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Old 07-25-2011, 07:35 AM
 
748 posts, read 1,495,804 times
Reputation: 614
Default Pilot Light out on Hot Water Heater during high temp.

I noticed once last year and twice this week, during high temps 100+, the pilot light in my hot water heater goes out. The hot water heater is located in the attic. The home is fairly new. 4 years old. I called several plumbers in the area for their opinion and did research online to figure out what could be wrong. I had a suspicion it had to do with the lack of air, high temps and humidity. I was correct in my assumption. So I just wanted to make anyone else aware that may be having this problem. I think the fix may be a larger flute/vent or some attic fans. Or perhaps moving the hot water heater the garage. I am not sure why these builders put it in the attic on the first place.

"Pilot light goes out due to high ambient temperature

The most frequent scenario with the pilot outage is when the water heater is installed in the spaces like attic or garage and where the ventilation is the issue (insufficient amount of incoming fresh air).

Water heater installation in the attic is especially problematic, due to the high temperature of the surrounding air, poor ventilation and little to no traffic. Poor ventilation means lack of incoming fresh air for combustion, resulting in improper gas combustion.

How to recognize improper gas combustion?

Observe what is happening inside the combustion chamber of your water heater, using the sight window on the unit, if it is present. Flame on the main burner will change the color, from light blue to yellow and red. Such a condition will also result in the flame pattern change, first it will light smoothly, and then you will see luminous burner flame that will eventually flatten out.

If during the summer months the air that surrounds the water heater is higher than tank's set temperature, the thermostat won't open the gas valve to light the main burner. Heat produced by the pilot flame is not enough to make a condition for natural draft, so all the oxygen will burn up and pilot light will extinguish.

Also, if there is a poor ventilation, the hot air tends to rise up, and the combustion air from the attic doesn't come down to provide the oxygen to the burner, resulting in the pilot outage."

Last edited by stantheman78; 07-25-2011 at 08:25 AM..
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
17 posts, read 28,354 times
Reputation: 17
thanks for posting. I just had to go up in the attic to re-light the pilot light for the water heater this morning.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:26 PM
 
94 posts, read 292,324 times
Reputation: 71
Thanks for posting this. Ran into the same thing today.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,349 posts, read 9,881,171 times
Reputation: 2178
Oh thank God, I'm not crazy. I kept saying that the water heater needed better ventilation. Now I have been exonerated.

Last edited by ShaneSA; 07-25-2011 at 02:31 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:53 PM
 
2 posts, read 9,236 times
Reputation: 13
I dont know why any F------ conctrator would put a hot water heater in an attic that temps will reach over 130 degrees on any summer day. your attic at 9 am is at 90 degrees at noon well over 115 them by 3 pm 130. i have an attic fan set at 105 its on all day and night temps dont come down until end of september. water heaters dont belong there, they should be in a basement , gagrage or storage rooms mind you nice job on the contractor. Tony V from ATV construction NY 20 yrs in the bussiness
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:58 PM
 
2 posts, read 9,236 times
Reputation: 13
i dont know why any f------ conctrator would put a hot water heater in an attic that temps will reach over 130 degrees on any summer day. your attic at 9 am is at 90 degrees at noon well over 115 them by 3 pm 130. i have an attic fan set at 105 its on all day and night temps dont come down until end of september. water heaters dont belong there, they should be in a basement , gagrage or storage rooms mind you nice job on the contractor.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:12 PM
 
41,249 posts, read 43,989,368 times
Reputation: 12510
While I agree that attic location is stupid I have seen hundred in Texas attics that have no problem at all.If the attic is ventlated there plenty of oxygen in the attic to burn. the natural gas. Hot air is not necesarily lacking oxygen either.Ever see natural gas burning in a very hot furnace chamber?
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