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Pilot won't stay lit

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by brogsie, Sep 21, 2009.

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  1. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

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    eastern MA
    Hi Guys,
    I have an Empire propane wall heater. The pilot light will
    not stay lit after releasing the red button, when switching the knob to on.
    Thermocouple? Is it easy to replace? Where would you find one?
    Thanks

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    More than likely the thermocouple. Is the unit b-vent or direct vent? If b-vent check the spill switch first. Thermocouple should be 10-20 bucks and if the valve is fairly accessible changing it should only take 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the quick reply Shane.
    It's a natural vent.
    Are thermocouples all the same?
  4. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Remove the t-couple & take it to a local plumbing/heating distributor -
    He should be able to match it up.
    True Value HW stores also have generic (universal) t-couples
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    before removing the coupler (providing you can gain access to it without doing so) try cleaning the tip of the thermocoupler with a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol. there is a tendancy of the "odorant" in both propane and natural gas to cause a buildup on the tip of the coupler if its a "tip read' type (mostly found in vent free products) this buildup insulates teh tip and can cause nuisence tripping as well as balking startups of the pilot. might be an easy fix to try first if this doesnt help i agree that the fix is to replace the component
  6. gasplumber

    gasplumber New Member

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    Look up ODS in the manual it will save you a ton of money. Very likely you dont need new TC.
  7. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    ODS in a B-vent?
    That's a new one on me...
  8. gasplumber

    gasplumber New Member

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    missed that on the second reply guess i should learn to read!
  9. Edkin

    Edkin New Member

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    I am surprise that know one asked how the pilot was burning. I work for a lp gas co, and the first thing we ever do is make sure the pilot is clean.
  10. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for all the ideas. I tried cleaning the thermocouple but that did not do the trick.
    I tried heating the thermcouple with a propane torch. This got the pilot to stay lit for a short time.
    I noticed the flame was low. I looked up how to adjust the flame. The manual says there is no adjustment for
    LP. I got the flame lit using the torch trick then quickly put up the thermostat. I let the unit run for about fifteen minutes.
    After shutting down the pilot flame was much stronger and stayed lit. I think Edkin was right about the dirty pilot.
    The heat from the unit full on cleaned out the pilot? Thanks all for the help.
  11. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

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    one other thing to try before this comes back on ya: disconnect the pilot line from the pilot assy and engae the pilot valve as if you would light it. this will blow propane thru the pilot line, removing any scale inside, which could be the ultimate cause of your weak pilot.
  12. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Also, the orifice and pilot assembly itself may have a lot of debris in it. Clean that out and see if the pilot burns stronger. You may need a new thermocouple anyway though.
  13. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the additional info.
    When you say clean out the pilot. Does that mean blow it out, clean with a q-tip and something?
    Thanks again.
  14. Edkin

    Edkin New Member

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    Blow it out with air is the best way to go. Some pilots have have small screens in them mostly ods setup. Blow out the pilot out all we do when we go out for a service call the t/c could still be bad i was just saying start with the easy stuff first. On most of my service call dealing with pilot not holding 9 times out of 10 its dirt in the pilot once you clean it out it fine. With cleaning the t/c i have never cleaned a t/c that i was not back with in two week to replace the heat breaks down the metals in side.
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