Water heater repair.
this is the new burner unit thing that i had to reinstall on my water heater, as seen through the fire proof window dealy.
7:30 am: my wife tells me she took a luke warm shower this morning. i go down stairs to check, and yep, the tank is cold. no action from the burner and it looks like the pilot light is out.
7:35 am: in my pj’s, i try re lighting the pilot. it seems to stay lit, the burner fires up but then shuts down. sounds like a corroded thermocouple. this happened to my heater last fall and i fixed it in a jiffy with some emery cloth.
8:00 am: log on to my VDI to start my work day and have some coffee. read DIY threads for pilot light/thermocouple issues. find out that this is extremely common with my model of whirlpool heater. fantastic.
8:15 am: finish coffee and have enough knowledge that i think i can DIY before my workday gets rolling. begin dismantling the water heater.
9:00 am: i’ve partially dismantled the unit without disconnecting anything. (gas was shut off). i polished the thermocouple a bit with the emery cloth. going pretty well so far. tried reigniting the pilot per the instructions with the unit detached from the heater (but still inside the cavity) and the pilot stays lit, burner ignites. seems to be fixed. i reinstall everything.
10:00 am: i’m really hungry so i eat some breakfast. while i finish the reinstall. test ignition, no dice. same problem.
10:15 am: disassemble everything again, detaching the gas lines to the burner unit. do a really good job polishing the thermocouple, cleaning out the burner, etc.
11:00 am: reinstall everything. test ignition, seems ok, pilot goes out as soon as i let go of the button. this is worse than before. i am livid. go back online to read more DIY thermocouple/pilot light/whirlpool threads .
11:15 am: wife comes home from lunch. makes me a turkey wrap with avocado. i eat it while reasoning the new problem through. it’s really a simple system. gas to pilot, spark ignites the pilot, thermocouple sits in the pilot flame checking the temp, pilot stays lit as the burner fires up and heats the water. thermocouple says “too hot” and shuts down the burner, pilot remains lit. seems so simple. but now why is there no gas to the thermocouple? must be leaking somewhere.
11:45 am test for gas leak at pilot tube. found a leak. fixed leak. re try ignition. same problem. ratfarts.
11:50 am: googled my water heater model number, read a few more comments on a thread and found a replacement part, the “B” (FG) adapter which whirlpool came up with when they discontinued the left threaded replacement thermocouples that go with this unit.
12:00 pm: take a cool shower and head over to lowes. takes 30 minutes to find someone knowledgeable, but when i did, i got the right guy. he takes his portable elevator to the top of the shelf and hands me a “B” (FG) conversion kit. tells me it’s the last one. i assume he means the store, but in reality, it may be the last one on earth. it is mine for free.
12:45 pm: i skip home with my “B”(FG) conversion kit and get to installing it after checking in at work. nothing has happened yet today, thankfully. i will catch up on real work after hours.
1:15 pm: finish the install. leak test: pass. test ignition, good. pilot stays lit. burner fires. continues running. just shut off a few minutes ago and the pilot is still lit. it is early, but i will tentatively call this “fixed”
it occurs to me that i may have the right combination of initiative, stubbornness, knowledge, resourcefulness, skill and luck to do [just about] any home repair project.