from twisting as I was trying to turn that pipe was I had to take a big ratchet strap and put it around this thing just so I could have something to hold on to so I, wasn't twisting the water heater, even though it was full of water, but because I pulled it out of the out of the closet at one point and was looking at it.

I just ended up laying the thing over on its side and then I straddled.

It and I was able to kind of just barely put some pressure down on it.

You know, by sitting on it a little bit, and then I was able to get that fitting out much much easier.

So guys, good luck to you if you're having water heater problems, I know, I know how it is man, it's a bad deal.

So I wish, you luck, change.

The thermo Thermo pile.

First, the older units had what they called a thermocouple and I would imagine it's probably the same thing that's.

The first thing, the most likely thing to go bad on these units and good luck to you on your repairs, be very, very careful trip, triple check that you have no leaks coming out around any of these fittings here, because you know, last thing you want to do is try to do a repair and end up burning your house down and blowing something up or whatever so be super careful about it.

If you have to get this part here, you may have to order it online, because you may not be able to find a local place to sell it to you I.

Don't know, it depends on what your area is like, but apparently the nanny state is alive and well here in my state.

So good luck to you guys on your repairs, I hope you get some hot water going I.

Appreciate you tuning in, and until then we'll see you next time.


Why is my status light not flashing? ›

If the pilot is lit and the status light doesn't blink after 90 seconds, go to Checking the Wiring. Make sure the two thermal switch wires are undamaged and the wire connectors are firmly attached to the thermal switch. Make sure the black connectors are firmly attached to the gas control valve.

Why is my status light not flashing on my water heater? ›

If the Status Light is not flashing, try lighting the pilot using the instructions on the water heater's label. Make sure the gas supply valve is turned ON. When lighting the pilot, make sure the knob on the gas control valve is fully pushed in.

Why is my gas water heater status light blinking? ›

If the Status Light is flashing once every three seconds, the pilot light is lit and the gas control valve is working properly. Make sure the gas control valve is turned to "Hot" and wait for the water heater to heat back up. It may take several hours for the water to heat up.

What is the status if power LED blinks? ›

Yes, if the computer is sleep or standby mode it is normal for the power light LED to flash, or blink. This lets you know the computer is still on, and that it's in a power-saving mode.

Why is the status light blinking 2 times on my Honeywell hot water heater? ›

Understanding Honeywell Gas Control Valve LED Indicators:

1 Flash: Normal operation. 2 Flashes: Thermopile low voltage. Check wiring connections and consider replacing the thermopile.

Why wont my pilot light stay lit on my gas heater? ›

If your pilot light won't stay alight, it might be the thermocouple. Sometimes dust buildup collects on the thermocouple and blocks the sensor. Try cleaning the thermocouple and then relighting the pilot light. If it continues to go out, the thermocouple might need to be replaced.

Why wont my pilot light stay lit when I release the knob? ›

If you're able to light the pilot light, but it goes out when you release the control knob, the thermocouple probably needs replacing. The thermocouple is a safety device that shuts off gas flow if it senses the pilot light is out, but when damaged it loses its regulatory ability.

What are the symptoms of a bad thermocouple on a gas water heater? ›

A worn out thermocouple is one of the most common gas water heater problems. When thermocouples wear out, the pilot light goes out, the burner won't light, and you will have no hot water.

How do I know if my thermocouple is bad? ›

If the pilot flame ignites but goes out after you release the gas control knob, the cause may be a dirty or defective thermocouple. If the gas is on but the flame will not ignite at all, a pilot tube obstruction is the most likely issue.

How much does it cost to replace a thermocouple? ›

Thermocouple – $20 to $150

Repairs typically cost about $150 to have it done professionally, though a new thermocouple itself only costs about $20 on average.

Can you clean a thermocouple? ›

Yes, you can clean a thermocouple, but the task must be done with a light touch. Remove the thermocouple from the process assembly, using a steel wool or emery cloth, lightly clean the tip removing any build up. Cleaning a thermocouple is not a fix for an issue, such as inaccurate readings.

How long does LED flashing last? ›

If lead flashing is installed properly, it can last for decades. However, when it cracks or comes loose, it can lead to much bigger problems if it's not repaired quickly.

How do you reset LED power? ›

There is no way to reset it other than unplugging and plugging back in again, usually after a power outage. If you have LED lights that turn on at random times during the day, then this likely needs to be done.

Are LED lights always blinking? ›

Because LED flicker is caused by your electricity supply, some people believe it can be avoided completely as long as the power input (current and voltage) remains constant. This isn't true. All mains-powered light sources flicker, all the time.

What does the status light mean on a water heater? ›

The purpose of the status light is to show the whether or not the water heater is working properly. It will usually indicate 'normal operation', but may indicate something else, especially if you've unexpectedly run out of hot water.

How long do hot water heaters last? ›

Tankless water heaters typically have a lifespan of 20 years or more. Traditional water heaters with standing water tanks can last around 10 to 15 years before you notice signs of age.

How do you clean a Honeywell thermocouple? ›

Cleaning the thermocouple

You can use Emery cloth sandpaper to gently clean any debris or build-up from the end of the thermocouple. If present, you should also clean off any corrosion where the power wire connects to the thermocouple terminal.

How long to press reset button on water heater? ›

For electric tanks, you need to wait for approximately an hour to an hour and a half.

Why does my pilot light start then go out? ›

Dirty or Damaged Thermocouple Explains Why Pilot Light Keep Going Out. A faulty, misaligned, dirty, or damaged thermocouple is often the culprit behind your pilot light going out. The thermocouple is an automatic safety shutoff device that prevents the gas valve from opening if the pilot light is out.

Can a bad thermocouple cause pilot light to go out? ›

Thermocouple Malfunction

A thermocouple that is dirty or malfunctioning will often shut off your gas supply in error, causing the pilot light to go out and your furnace to stop working.

Should the pilot light stay on? ›

When a gas fireplace is turned on, the gas going into the fireplace hits this flame. In doing so, the pilot light serves as an ignition point for the entire fireplace. The pilot light needs to run continuously because, without it, the gas going into the fireplace would not have an ignition point.

How do you test a pilot thermocouple? ›

Here's how to test a suspected thermocouple in a gas operated water heater:
  1. Light the pilot by pressing and holding the pilot light button on the gas control valve. ...
  2. Continue pressing the pilot button for 30 to 60 seconds after lighting the pilot light.
  3. Release the button.
Jun 2, 2011

Can you light a water heater with a bad thermocouple? ›

A thermocouple senses the heat of the pilot and allows gas to flow to the burner. A bad thermocouple will shut off gas to both the pilot and the burner so the pilot light won't stay lit.

Why won't my pilot light ignite? ›

In many cases, the reason that you can't get your pilot light to ignite is that the pilot tube is clogged. This is a small metal tube that supplies the gas needed to ignite the pilot and keep it lit. The pilot tube often becomes clogged with debris, and this will prevent gas from flowing to the pilot light.

Can you manually light a gas water heater with electronic ignition? ›

* Caution: Most modern water heaters no longer use standing pilots. They use electronic ignition to ignite the gas. Do not attempt to manually light an electronic ignition system.

What is the most common problem with water heaters? ›

Water leaks are perhaps the most common type of water heater issue you'll face. Any water heater will start to leak eventually, as by nature water will eventually corrode your tank and create microscopic cracks or fractures. However, this isn't always a sign that your tank is what's leaking.

Why is my hot water heater not turning on? ›

Check Your Power

One of the most common issues is that a hot water heater is not receiving power. First, check the circuit breaker or fuse box. If the breaker has been tripped or a fuse has blown, it will need to be reset or replaced before you can continue using your water heater.

How do you know when you need a new water heater? ›

If you're experiencing inconsistent hot water or if you're unable to maintain a constant temperature, your hot water heater is likely nearing the end of its life. An ideal temperature for hot water is between 120 and 140 degrees, and the water should consistently be hot.

What happens when a thermocouple goes bad? ›

Normally when the thermocouple malfunctions or isn't working, it simply shuts off the gas to your heater. This is important, particularly if the pilot light is out, because it prevents harmful gas from leaking into your home.

What stops a thermocouple from working? ›

Changes in temperature can cause regular expansion and contraction in metal, which will cause thermocouples to weaken over time. After enough time, metal fatigue can cause a thermocouple to break.

What is the difference between a thermocouple and a thermocouple? ›

Differences Between Thermopiles and Thermocouples

Thermocouples are commonly used as safety devices for appliances to prevent overheating, gas leaks or fires. Thermopiles are typically used in situations that require greater sensitivity and accuracy, such as detecting HVAC system leaks.

Should I clean or replace thermocouple? ›

If you're experiencing pilot light outages every few days or have a water heater that is over 10 years old, you'll do better by replacing the thermocouple. If your water heater is less than 10 years old and your pilot light has been working as expected, cleaning the thermocouple is probably all that's needed.

Should the pilot light be touching the thermocouple? ›

The pilot flame should touch the thermocouple at a specific level. If the flame is blue and weak, and barely reaches the thermocouple, it needs to be stronger. If it extends well above the thermocouple, it's too strong.

How do you improvise a thermocouple? ›

A basic thermocouple is manufactured by striping thermocouple wire which consists of a pair of wires, strip away the insulation and shielding and trim the bare wire, twist the striped bare wires together trim the two ends. Solder wires together ensuring they maintain good contact.

Why is my hard drive light not flickering? ›

HDD LED Is off or Always on

As mentioned above, if the light keeps flashing, that is normal. But if the light is off or the hard drive light stays on (no blinking) and the computer is unresponsive, it is possible that the PC is locked or frozen.

Why is my AO Smith status light not blinking? ›

If the Status Light is not flashing, try lighting the pilot using the instructions on the water heater's label. Make sure the gas supply valve is turned ON. When lighting the pilot, make sure the knob on the gas control valve is fully pushed in.

Should water heater status light be on? ›

It will usually indicate 'normal operation', but may indicate something else, especially if you've unexpectedly run out of hot water. You might ask, “Why is my status light not flashing and my water heater isn't working?” Usually, the water heater must have a working pilot light for the status light to be functioning.

When the green light is blinking? ›

A flashing green light on a traffic signal means the signal is pedestrian activated. So, when you approach a flashing green light, use caution, because the signal could be activated by a pedestrian at any time and you might have to stop and let the pedestrian to cross.

How do I know if my hard drive has errors? ›

Click Start and then click My Computer. Right-click the drive to perform a check disk and then, select Properties. Click on the Tools tab in the Properties window. Click Check under error checking.

How do I know if my hard drive is bad? ›

Signs of a Hard Drive Logical Failure
  1. Frequent error messages during normal operations.
  2. Files and folders disappear or get corrupted.
  3. Irregular system crashes and disk errors.
  4. Operating system (OS) won't boot.
  5. File or folder names have changed.
  6. S.M.A.R.T. monitoring shows an issue with the hard disk drive (HDD)
Mar 27, 2023

Why won t my pilot light stay lite? ›

If your pilot light won't stay alight, it might be the thermocouple. Sometimes dust buildup collects on the thermocouple and blocks the sensor. Try cleaning the thermocouple and then relighting the pilot light. If it continues to go out, the thermocouple might need to be replaced.

Why is my hot water heater status blinking? ›

Four Reasons The Light On Your Water Heater is Blinking

A Thermostat Problem. The Pilot Light Is out. Empty Tank or Tank Won't Fill Up. Power or Electrical Issues.

What causes pilot light not to light? ›

If the pilot doesn't relight, if it goes out right after lighting or if it goes out repeatedly, by far the most common cause is a bad thermocouple. The good news: You can usually replace a thermocouple for minimal cost and in less than an hour.

What does a flashing light normally mean? ›

Traffic control signals that normally operate red, green, and yellow may be set to “flashing” mode for various reasons. If there is construction or a broken signal, for example, flashing lights may be used to indicate a change in traffic flow.

What is the difference between a green light and a flashing green light? ›

Green usually means go, but flashing green means pull over or yield. Hamilton firefighters are reminding drivers to pull over and/or yield if they see a vehicle with flashing green lights. It means volunteer firefighters are on their way to an emergency.

What flashing red light means? ›

Flashing lights

Flashing RED traffic light (stop signal) means the same as a stop sign. You must come to a full stop and then you may go when it is safe to do so. Flashing YELLOW traffic light (caution signal) means slow down, check for cross traffic and proceed with caution through the intersection.​

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