19 November 2007
DIY: Murat fixes his mysteriously failing hot water heater
We've had this problem for a while now.. Jump in the shower in the morning and discover that there's no hot water, or that it's luke warm at best. Picture me, groggy and naked.. leaning into the tub to turn on the tap.. waiting for the hot water to reach the far end of the house where our master bath is located.. and nothing but lukewarm water arrives. A man has two choices. 1) Jump in and take a 45 second express shower.. enough time to wash hair, feet, armpits, whatever else requires it most.. 2) Get dressed, go outside and through the bulkhead into the basement to reset the tripped ignition.. then wait 15-20 minutes for the water to heat up. Both options suck.. and now that it's cold out, I'm more likely to take option number 2. All these months, dear wife swore that the water temperature was too hot, and the the thermostat was tripping the ignition.. Not so. The Honeywell R8184-G1427 Protectorelay oil burner control unit was basically fried. That old model is obsolete, and replaced with the R8184-G4009. I bought the new relay from the nearest plumbing supply company for $50 and swapped it out this evening. A simple matter too.. only 7 wires to re-connect, and one screwdriver was all I needed. After installing it, I checked it three ways in accordance with the instructions to make sure it did it's job (you basically force it to trip by closing the oil supply valve while it's running). Everything checked out. Took all of 10 minutes to do this. I'm sure if I called service, that they would have charged me $200 for making the house call and for the field labor (rounded up to the next full hour). Either that or they would have tried to sell me a new $600 unit and charge me another $300 to install it. It sure pays to do your homework! So if your hot water heater shuts off mysteriously and if it has a Honeywell ignition relay that's 5 or more years old.. try this: play with the thermostat dial and force ignition of the burners to try forcing the relay to trip. If it chatters for a second and then shuts down, you have only a $50 relay problem. Do it yourself and send me 1/2 of the money you saved. Deal?
Posted by IMA at 11/19/2007