My State Select hot water heater won't stay lit; is only 9 months old!

My State Select hot water heater won't stay lit; is only 9 months old!

by Jeanne
(Tyler, TX, USA)

I purchased a State water heater, model GS640YBRT 200 (last letter before the '200' might be a J rather than a T?) back on 11/2/10, to replace an older State water heater which had leaked and ruined my kitchen ceiling.

I never was quite happy with the way Roto-Rooter installed it, because the vent to the roof (it's in my attic) is a bit too long, it doesn't fit quite right, and kind of crunches down the draft diverter just a bit.

Also, the installer did not include any kind of thermal expansion tank, or 'overflow tank' like the old one had--he told me it didn't need one.

Basically, the fool thing will NOT stay lit. In fact, I cannot get it to 'light' at all. It has been SO very hot in Tyler Texas this year, that I didn't 'notice' any lack of hot water (natural water temperature from up in the attic has been VERY hot!) until August, so, on 8/17/11 I called a Roto-Rooter serviceman (because the thing is still under its 1-year warranty) and he came and relit it for me.

I'd tried to do so, but apparently, wasn't doing it quite right. I do not think it stayed 'lit' that time long at all, but of course the serviceman was off and down the road by the time I 'wondered' if it was still working properly. I have since gone over the instructions a lot and DO understand very well exactly how to light the thing. But, it simply will not light.

Now, I have tried to relight it many times. I get nothing--not even a 'spark' from that electrical starter. Something is badly wrong with the water heater. I paid a great deal to buy it and have it installed ($1500) and it cost me the 'bargain rate' of $100 (as opposed to $144) just to get it relit that once.

I cannot keep DOING this, because I cannot afford all the 'service' calls which don't really fix the problem! I am semi-disabled, although I can get up in the attic myself, and I SHOULD be able to light the fool thing--IF all its parts are working properly.

Either the 'thermocouple' is bad, the 'burner' is bad, the 'pilot' is bad, or that piezo-electrical starter is bad, or some combination of things I am totally clueless about just aren't working. Is the company which installed the thing under ANY kind of obligation, to find out WHAT is wrong without charging me an exorbitant 'look' fee?

I understand that I should not need to pay for new replacement parts but only for 'labor' which lets face it--is 90% of the cost anyway. But how to get them to DO it, and do it right, once and for all? Meaning, check over ALL the parts, and replace ALL the ones in one visit which are causing this problem?

I cannot keep paying Roto-Rooter to come 'light' it when it won't light for ME, and then refuse to tell ME what is really wrong with it. Indeed, I'm starting to smell a 'rat' where they are concerned.

See--the Roto-Rooter serviceman who came out to relight my unit told me that he has been going from one hot water heater to another, because NONE of them are staying lit for long, no matter WHAT kind they are!

He implied that 'hot water heaters just aren't built well and don't work well and need LOADS of maintenance'. Odd--my OLD State unit worked just great, and I could LIGHT the thing cuz it didn't have that idiotic electrical piezo-lighter on it.

Now then--what does that sound like, to you? He seemed a bit gleeful about it; what a cheap, easy way to line his own pockets, and especially, the pockets of Roto-Rooter, his 'employer'. All they have to DO is, install these things just a bit 'wrong' (apparently, that is) and fix it to where the burners go 'out' all the time so as to need relighting, and fix it to where THEY have to come do it because simply following the lighting 'rules' in the booklet does NOT work!

What happens if I call some other company? I have names of two 'independents' which are referrals. Would using one of them totally negate my so-called 'warranty'? Here is some more info, on my hot water heater:

State water heater, model GS640YBRT 200 (that 'T' might be a 'J' but close enough, I'm sure; I cannot climb back UP there just now!)
Serial # 1033A006026
ANSI Z21.10.18 - CSA 4.18 - 2006
Build date 8/16/2010

Says on side label on tank: 'Relief valve may not comply with local codes'. What I notice it, that the ANSI figures stated above which I found near the top of the tank do NOT correspond with what I found lower down on the tank. That shows ANSI Z21.22 - CSA 4.4 edition instead. Stronger numbers, where the other shows lesser ones. I do not know, but the implication is, something is 'wrong' here'.

So I guess my 'review' is, that this fool thing does NOT work, and only costs a lot of money for 'pretend' repairs. Unless that is, I can find someone reputable to FIX it correctly. So I'm asking--exactly what CAN I do?

For anyone reading this--please, DO consider some OTHER kind of hot water heater, regardless of the initial expense. Plus, be VERY CERTAIN that the servicemen you have install it KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING. I thought I did that--and I have been royally screwed, regardless. I am stuck with a nearly new hot water heater--in an ATTIC no less (!!!) which will NOT work.

Comments for My State Select hot water heater won't stay lit; is only 9 months old!

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Oct 10, 2012
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I HATE MY STATE WATER HEATER
by: Anonymous

I HAD A STATE WATER HEATER INSTALLED 3 YEARS AGO ITS BEEN NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS FROM THE GET GO. THE PLUMBER IS HERE ON A REGULAR BASIS. IT IS UNDER WARRANTY FOR THE PARTS BUT I HAVE TO PAY THE LABOR AND THIS IS GETTING REALLY OLD.

STATE WILL NOT REPLACE THIS DEFECTIVE WATER HEATER JUST KEEP PUTTING PARTS ON. I'M A SENIOR CITIZEN AND CAN NOT AFFORD TO KEEP PAYING A PLUMBER TO COME FIX THIS WATER HEATER. IT COST ME OVER 2000 TO HAVE THIS WATER HEATER PUT IN AND ITS STILL COSTING ME.
SITTING HERE WAITING FOR THE PLUMBER ONCE AGAIN. NOW STATE SAYS OH THE AIR QUALITY MUST NOT BE GOOD. THE OTHER WATER HEATER I HAD BEFORE THIS ONE LASTED 15 YEARS WITHOUT ANY MAINTENANCE. ITS IN THE SAME LOCATION AND AIR QUALITY WAS NOT AN ISSUE. FED UP.

Nov 29, 2011
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State hot water heater
by: Anonymous

I have the exact heater. I had the exact issues. This person is correct. I had a plumbing come out that specialized in these heaters and that was what was found out. It took a special attachment to a shop vac to vacuum out the inside of the heaters and a brush on a wire handle to get underneath. Google Ferguson and locate a dealer in your area that works on State water heaters.
Good luck,
Bob

Sep 11, 2011
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Solution when State hot water heater won't stay lit
by: tightspotvacuum

your water heater has to have a good draft to expel the heat from the burner chamber are it will never work right. keeping the flame arrestor clean on your water heater is critical.

the flame arrestor(air vent) is located under your water heater. if the parts on your water heater are all working properly and your flame arrestor is clogged with debris the pilot light will not stay lite. go to the web site tightspotvacuum.com for more infomation. good luck

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