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Unread 10-13-2006, 03:32 PM   #1
jeepsarecool
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My Heater (house)

Hey, experts, why didn't my heater come on last night? It was the first night we've turned it on. The AC has been working fine, but the heat won't kick on. What's the deal? It's a gas heater and we have one of those digital thermostats. I can crank the heat way up and switch it over to heat from AC and nothing happens. Anybody know what's up? I'm going to go out and check it out as soon as my daughter wakes up from her nap (the unit is beneath her window and the neighbor's dog barks like a slobbering gimp when I go out there). In the meantime, give me some pointers.

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Unread 10-13-2006, 03:43 PM   #2
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Check your thermocoupler. Is the pilot light on? If not, can you light it? If the pilot isn't on and won't stay on, I'd just replace the thermocoupler. Costs around $15 and it's located above the pilot light.

hth
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Unread 10-13-2006, 03:43 PM   #3
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i have no idea how those things work but are you sure its getting gas?
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Unread 10-13-2006, 04:13 PM   #4
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Pilot light is my first guess. How old is your heater? I lived in a house built in the 80's in college and the heater had an eletric pilot light, so you never knew it was broken till it didn't light (no standing pilot). The landlord had to replace the eletric ignition in that case.

Growing up (house from the 70s) the pilot light would always go out during the summer and would have to be re-lit every winter. Most of the time there are some pretty clear instructions on one of the removable pannels on the heater if it is newer (maker avoids liability this way).

The heater in my current house is about 2 years old and I (think) it has an eletric pilot light... thought it has yet to fail to date. Someone who is an expert on HVAC will know more than I do though.

When all else fails, call someone. If it is a gas heater don't screw too much with it... Check the pannel... there should be instructions...
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Unread 10-13-2006, 04:15 PM   #5
jeepsarecool
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I have no idea what a thermocoupler is, but no, the pilot light is not on. There's some instructions that say that it's automatic and that I shouldn't try to light it. Is that just for sissies? I'll give it a try if there's no real danger. But, anyway, here's what I'm getting: I turned it all off and back on, using the instructions, hoping the automatic pilot light would light, but all I'm getting is an electric buzzing sound like something is running. I don't see the pilot light sparking like it's trying to light though.

And no, I'm not positive that I'm getting gas, but I'm fairly sure since all the valves seem to be in the "on" position and the heater was working late last winter.
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Unread 10-13-2006, 04:22 PM   #6
TheAdjuster
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You have the eletric lighting pilot... and it has failed...

Either you're going to have to figure out how to replace it (the part) or call someone.

DO NOT TRY TO LIGHT IT.... unless you want to make the papers...

I'm guessing you can find some do it yourself info on the net or homedepot, etc.

If I remember correctly its like a $16 part (2001 money).
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Unread 10-13-2006, 04:24 PM   #7
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The plus side of the electronic pilots is that they shut the gas off when they fail. I would check with Home Depot or a good local hardware store. The replacement for most of those units is fairly plug-and-play.
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Unread 10-13-2006, 06:13 PM   #8
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Hey thanks for all the info, folks. I have one more question. Before I start replacing parts, I want to make sure I'm buying what I need. So, I found a troubleshooting guide for the pilot ignition control. One step says to "open thermostat contacts for 30 seconds, then close". Where are these contacts? What does the thermostat on a gas heating unit even look like? Sorry, but I'm a complete newbie with these things. I've always had electric ones until now.
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Unread 10-13-2006, 07:20 PM   #9
fundabug
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My heater has an electronic pilot ingnitor and I had the same problem. I live in an old house and it was installed sometime before I bought it. Mine has an outside breaker box for the unit and the previous owners had rigged up some outside sidewalk lights to the breaker. This summer I pulled all of them up since they didn't work and had to flip the breaker off. I forgot to flip it back on, so when it came time to turn on the heater it didn't ignite. Once I flipped it back on it came to life. Don't know if you're set up is anything like that, but be careful! A few years back some guy in my town blew his house to toothpicks messing with his pilot light.
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Unread 10-13-2006, 11:24 PM   #10
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just a stupid question, have you checked the tank? is it on and are you sure you have gas in it?
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Unread 10-14-2006, 08:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mylt1
just a stupid question, have you checked the tank? is it on and are you sure you have gas in it?
I don't have a tank. It's "city" gas from a gasline. But I checked all the valves and they're open. I'm almost positive it's the box that controls the auto pilot light. Just gotta check it out and make sure before I go buy one today.
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Unread 10-14-2006, 08:34 AM   #12
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