AO Smith pilot light goes out

by Zara
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

My gas-powered AO Smith water heater was recently installed in my home's attic. The problem I am having is occasional; the gas burner outage, also the pilot goes out. Please help, can someone explain me how to troubleshoot my newly installed water heater and prevent the future problems.

Oh, yes, I forgot... the unit was professionally installed by my local plumber, here in Milwaukee.

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May 21, 2022
My solution to pilot light going out
by: Anonymous

The electronics in these AO Smith gas water heaters obviously watch for a well-burning pilot flame. Not seeing that it shuts down. That requires a perfect balance between the gas and the air. My utility room has containers of dry dog food and plenty of dog hair around the floor. I got one of those shop vac attachment kits to clean the lint out of a dryer. It includes a bendable brush and a flexible 1.25 in flexible vac tube. Remove the screen at the bottom of the water heater. Wash it with soap and water to get rid of any oil, which will hold onto dust and fur, and put it on a drying rack. Use the brush to loosen any lint, dust, or pet hair from the bottom of the water heater which has a honeycomb-like screen. Use the flexible tube to vacuum dust from the bottom of the chamber and behind the water heater. All of this brushing and vacuuming is done through the openings which were covered by the screen. Then reverse the tube to blow and blow the heck out of the air intake chamber. Brush and blow some more. Then back to vacuum. Then vacuum and clean the utility room. Reinstall the screen and light the pilot. Just keep in mind that any dust or fur on the floor will be sucked to the screen and into the intake air chamber when the water turns on its hot flame so keep the utility room clean.

Nov 24, 2018
AO Smith pilot light goes out constantly
by: Anonymous

GCV 50 300 hot water heater, pilot light goes out all the time. It is in my laundry room next to the furnace. I was told by AO Smith it may not be getting enough air so now both doors leading to this room are left open. It goes out several times a week. I was told it is not included in the recall, however, when I check the serial number it seems to match. On Thanksgiving, I was without hot water all day as it wouldn't light.

Nov 10, 2015
Possible Explanation for AO Smith pilot light failures
by: Harmon

I, too, had a problem with the pilot light going out now and then on my AO Smith gas water heater. I finally traced the problem to the fact that I have an "all-house-fan" which pumps a high volume air from the house into the attic. Turning this fan on caused the water heater pilot failure. The house being quite air tight, the big in-rush of air as the fan started up caused a large drop in air pressure to occur throughout the house which depended on the water heater vent for equalization. The surge of air through the water heater vent was sufficient to blow out the pilot.

The solution was to open enough windows and/or doors whenever turning on the all-house fan so that the surge through the water heater vent was greatly reduced or eliminated.

Oct 01, 2013
Attic installation
by: Jordan

Sufficient air supply is the most important factor for gas water heaters installed in one home's attic. Period.

Enough air and the proper drafting will ensure that gas is burning correctly and that the products of combustion are transferred out safely. This is especially important during the summer time, when the temperature of the air in the attic is much higher that the rest of the house.

As your AO Smith heater utilizes the pilot light which burns constantly, it requires enough oxygen. If there is not enough air coming from the bottom of the heater, pilot light cannot operate properly and it goes out.

My recommendation is to check what is happening inside the combustion chamber if the sight window is present. By checking the flame pattern and its color (ideal is blue and stable flame) you can recognize is the gas burner starving for air or not.

The exhaust gases on the other side should have much higher temperature than surrounding air so the natural draft can efficiently remove the exhaust gases. Check outside is the end of the venting pipe at least two feet above the roof line, which will reduce the capping problem.

Poor ventilation is another reason for pilot outage as the air in the attic doesn't circulates and the oxygen is not present in sufficient amount.

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