Real Estate

Hot Water Heaters : How to Troubleshoot the Pilot in a Hot Water Heater

Now millivolts  is of course not a lot of power no right  but it is enough to run the valve and  that gets distributed from the  thermocouple into the valve on this tip  right here okay now as we stated the  electronic valve is going to need a lot  more power  these will predict traditionally produce  anywhere from about 10 to 30 millivolts  30 is about the maximum pretty much  going to see out of one of these but 10  is what you’re looking for now that is  not enough to run an electronic right  now you’re going to have to have a  little bit more power and what we’re  going to use is this right here this is  what is called a thermal  eyal this opened up.

Where you can get a  good look at it here the thing is is  they work identical there’s nothing  magical about it right  this area here sits inside the pilot  that starts to heat up and produce our  power that gets transmitted through the  gas valve through this wiring connector  right here that plugs into the front of  the electronic control okay again it  works identical to the older  thermocouple right we call it a thermal  pile and if you think about that name  it’s actually a pile of thermocouples if  I can get a little bit of power right  out of one thermal couple that I can get  more power out of a bundle normal  couples and that’s basically what this  is is a bundle of thermocouples in one  housing we heat up this tip we can  produce a whole lot more power most of  the time you’re going to see anywhere  between 350 up to maybe 900 millivolt  right about standard humble pie.

That’s going to drop a little bit as you  point out as age as it goes on but 350  is what we need to run the valve but it  will run anywhere from 350 upwards yeah  so 350 is a number that you want to  remember whenever you’re doing any kind  of troubleshooting we’re going to get to  that when we get to doing trouble when  we touch on troubleshooting we’re going  to talk about those numbers and again as  we pointed out earlier you have that PDF  there all these years are going to be on  that PDF we encourage you to print that  out keep that it’s a great resource yeah  and I mean this is this is we were just  going to talk a little bit about you  know the difference is this is what  we’re really going to get into now we’re  going to talk about the troubleshooting  and really again you can follow along  using these PDFs which is on right below  the screen or the window in the and on  the website just right below that  there’s two links that you can get to  PDF there.

We go right there there they  are right there you can go ahead and  download those PDFs I can go ahead and  press one show you what it looks like  yeah that’s what you’ll get if you press  on that length and that’s what we’re at  right now we’re going to talk about the  mechanical style troubleshooting and  specifically really when you you look at  we’ve got a lot of we got a call center  here so we know what’s going on in the  field  and the number one call really is is no  hot water is what you usually get and it  happens on install and it can happen  over time but it’s it’s no hot water  that means that they have no hot water  come from the water heater so the first  thing they’re going to want to do is to  make sure that it is the water heater so  they’re going to want to have to go to  you know all the faucets make sure that

It is coming from the water heater but  once we do that you know let’s let’s  talk about troubleshooting we’re going  to use a base actually we’ve got a  couple of bases here first thing we’re  going to look at is the mechanical style  and all this is is this is just the  bottom of a standard water heater this  lets us open this thing up so you guys  can get a get a look at what’s going on  on the inside out as we perform these  tests and those type of things just  gives you a little bit better view and  as you pointed out that traditionally  the number one call you’re going to get  to no hot water right now there could be  a lot of reasons as to why they have no  hot water  but typically all the the ins user is  going to say is hey I don’t have any out  walk so when we go out there what do we  do yeah no hot water call what do I do  when I first show up on the job and  that’s what that’s what we’re going to  cover today the steps you need to look  at when when you’re faced with a no hot  water call.

I mean it’s gonna we’re  really going to just kind of break it  down into two different roads that they  can take so let’s go ahead and say we’re  coming out to a house we verified that  we have no hot water and it’s it’s the  water heater so what’s the first thing  we’re going to do when we come to the  house okay the first thing you want to  do is verify whether or not the pilot is  lit or gumming we know it’s a no hot  water call right so we assume that the  water heater itself is not producing any  hot water and as Jerry point out we’re  going to have them make sure that that’s  all over okay it’s not just one specific  location but if there’s no hot water in  the entire home or apartment or whatever  it isn’t you’re looking at then we know  we have an issue the first thing you  want to do is make sure that you have a  pilot lid you’re going to have to look  inside this little small inspection window and look and see.

If that pilot is  present now sometimes this can be  difficult you guys know how it is you  get  out to an apartment complex you go  inside the unit you open up the closet  door there’s the water heater but what  else is there yeah everything else and  their coats and Christmas trees and you  know it’s really pack everything yeah  exactly everything else is around that  water heater and it’s going to be all  the way down at the bottom you know  sometimes sometimes it is a little bit  difficult you get down on your belly a  little bit and look inside this little  light but what we’re looking for is just  a clear blue light a lot of people think  well if I’m looking for a pilot I expect  to see this big large flame on the  inside of the water here right ten years  ago that was true but as as energy  efficiency has become the norm and water  heaters that pilot has been reduced over  the years again that thing is burning 24  hours a day 7 days a week inside the  bottom of the water heater is so smaller  you can make that pilot the more energy  savings you can get so all you’re going  to be looking for is what looks like a  clear LED light on your PDF .

There’s a picture of that so you  can kind of see what you’re going to be  looking for and it could be to the far  left or far right and when you look  inside this viewing window but there we  go there’s a shot right there there’s  your pilot that you’re looking for  that’s that’s typically what you’re  going to see and you may need it like it  says in the PDF you may need to dim the  room lights because it may be kind of  hard to see especially if there’s a lot  of light in the room  it is sometimes if there’s a lot keep in  mind it’s dark inside here right because  this is underneath the water heater  normally so if there’s a lot of light in  the room this little glass has a  tendency to kind of act like a mirror  yes is he right so you you get in there  and you got a flashlight in your mouth  you’re standing on your head and you’re  trying to look inside this thing and you  look inside the glass and you don’t see  anything but your own eyeballs right  because it’s just acting in the mirror  so turning those lights down in the room  will let you see inside the heater a lot  easier okay so once we do that we  verified that the pilots out the first  thing that you’re going to want to do is  we’re going to try to relight the pilot.

Yes there’s no pilot that’s the first  thing we want to do is go ahead and  relight that pipe yes follow the  lighting instructions that are on the  water heater they’re going to tell you  step by step how to do that that once  you try to do that this is the the thing  that you know you run into I’m trying to  relight the pilot I can’t get the pilot  to light  yeah where do I go from there  usually what happens what we’re going to  have to do is of course we’re going to  turn our gas control valve to the pilot  lighting position right and we’re going  to have to push down on that pilot knob  right now when we push this down now  we’re letting gas flow through that  pilot tube out to the pilot orifice  right now the next thing we’re going to  have to do is click off our igniter  right while we’re holding down that  pilot knob we’re going to have to hit  this igniter button now if you can get  it close up let’s see if we get a  close-up right there on the igniter and  see if we can catch the spark yeah I  think you can see you can see a little  guess you’re either gonna light.

Preparing your Home for Sale

If you are considering selling your home there are many things you can do to improve your chances of getting top dollar for it. Before seriously considering buying your home, a prospective buyer looks at many different things. It must be in a good neighborhood within reasonable commuting distance. He must like the architectural style, floor plan, size, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The yard must be the right size and the landscaping must be sufficiently attractive.

If all of these items are satisfactory, he will begin to move in the direction of making a purchase. His decision to purchase will be based on both emotional and intellectual factors. He will have to have a level of trust in your home. You want the buyer to quickly build trust in your home. You can do this by addressing visible and hidden repair issues even before you put your home on the market. A torn carpet or leaky faucet will give the impression that your house is not well cared for. If the buyer spots a few defects, he will be looking out for more. If the paint is fresh and the finishes inside your home are unblemished, the buyer will tend to assume that your structural, plumbing, and mechanical systems are also well maintained.

Making a Complete List the buyer will view your house with a critical eye; he and his real estate agent do not have the comfortable, warm personal memories that you have with your home. You may know that the leaky faucet only needs a $10 part, but he may see a $100 plumbing bill. Pretend you are a prospective buyer and walk through each room of your house.

What will a buyer see? What will he feel? The next step is to make a complete list of repairs that need to be done. A handyman can probably fix them all in a few days. It would be most efficient to have them all done at one time. Some clients, of course, market their houses as fixer-uppers, and some buyers are looking for this type of house, but they expect a substantial profit above the cost of labor and materials. When needed repairs are obvious, buyers always assume there are more problems that cannot be seen. It is better to fix minor repairs before marketing your home if you want your house to sell quickly and at a high price.

Getting an Inspection Sellers often have a professional inspection of their home conducted before putting it on the market. This way, they can discover repair issues that could come up later on the buyer’s inspection report.

You may choose to leave these items as they are, noting this on the inspection report along with the items you did have repaired. This would be attached to the Seller’s Disclosure. It’s also a good idea to attach any repair receipts to the report. A professional inspection report will answer many of the buyer’s questions and build trust in your home. It also helps avoid renegotiation after the contract has been signed.

Offering an Assistance Contract home service contract or home warranty covers the cost of specified repairs to mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems during the first year of new ownership. The policy costs about $350, but it may be more if you have a pool or other items. The fee is paid to a third-party warranty company that will provide any needed repair services during the first year. Such a policy protects the interests of both the buyer and seller, as it reduces after-sale disputes about the condition of the property.