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Why does this Kenmore natural gas hot water heater #153.330750 turn off?

I came home and the hot water heater was off. I pulled the outer and inner covers off and the burner and pilot were both off. I turned the knob to "light pilot" and turned the pilot knob to off. No gas smell, so I turned the pilot knob to "pilot" and pushed down on the knob and lit the pilot. The pilot lit immediately, I held the knob down for 1 minute, and then let it up, the pilot stayed lit and the thermocouple was glowing red. I then turned the knob to "on" and after that slowly turned the temperature knob from "light pilot" to the desired temperature. The burner lit, it burned for a few seconds and then the flame became more intense. The flame burned at the more intense stage for about 30 seconds, and then everything turned off, burner and pilot. I have repeated this a couple of times. Could it be the thermocouple?

Gas Grills , Kenmore , Building Supplies
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1 Answer from this member:
scott d
No, this does not appear to be a thermocouple problem. This sounds like a ventilation or vent problem. Check the air intake screen, if it's dirty, it will restrict the required air intake needed, to keep the flame burning. This can also be a problem with the exhaust vent and in most models, there is another air intake screen under the burner that may need to be cleaned. To check the exhaust vent and clean this bottom screen will require a technician. I'm including a link to have a technician out to check this. Here is a link for the website:

Sears Home Services

by scott d Earned 109,309 community points in Kenmore
January 22nd, 2010
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