Water Heater Repair Instructions
GE, Rheem, Rudd, Kenmore, A.O. Smith, State, Rinni, American




My GE Water Heater Pilot Light Keeps Going Out  

My GE water heater pilot light keeps going out and I have to relight it every time I want to take a shower. It not hard to relight, but it is colder than you know what if I forget to relight the pilot. How can I fix the pilot myself? I am not sure if my GE hot water heater is under warranty or not. If the heater is under guarantee, will GE send someone out to my house to repair the water heater and pilot light?

Warning: GE recommends that you do not attempt to repair your own water heater, but that you should call a qualified GE service professional.

There are several reasons that your GE water heater pilot will not stay lit.  

These are the most common reasons for a water heater pilot light failure.

a.       Bad thermocouple-nothing lasts forever, install a new thermocouple.

b.      Loose thermocouple-in rare cases, the thermocouples dislodged during shipping and needs reinserted into its guide. 

c.       Safety switch in the control valve is bad, replacing the gas valve is your only option; there is no safe procedure to field repair a gas control valve.

d.      Bad control valve-replace the water-heater gas control valve.

e.      Oxygen sensor tripped-only a qualified GE technician should attempt to replace an oxygen sensor. In fact, most of the time, GE would rather authorize the replacement of the entire water heater than pay a tech to repair an oxygen sensor.   

f.        Combustion or flue venting issue-Make sure the exhaust vent in coming from the top of the water heater is clear and unobstructed all the out of the building. The vent should also extend 18 to 24 inches above the highest roofline. If the vent is to short, even the slightest breeze will blow the pilot light out.

g.       Restriction in gas supply line- Not as common, if the gas supply line fills with water or other debris, it restricts the gas flow to a point that even the pilot will not stay lit. Contacting your gas or propane supplier is your first and best option. They will in most cases come out and inspect the service line free.

Worn out, old, burnt and loose thermocouples are the leading causes for GE water heater malfunctions. In the past, it was no big deal to just reach in, remove, and replace your thermocouple from inside the water heater combustion chamber. Modern water heaters; however, now have a sealed combustion chamber. In order to replace or maintenance a water heater thermocouple or burner, you have to disconnect the thermocouple, pilot tube, burner gas supply tube and pilot igniter from the gas control valve, and then remove the sealed access door. A small adjustable wrench is all you will need to unscrew the tubes and thermocouple. You must install a new airtight seal each time the access doors removed to prevent carbon monoxide from escaping it the home.

GE will assist you in your water heater repair during the first year of the warranty period. They will give you phone numbers of authorized GE water heater companies and technicians. This first year labor guaranty is limited. If you choose to hire your own plumber, and they are not authorized GE service agents, you are responsible for any addition cost of repair.

GE parts are under warranty until it expires for your unit. Call the 1-800 phone numbers on the front of your Water Heater, and ask for new parts right away.  Delivery of new parts could take several days.