My gas hot water tank with a White Rodgers controller was off this morning with an error code telling me the max ignition attempts have been exceeded (Vacation light on + A light + B light). I restarted the unit and what appears to be a heating element glows and then turns off after a few seconds. After a minute or two the heating element turned on again and the gas ignited. After a few minutes the gas turned off and the fan ran for a while before turning off as well. Within 10 seconds it turned back on. This time the heating element turned on once and then turned off with no ignition. No second try this time and then the fan turns off. Now it just repeats this single attempt ignition process with no ignition until the error code returns. My gas fireplaces run fine so I know it's not a supply issue and must be something with the unit.

Are there any possible simple tricks to try or should I just call the company I rent the tank from?

1 Answer 1


As it's a rental, call for repair or replacement.

If you owned it, might be time to consider a new igniter glow-unit, (most likely) or thermostat, depending on the exact failure mode. As a rental, replacing parts is not your problem, under a normal rental arrangement. Indeed, you replacing parts is likely to be a violation of the rental agreement and potentially expensive as a result.

  • Thank you for your help. I did call them and I do think you might be right about the igniter. After doing some research I learned those things need to get pretty darn hot to ignite the gas so even though it looked like it was working it would start glowing long before it reached the required temperature.
    – JPF
    Jul 26, 2023 at 18:11
  • They also do things like "glow nicely, but get cracked" which lead to them not drawing enough current to keep the supervisory circuit content that they are engaged (or glowing enough) so it shuts the gas down.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 26, 2023 at 20:07

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