Mistaken Identity: Help with Kenmore Water Heater

Here is an email I got today:

The pilot to my water heater has shut off for no reason. It won't stay lit, even when I attempt to light it. The type is a Kenmore Mixer 6.Please get back to me asap, and tell me if this is a serious problem or if it is a minor detail that can be fixed at home.Thank you for your time,Fernando D.

Probably because of my post on Fixing a Sears Kenmore Water Softner.



Kemore Miser 12 Water Heater - the song remains the same

Well, here is the first 2010 post on a old problem.

Power Miser 12 Gas Water Heater Model number 153.221542

Problem: pilot light will not stay on - water temperature control has set to the far right to achieve reasonable hot water for house hold needs

The heater vents are clean, the unit is well ventilated. Looking back on all of the post that refer to cleaning the vents, which is greatly appreciated, there seems to be more going with these units then just airflow (perhaps I am wrong).

There is a 12 year parts warranty on this unit, bought less then 8 years ago. Perhaps I have been lucky that this pilot light challenge has recently presented. The Miser 12 covers parts for 12 years, I decided to bit the bullet and pay the tech $70 to tell me one of two things: that either the gas control valve (part number F145-1293 is bad or the Burner Assembly is bad and needs to be replaced( this is a complete unit and individual parts are not available -- which everyone knows by now - part number 9003516) or they both need to be replaced. Unless I am wrong, those are the only two units on this heater that involves: natural gas and combustions (excluding the ignitor).

I asked the phone line service to ask the tech to have both parts available within his van prior to the house call, but, I was informed that this was unreasonable. I reminded the representative that this is a family water heater and going without hot water will be problematic (i hope this doesn't sound too selfish, there are many more important things going on in the world at this time) not to have hot water for 3 days waiting for parts.

Hey, there are only two parts I was referring to: the gas control valve and the burner assembly. Surely this was a reasonable request, at least worth asking!

Well, the tech arrived today. He noted that the general area is very clean, noted the venting system - a ok, and then he took out the burner assembly to evaluate. He cleaned the carbon build up on the thermocouple with a piece of sand paper and reassembled the unit within the body of the heater (just to get the parts covered under warranty I had to pay someone $70 to do what my dad taught me how to do this when I twelve years old).

After he hooked it all up, NOTHING at all!!! I failed to let you know (the readers of this post) that the burner was on prior to his arrival; I just wanted to fix this heater correctly and not have to worry about it shutting down when I was not home. Now the unit will not light the pilot at all, which means no burner, which means cold water.

He then said it looks like I needed a new gas regulator. And guess what, he didn't have one in his van! Closest valve that could be located was in Riverside County, the City of Fontana. Since he could not drive there he would have to order one unit with urgent delivery. I told him I would drive there and bring it to him ( I live in Whittier, so the 120 min round trip was well worth it to keep my wife happy). He told me I would not be allowed to pick it up.

The cost to replace this heater is roughly $600, so to spend $70 sounded good. Well, the labor to install the new Gas Control Valve will be an additional $80 dollars. The part was covered under the warranty, around $60.

He charging me $80 to remove and replace a valve body, perhaps twenty minutes from start to finish. So at the end of the day, I will be spending $150 to get this water heater fixed.

So now we wait for the Gas Control Valve to arrive to Los Angeles from Texas ( and that is if they have them in stock).

I am sure that there will be many more post after mine!

best of luck to you all!

update from Whittier: wrong

update from Whittier:

wrong diagnosis, Gas Valve control working fine!

Gas Company informed us that ALL of the newly designed water heaters are problematic.

There was a lot of good advice over looked in earlier post:

clean the area well; remove all dust / lent from the base area. this can be a little tricky if the water heater is inside the house with limited space to work around. if the heater is located in the basement or garage it should be easier to clean the base area and the "SCREEN AT THE CENTER OF THE BASE OF THE WATER HEATER". IF THIS GET CLOGGED, IT WAS CAUSE A SMOTHERING FLAME AND THIS MIGHT BE THE CAUSE OF THE THERMOCOUPLE GETTING HEAVY CARBON BUILD UP.

This screen can be seen using a mirror or by taken out the burner assemble (easy procedure).

I fixed it myself (as described by earlier posts) and replaced the thermocouple. the new thermocouple did not have the "little sensor", but, i checked with engineers who are a lot smarter then I and said it will not be a problem.

thanks to everyone and remember the wisdom shared from above " clean the center screen and surrounding area" I learned my lesson

all the best

Kenmore Thermocouple

I had a problem with the pilot not staying lit, I called a technician and the guy had trouble taking it off, well after looking at it he told me that he didn't have the same thermocouple in his truck that he needed to go to the hardware store and since he couldn't take it off he cut the thermocouple line and now I can't find the same thermocouple with the safety thing integrated. I have a Kenmore power miser 6. Can someone help me find this part? Does anybody know where I can find this part or if it can be repaired? Thanks.

Not the thermocouple

Finding that my pilot would not stay on and since the Kenmore unit I have is only two years old, I became suspicious of the "change out the termocouple" approach. Because natural gas needs oxygen to burn, I first thought of an exit vent blockage and checked that. It was fine. But still thinking "combustion," I noticed that the flame was orange on the bottom. It was then that I noticed the black plastic mesh cover next to the bottom and discovered it was pretty cloged. I cleaned that and cleaned under the water heater with a shop vac and pulled back the red silicone grommet through which the gas pipe passes, relit the pilot and voila, the orange flame is gone and the unit works just fine.

So, it was combustion, not the thermocouple.

power miser 6

I will try cleaning air intake. Sounds reasonable. OK, why are they sealed in the first place? Can't be to save energy.

cleaning flame arrestor

all gas water heaters mfg after 2003 are FVIR water heaters.these water heaters require preventive maintance.a water heater vacuum brush is the best way to clean the flame arrestor without disassembling the burner assembly.if the pilot lite goes out because the tco tripped.clean the flame arrestor.

Me too!

I'm on my 4th service call in less than a year for my Power Miser 12 purchased in 2006. Pilot light won't stay lit. They came in June09 and December09 and cleaned the filter on the underside, they came March10 and replaced the thermostat assembly and I'm waiting on them again today in April10. We have previously replaced the igniter and cleaned I don't know how many times. This is crazy!!! I am going to request replacement, but know it won't happen. I certainly won't agree to cutting new holes in the roof. I guess we will end up removing grommets off the supply line as suggested and wait for the class action lawsuit. There's a name for having to keep a service contract on an known defective appliance. It's called extortion!

FVIR water heaters

The FVIR water heaters are here to stay. All manufacturers all size gas water heaters. Keep the flame arrestor clean. use a water heater vacuum brush twice a year. If you keep good air flow threw the burner assembly and up the flue the TCO won't trip.

fixing these peices of junk

I dont know how wise it is to fool around changeing out thermocouplings on these
water heaters to other brands... You are probably aborting the FVIR feature that
your wise and all knowing government has mandated that you must have on your heaters..

If you actually want to fix the problem once and for all, just take the looking glass
off of the water heater so it gets more air.... Leave the front burner assembly loose
on the heater so air can get through to the burner.. You will be simply makeing your heater into a pre 2003 style... Do this at your own risk...just dont store flammable things around your water heater..

Its the only way you will win if the heater is in a laundry room with lint..

Hot Water Heater Possible Remedy

There is a screen mesh that is between where the pilot light is and the floor (under the hot water heater) there is also a plastic screen on the outside (at bottom) that can be pulled off to gain access to the first screen I have mentioned.

IF either of these are clogged then that is your problem. ONe indication might be that your burner flame is not all blue in color ie: some orange or yellow.

THe fix: take an ice scraper and place a wet sock on the end that tapers up (the actual ice scraper) and rub across the screen to get the shit off. also you can use the brush end to facilitate or whatever.

Good luck everyone. Oh ya, Sears sucks a big sweaty pair!