My A O Smith ProMax gas water heater started going out at various intervals. I would re-light it and it might stay lit for a few minutes, few hours, or even a day or so. I figured it was the thermocouple, but my A O Smith water heater has a sealed combustion chamber, so just changing the thermocouple was not an option. I called a couple of plumbers but they didn't get back to me for several hours. So, while I was waiting I kept researching it and found that the whole pilot light assembly would need replaced. I looked up my specific water heater on http://www.waterheaterparts.com and found the exact replacement part # for my water heater. At this point, I thought it would be easy enough as I am fairly handy. So, I bought the pilot light assembly from my local plumbing supply company and went to task. I didn't really run into any issues changing everything out and the instructions that came with it were quite straight forward. I used soapy water (50/50 dish soap and water) to ensure the flare nuts didn't have any gas leaking around them after it was was done and the burner was back on. And the flame looks pretty much the same as it did before. I have a carbon monoxide detector located close by and there hasn't been a chirp. It seems to be working as normal. It heated up, stopped (except pilot light), and turned back on after a bath was drawn.

I still feel a bit paranoid. My questions are:

  1. Is there anything I overlooked?
  2. What dangers might there be and how can I test them?
  • A 50/50 soap/water mix might be a bit heavy; depending on the dish soap, a bit thinner is better (in my opinion). – Tester101 Feb 1 '13 at 12:12
  • I used Dawn dish soap which is pretty thin already. – UnhandledExcepSean Feb 1 '13 at 13:21
  • Did you use gas rated tape/dope to seal the threaded joints? – BMitch Feb 1 '13 at 16:21
  • I didn't actually run the black iron pipe as it was already run and the flare nuts didn't have anything like that on them before. I only removed the burner, thermocouple, and pilot light from the control unit. The control unit (with the off/pilot/on dial and temperature control) was already connected and I didn't disconnect that. – UnhandledExcepSean Feb 1 '13 at 17:47
  • 1
    More directly, no I didn't use tape or dope because it wasn't on there before – UnhandledExcepSean Feb 1 '13 at 18:34

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