Troubleshooting Richmond Water Heater Pilot Light Issues

Have you ever faced the frustration of a pilot light that just won’t stay lit on your Richmond Water Heater? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many homeowners encounter this issue, and there are several possible reasons behind it. In this article, we will explore the common causes and provide you with easy solutions to fix the problem. So, let’s dive in and get your pilot light shining brightly again!

Possible Causes for a Pilot Light to Go Out

1. The Culprit: Thermocouple Goes Bad

While the thermocouple is often the main suspect, it’s not always to blame. This small device can get dirty or bent, preventing the pilot light from staying lit. To determine if the thermocouple is faulty, you can test it electrically. If the voltage reading is not around 20 millivolts, it’s time to replace the thermocouple.


Fixing the Issue:

To replace the thermocouple, you’ll need to remove the burner assembly from your water heater. Make sure to turn off the gas supply before proceeding. After removing the burner assembly, check the thermocouple for any dirt or debris. If necessary, install a new thermocouple and ensure the thermal release device is intact. Cleaning the combustion chamber area and reconnecting all the lines will help restore the pilot light’s functionality.

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2. A Failed Limit Switch

The limit switch is a built-in safety feature that shuts off the water heater when it detects excessively hot water or a temperature above 180 degrees F. Factors like bad heating elements, loose wiring, or a faulty thermostat can trigger the limit switch, resulting in the pilot light not coming on.

Fixing the Issue:

It is best to hire a professional to inspect and replace the limit switch if needed. However, you can check the continuity of the limit switch yourself, provided you press it in before testing.

3. Flammable Vapor Screen Gets Plugged

The flammable vapor screen is often overlooked as a potential cause for pilot light issues. A plugged or clogged screen restricts the flow of combustion air into the chamber, making it impossible to light the pilot.

Fixing the Issue:

Cleaning and reinstalling the flammable vapor screen is usually sufficient to resolve the problem. While cleaning the screen can be straightforward, reaching the rear might be a bit challenging. If the pilot light still won’t come on after cleaning the screen, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.

Flammable Vapor Screen

4. Faulty Gas Valve

If the thermocouple and limit switch are in working order, the gas control valve becomes the likely culprit. A defective gas control valve fails to provide sufficient fuel to the combustion chamber, resulting in the pilot light not lighting up.

Fixing the Issue:

Replacing the gas control valve is the only solution in this case. Refer to the step-by-step guide on changing the gas valve provided by East Coast Paddle Sports for a successful replacement.

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5. Pilot Thermistor Is Bad

A malfunctioning pilot thermistor can also cause the pilot light to go out. You can easily detect this issue by turning on the gas, lighting the fire, and holding down the pilot button for 10-20 seconds. If the pilot light goes out when you release the button, the pilot thermistor is likely at fault.

Fixing the Issue:

Luckily, replacing the pilot thermistor is a simple and inexpensive task. If you’re not confident in performing the replacement yourself, it’s best to call a professional.

6. A Tripped Thermal Release Device

Every gas water heater, including the Richmond Water Heater, features a thermal release device. This device allows the heater to breathe, ensuring the combustion chamber receives the necessary oxygen. If the thermal release device breaks, it closes the vent, preventing the heater from functioning properly.

Fixing the Issue:

To solve this problem, you’ll need to replace the broken thermal release device. You can either follow a tutorial to do it yourself or hire a professional plumber for assistance.

Thermal Release Device

7. Blocked Air Intake

Gas water heaters have an air intake screen that allows the pilot light to stay lit by providing sufficient oxygen. If the air intake screen is blocked, the pilot light won’t ignite.

Fixing the Issue:

Unblocking the air intake of your water heater can be a bit challenging. You’ll need to remove the burner and clean the air intake screen from the inside. Using a shop-vac to blow away dirt and debris from the combustion chamber and air intake screen can help. Additionally, cleaning the surrounding areas with a bristle brush will ensure optimal airflow.

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Now that you’re armed with knowledge about potential causes and solutions for Richmond Water Heater pilot light issues, it’s time to troubleshoot and identify the underlying problem. Follow the steps provided and take the necessary actions to get your pilot light shining brightly once again. Good luck!

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