I'm having a problem with my Atwood Water Heater. After using the shower, the pilot went out and would not relight after numerous tries. Thinking it might be the thermocouple I replaced the pilot/thermocouple assembly. It worked one time and failed again. I took it apart again and it worked for a couple showers, then the same thing happened again. I also noticed a flame flaring up in the burner tube in the pilot position. I am wondering if this could be part of the problem. Could the orifice have been enlarged? I cleaned it only with a toothpick as advised, so not sure. I would appreciate any help you can give me.


First I'll review the pilot water heaters operation to help troubleshoot your problem. Pushing in on pilot control knob opens the pilot gas valve allowing gas to flow thru pilot tube and the pilot orifice. If gas is present obviously there will be ignition once a flame is introduced. If there is no ignition, there is no gas. You could either have poor gas, poor pressure, clogged line, gas valve not opening, etc. Since you've cleaned and replaced everthing (gas orifices should never be tampered with - I would either soak or blow out water heater orifices.) Since you have no way of checking gas pressure all you can do is check gas operation of other appliances. If they're ok we can assume gas is good ( yes you can get bad gas) and gas pressure is good....but only to those appliances. With your repeated failures, I'm suspicious of gas pressure and the gas valve.

The remaining necessities for pilot operation are good pilot flame to engulf thermocouple and good thermocouple to keep pilot valve open. From what you've told me your problem is in the 1st phase of pilot operation.

As far as any flame flaring up in burner tube gas shouldn't even be present here in the pilot mode. This also points to possible problems with the main gas valve mechanism.

This give you some things to check out and if I can help any more let me know.

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