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Attic hot water heater troubles

Hi, I'm in Austin Texas and I own a house with a gas hot water heater in the attic. The problem I am experiencing is that pilot light frequently goes out. The frequency is once every 5-7 days.

I have tried to remediate the problem for 6 weeks with no luck. I have had the thermocouple replaced, the vents on the hot water heater cleaned, etc.

Two different plumbers now think there is nothing wrong with the unit.

The odd thing is that this problem just started happening, but nothing has changed to my knowledge except the hot water heater has gotten older. The hot water heater is only 4 years old.

I lived in this house for 12 years without a problem. I recently moved and I am now renting the house. As near as I can tell, my tenants are not doing anything different than I did when I lived there. My tenants are being patient about the problem, but we are all quite concerned.

I am out of ideas and while my vendors have some new ones I am losing trust in them.

My vendors have theories about what might help: cooling the attic, increasing air circulation, etc. I'm not really sure what to do next.

I could really use some recommendations from the board. Thx.

Re: Attic hot water heater troubles

I live in Houston, TX and I am experiencing the same issue.
It is caused by the new water heater design. The federal government mandated a change for High Energy efficiency and they changed the design. Well the new design does not work.
I have found issues identical not just similar, they are identical so that tells me is a manufacturer issue. The pilot goes out.
I bought in Nov/2008 a GE 50 gal gas water heater from Home Depot 12 years warranty with 1 year full warranty, Home Depot even installed it in the attic and charged me more because the attic has more labor.

Well, I pursued in May/2009 a warranty claim with Home Depot and GE and both were denied. They said it is environmental not their problem, the same thing has been happening since the new design hit the markets.

They sent a GE certified technician home and he sides with me, He said that it is the equipment fault and it needs to be retro fit to change the valves with a high altitude valve. Home Depot knows it, GE knows it, Whirlpool knows it, all the tank water heater manufacturers know the problem but they don't want to do anything because it means a huge recall. The new designed hit the markets in 2003 so imagine how many potential problem are lurking in the attic of America. They could be a potential fire/explosion hazzard but nobody is doing anything.
Contact your local newspaper, TV station, BBB and let them know this issue, the more noise we make, the better chance we will get to make them correct this issue.
My problem is they know the problem, they are selling the equipment for attic installation without any warning and they even install it there. If I had any warning I would never purchase it.
It is the same with your car, when you go to the gas station and open the gas tank, you see a warning "Unleaded gas only", Would you buy leaded gas? No, you could it is your choice but you were warned, in this case I didn't and neither others.

Spread the word help your fellow american fight this big corporation.

Re: Attic hot water heater troubles

If it's 4 years old and is just now happening it may be something else. On a gas furnace the gas tube to the gas valve will get dirt in it after a while, I've had no heat calls and had what sounds like your problem, I'll bet that if you get the gas tube off and blow it out with CO2 or Nitrogen you'll see a cloud of dust. Good Luck!!! :)

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