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Author Topic: Kenmore Gas Water heater "Power Miser 12"- Pilot light not staying lit  (Read 7867 times)

Offline Masternewbie

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Hi Everybody,

I didn't see a board area for water heaters. I hope I am posting this to the right place.

Kenmore Power Miser 12 gas water heater
#153.331444 /40gallons
Link to Owner's Manual "http://download.sears.com/own/33144e.pdf"

I know water heaters don't fail very quickly but it seems these Kenmore water heaters fail a lot based upon my internet search for a remedy. :tickedoff: "Very irritating!"

I have had this water heater from Sears since Jan. 1, 2006. I figured this being a 12 year water heater that it would be covered under warranty.
Last year I had an issue where the plastic drain valve cracked from drying out from the heat of the tank. It had hairline cracks in it where it started to drip and one day it was just spraying out from it. I called Sears and they wanted to charge me $79 to diagnose the problem and they tried to sell me an extended warranty for $200 and if they couldn't fix it..... it would be replaced. If they could fix it, I would be charged labor being it is not covered. Plus they couldn't come out right away and I would have to wait a week.

I ended up reaming that plastic drain valve spigot out myself and replaced it with a ball valve which drains faster than those plastic ones that fail from drying out. It cost me around $20 for all the parts to have a better efficient valve for clearing sediment build up.

Ok..... here is my issue now and I hope somebody could help me out.
    My pilot light doesn't stay lit.
         - I set the dial and push down top knob and light the pilot (I hold down the knob for 1-2 minutes to charge thermocouple) the pilot light looks healthy while button knob is pushed down.
         - I release the button to turn knob to "on" position and it doesn't stay lit
         - I think it's the thermocouple so I test it with volt meter and held down button pilot flame. It reads 30 millivolts DC after 1 minute. (Therefore I believe it is working fine)
         - I wipe down the fitting and end of the thermocouple in case it is a dirty and reinstalled knowing that it is working fine.
         - I check and clean the filters at the base of the water heater just in case they are clogged
         - I go to try it again and FAIL!..... Same issue.
    I was thinking maybe the whole control valve is failed in the area where the pilot assembly is that gets the voltage to allow gas entry.

I was thinking maybe it would be better to just buy a whole new one of a different make being this one is like a lemon. I was thinking that putting in the money for a control valve to have it fail somewhere else within the next years would not be worth it. They say it should last for 12 years and we are at 8 years now. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Offline DaleCaskanette

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Re: Kenmore Gas Water heater "Power Miser 12"- Pilot light not staying lit
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2014, 02:34:03 PM »
needs a thermo couple by the sound of it.  they will test good out of cct but will fail under load rarely is it a gas valve

Offline Masternewbie

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Re: Kenmore Gas Water heater "Power Miser 12"- Pilot light not staying lit
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2014, 08:29:52 PM »
needs a thermo couple by the sound of it.  they will test good out of cct but will fail under load rarely is it a gas valve

Thanks for the reply.
What is "out of cct"?    Mine tested at 30 millivolts DC after a minute. Does that change when the button is depressed for the pilot to stay lit?
Does the system where the thermocouple plug into put a load on the thermocouple to tap it out when the lighting button is depressed?

I'm gonna get a new one to test it out.

Sorry for so many questions.
Thanks!!

Offline DaleCaskanette

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Re: Kenmore Gas Water heater "Power Miser 12"- Pilot light not staying lit
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2014, 08:47:14 PM »
when you disconnect thermal couple and test it the meter is very high resistance the coil is lower resistance and draws higher current and voltage drops

Offline Masternewbie

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Re: Kenmore Gas Water heater "Power Miser 12"- Pilot light not staying lit
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2014, 09:42:36 PM »
when you disconnect thermal couple and test it the meter is very high resistance the coil is lower resistance and draws higher current and voltage drops
Great explanation, thanks!!

I will get a new thermocouple and test it out this weekend. I will let you know how it goes.

Offline Masternewbie

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Re: Kenmore Gas Water heater "Power Miser 12"- Pilot light not staying lit
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2014, 10:22:39 PM »
Here's a picture of my water heater burner attached below. I noticed there is a resister of some sort in line of the thermocouple.

Do you think I could just mod in a standard thermocouple and it will work?   
 I would think they would all be the same range of output for water heaters.       or ...
   Do you think it is imperative that I install the thermocouple assembly that is the same as original (Pictured).  Thanks!!

Offline mz3own

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Re: Kenmore Gas Water heater "Power Miser 12"- Pilot light not staying lit
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2014, 06:22:56 AM »
If the OEM is available, use what is designed. Best to stick with what is designed for the unit.

Offline Masternewbie

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Re: Kenmore Gas Water heater "Power Miser 12"- Pilot light not staying lit
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2014, 12:28:26 PM »
If the OEM is available, use what is designed. Best to stick with what is designed for the unit.
Great point, I will order the OEM.

I tested it by jumpering it by soldering a piece of wire bypassing the Thermo cut off (TCO) circuit to test it and it worked. I have hot water now for the time being. The rosin core solder I used has a melting point of 180 degrees which is 20 degrees more than the (TCO)s trip tolerance.

I suppose the way I did it can work as though I used a universal thermocouple kit. With these newer enclosed chamber water heaters, I think I should make sure the OEM product with that TCO circuit is there for safety for over heat and fire.

when you disconnect thermal couple and test it the meter is very high resistance the coil is lower resistance and draws higher current and voltage drops
Dale - your advice is right on. I would have assumed that  the volt meter readings were accurate as to the integrity of the thermocouple. Thank you for your input!!

Everybody - THANKS for the help!!
I learned a lot about water heaters messing with this.