If you have a Richmond water heater model 6G40-36F3 and you notice that the pilot light won’t stay lit, you may be wondering what is causing this problem and how to fix it. In this blog post, we will explain some of the possible reasons why your pilot light keeps going out and what you can do to solve them.
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What is a Pilot Light and Why is it Important?
A pilot light is a small flame that ignites the main burner of your water heater when you turn on the hot water. It is usually located at the bottom of the water heater, near the gas valve. The pilot light is important because it ensures that your water heater can heat up water whenever you need it.
What Causes a Pilot Light to Go Out?
There are several factors that can cause your pilot light to go out, such as:
A faulty thermocouple
This is a device that senses the presence of the pilot flame and sends an electric signal to the gas valve to keep it open. If the thermocouple is dirty, bent, or damaged, it may not detect the flame and shut off the gas supply, causing the pilot light to go out.
A lack of combustible air
This is the air that mixes with the gas to create a flame. If there is not enough air in the combustion chamber, the flame may become weak or unstable and go out. This can happen if there is dust, debris, or vent blockage in or around the water heater.
A strong draft or wind
This can blow out the pilot flame or interfere with its stability. This can happen if there is a window, door, fan, or vent near the water heater that creates air movement.
How to Fix a Pilot Light That Won’t Stay Lit?
Depending on the cause of the problem, there are different ways to fix a pilot light that won’t stay lit. Here are some steps you can try:
Clean the thermocouple
You can use a soft brush or cloth to gently wipe off any dirt or dust from the thermocouple tip. You can also use compressed air to blow away any debris from the thermocouple and the pilot tube.
Adjust the thermocouple
You can use a pair of pliers to carefully bend the thermocouple closer to the pilot flame, making sure it is not touching it. This will ensure that it gets enough heat from the flame and sends a proper signal to the gas valve.
Replace the thermocouple
If cleaning and adjusting the thermocouple does not work, you may need to replace it with a new one. You can buy a compatible thermocouple from a hardware store or online. You will need to turn off the gas and water supply, disconnect the old thermocouple from the gas valve and pilot tube, and install the new one in reverse order.
Check for adequate air supply
You can inspect the area around your water heater and make sure there is no dust, debris, or vent blockage that could restrict the air flow. You can also make sure there is enough clearance between your water heater and any walls, furniture, or other objects that could affect the air circulation.
Avoid drafts or winds
You can close any windows, doors, fans, or vents that could create air movement near your water heater. You can also install a wind shield or draft hood around your water heater to protect it from external influences.
Q: How do I relight my pilot light?
A: To relight your pilot light, you will need to follow these steps:
- Turn off the gas knob on your water heater and wait for 5 minutes for any gas to dissipate.
- Turn the gas knob to “Pilot” and press it down.
- Use a long match or lighter to ignite the pilot flame through the access hole at the bottom of your water heater.
- Hold down the gas knob for about 30 seconds until you see a steady blue flame.
- Release the gas knob and turn it to “On” to resume normal operation.
Q: How do I know if my thermocouple is bad?
A: One way to test your thermocouple is to use a multimeter to measure the voltage it generates when heated by the pilot flame. You will need to disconnect the thermocouple from the gas valve and connect the multimeter probes to the thermocouple wires.
You should see a reading of about 20 to 30 millivolts when the thermocouple is hot. If you see a lower or no reading, your thermocouple is bad and needs to be replaced.
Q: How do I know if my water heater has enough air supply?
A: One way to check your water heater’s air supply is to look at the color and shape of the pilot flame. A healthy pilot flame should be blue and steady, with a slight yellow tip. If your pilot flame is yellow, orange, or flickering, it may indicate that there is not enough air in the combustion chamber. You can also look for signs of soot or carbon buildup on or around your water heater, which can also indicate poor air quality.
Q: How do I prevent my pilot light from going out in the future?
A: To prevent your pilot light from going out in the future, you can do some regular maintenance on your water heater, such as:
Cleaning the thermocouple and the pilot tube every 6 months or as needed. Replacing the thermocouple every 2 to 3 years or as needed. Checking and clearing any dust, debris, or vent blockage around your water heater every 6 months or as needed.
Avoiding drafts or winds near your water heater by closing windows, doors, fans, or vents as needed. Installing a wind shield or draft hood around your water heater as needed.