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Water heater, no blinky

Despite my disclaimer to knowing anything much about water heaters, WTFGUY writes to ask:

I must say that the video and trouble fix methods I’ve read here are brilliant and I held faith in their effect … but, no worky for me and mine. 1 point to note – the status light is not, will not, does not, down right WON’T.. blink, shine or pretend to light up.. EVER ! Am I missing something?

OK other readers, sorry to disappoint if you were hoping for something amusing, but I do have a real answer for this and I need to say it because it’s maybe a danger situation. The circuit board gets its power from the pilot light, via a thermocouple or some such thing — something that generates a little electricity from the heat difference between sticking your thumb into a flame and having the other thumb not in a flame.

So if the light doesn’t blink at all, this suggests one of three things:

  1. The circuit board is broken.
  2. The thumb is somehow not reaching the flame of the pilot light so it’s not generating any power (or else the thumb is somehow else broken)
  3. The pilot light is not lit.

This last possibility is concerning, because it suggests there may be a little natural gas floating out of the burner and not getting burned up, which is probably bad for your health and may lead to a massive explosion (which come to think of it is also bad for your health and may lead to increased insurance rates).

Please check whether the pilot light is lit — you should be able to see it burning through a tiny window — and if it isn’t, turn off the gas valve, exit the premises, and call for a pro.