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water heater question

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gerry gill
gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
one dork turned his lawnmower over in front of his waterheater and unfortunatly survived to sue every entity in sight..the new water heaters came out of that law suit..training on them is readily available from the manufacturers reps..ahh, for the good 'ol days...the one good point i see is that they are getting rather pricey, and some of my customers are now having me service their water heaters..sorry for the double posting..i let my hand drop on the lap top pad..this thing takes a bit of getting used to..

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Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

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  • scott75
    scott75 Member Posts: 101
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    Went on a no hot water call today. It is an American, one year old. Gas company just turned the meter back on. It was only off for a day. They couldn't get the heater to light. I went out. Couldn't get pilot to stay lit. Tried changing out the thermocouple, but one I took off had left-hand threads. Anyone seen that before? I looked up into the gas control where the TC screws in and it looks like it could take both left-hand and right-hand thread because it appeared to be split on both sides. Anyway, threads were damaged (not sure if I did it or not) so I have to replace gas control tomarrow. Why would any part go bad after a year? And why only after gas company shut off meter? I feel I'm missing something here.

    Scott
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,544
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    It's a FVIR Thermocouple and must be replaced with the same.The left hand threads are to prevent the use of a standard thermocouple

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  • scott75
    scott75 Member Posts: 101
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    What is FVIR?
  • ed wallace
    ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
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    FVIR

    its the new style water heater with sealed combustion that prevents house explosions due to combustible fumes from igniting

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  • Ray Landry
    Ray Landry Member Posts: 203
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    not sealed combustion, but a heat sensing disk which interupts the gas valve if the tempature in the combustion chamber gets above 400 degrees i believe the temp is. Essentially, if the hwh had combustible fumes near it, the immense heat made by the flames will trip the heat disk, which in most cases is not resetable.
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
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    With the American .....

    You're lucky. The ones I've seen, you can just replace the whole burner assembly easily. Some of the other brands have to be replaced altogether.

    I got one a month ago that had a bad wire to the pezio ignitor. Luckily it comes out with a couple of screws and is readily accesible. Some of the others I've seen aren't so user friendly. The thermocouples are definately not a "common item" anymore. I guess this is what we get for demanding (?) a safer appliance. Planned obsolessance and unserviceability. Works well for the makers doesn't it? Chris
  • jeff_51
    jeff_51 Member Posts: 545
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    I have found Rheem

    to be very easily serviced. Easiest of the lot in my opinion
  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
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    Explosion-proof

  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
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    Explosion-proof

    Better get used to it because all water heaters are now manufactured to be safer in the presence of flammable and combustible fumes. They allow combustion air in thru fine mesh screens and are designed to contain the beginnings of an explosion within the burner chamber. All have proprietary devices to kill the gas flow; the catch is that some don't reset and your supposed to get a new water heater! phooey! I bet some guys are propping open the safety air intake with sticks and such.
  • scott75
    scott75 Member Posts: 101
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    I didn't know gas water heaters were responsible for that many explosions. I did notice the sealed combustion and wondered how it got combustion air. Are those mesh screens inside the tanks outer wall? I did not see them. How long have these style water heates been around for? And what is the difference in the TC that they need to differentiate it with a left-hand thread? Does it actually work differently. A tech I work with told me were the TC connects to the gas control it has some sort of temperature sensor or high limit sensor. Is that true? Thanks for all the info. I don't look at the wet side of heating to often.
  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
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    About two years

    ago they became mandated by law. The screens are in the bottom typically, behind the sealed door and under the burner. The holes are fine enough that combustion air can enter the burner compartment, but when a combustible vapor ignites inside the burner compartment the fine screen prevents it from spreading to the outside. At the same time, a safety device (different in each manufacturer) will stop the flow of gas and/or shut the air openings.
    They have been the ignition source for a great number of fires over the years. People store flammables next to water heaters all the time. I myself once tried to poor several gallons of white gas down the toilet to dispose of it. There was a water heater next to the toilet, and the ensuing inferno was a sight to behold. I put it out with a purple K fire extinguisher. This was in 1972 so I request forgiveness based on the statute of limitations. Thanks.
  • scott75
    scott75 Member Posts: 101
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    Is it in the plumbing code or a seperate law? So there can be no more non-sealed combustion water heaters anymore or do they have until a certain date to fade them out? What about furnaces? I'm pretty sure they still make furnaces that don't have sealed combustion. Thanks for all the info. As you can see, I don't get any of this at work. Heaven forbid there should be any sort of information sharing or in-house training.

    Scott
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
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    its federal law, cause

    one dork turned his lawnmower over in front of his waterheater and unfortunatly survived to sue every entity in sight..the new water heaters came out of that law suit..training on them is readily available from the manufacturers reps..ahh, for the good 'ol days...the one good point i see is that they are getting rather pricey, and some of my customers are now having me service

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • scott75
    scott75 Member Posts: 101
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    Our chief plumber went back to put a new gas control and thermocouple on. That was Friday. I got called back Monday. According to the resident, they only had hot water for about three hours. Couldn't figure out what was going on. Pilot wouldn't stay lit. Got a new thermocouple. Turns out it has limit built right into it (and isn't resetable) and where the limit is needs to be clipped to the pilot tubing. Apparantly the gas is enough to keep it cool. Otherwise, it burns up.
  • Greg Swob
    Greg Swob Member Posts: 167
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    we went to

    Bradford White and gave up AO Smith. Had really bad luck with almost every one of the last 100 or so Smith's we put in. The pilots wouldn't stay lit- bad T-couples, weak pilots, etc. So far, no call backs with the Bradford's. It's too soon to tell about longivity, but we were sure competitive while our non-FVIR model supply held out. I just ordered some replacement part components and didn't look to see if the BW T-couples are stndard or left threaded. We made a decision to buy about every 'old style' Smith we could locate before the suppliers ran out and didn't have to resort to the FVIR models for several months afterward. By then, the bugs were worked out on the FVIR models and we had good luck from the get-go. Some of our competitors were suffering with failed gas valves and other problems. The following year, DOE requried efficiency improvements, coupled with the metal price hikes of the last year and a half, making a water almost a luxury item price-wise. Who would have thought that tin, copper, aluminum would be better investment metals than gold or silver! Greg
  • Bill Jirik,
    Bill Jirik, Member Posts: 54
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    Another reason that we now have flamegaurd water heaters is that many water heaters were installed improperly in garages,i.e. by not elavating them above the flammable vapor ignition point and many of these were installed by contractors not "DORK" homeowners, Ignorance is not a legal defense for the contractor.
  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
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    gerry - what i do for the double post...

    is go back and edit the second one - erasing everything including the subject - so it doesnt take up too much space
  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
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    mabe so - but i have been in the business a long time...

    and while I am sure there are, I, dont personally know of any fires caused by faulty WH's - but know of plenty caused by regular kitchen stoves!!! - it's government out of control –

    if anything – I would rather see the government enforce installation/retrofit in ALL (no exceptions) homes of a fire/CO/Gas detector alarm with sensors on every level and alarms networked audible all over the house – today, a co/gas/fire detector in the boiler room does nothing for the poor soles upstairs

    such a system would save orders upon orders upon 10 to the infinity magnitude more people than the stupid (yes stupid) FVIR system does!!!!
  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
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    these stupid FVIR systems are going to get such a bad rep...

    that us wetheads will have no trouble selling Indirec Dometic Hot Water - they will come begging for it
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
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    Yup...

    ... and better yet, the price jumps that the industry pushed through have made indirects all the more attractive price-wise.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
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    For the record....

    ... I've managed to set both water heaters and kitchens on fire. Of the two, the water heater was a lot less scary than the kitchen fire, even though the net time to get the flames out was about the same.

    The water heater went up in flames when I was doing some high-limit testing and hadn't secured the manifold as well as I should have. The polyurethane inside the jacket burns nicely, though not as spectacularly as a conflgration or an explosion brought on by the presence of combustible vapors.

    The kitchen fire was a lot scarier because it involved steam and hot oil. I was re-heating some Samosas and didn't notice a large slag of ice attached to one as I dropped it into the hot oil. An instant steam explosion followed, along with hot oil being spattered everywhere, catching alight. Once the gas to the stove was off, I could extinguish the oil with wet towels. Not fun. Taught me the benefit of a fire extinguisher in the kitchen...

    As for the net benefit of FVIR water heaters vs. workable fire detection, CO monitoring, etc. devices, I have to agree with you. I doubt that the number of lives saved by this measure will come close to the number of folk who die from a lack of proper "trouble" detection devices. Hopefully, as houses get renovated, smoke detectors do get wired together, good CO detectors do get installed, etc. Nevermind the potential of AquaSafe-like systems offering cost-effective sprinkler protection to prevent the spread of fire in the first place.

    The outdoor gas water heater I was co-developing 10 years ago would be a much better alternative to installing regular water heaters in garages but American Water Heater couldn't figure out how to sell the unit and subsequently pulled it from the market. Oh well.
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