So Sunday night, the two of us attempted to re-light the heater. (I have a gas water heater). we followed the directions carefull, and I got the pilot light lit without any trouble. Then I tried to turn the water heater itself back on. And the pilot light promptly went out.
"Maybe it's supposed to do that?" Lut hypothesized. The directions didn't say. I shrugged and figured I'd see if we had hot water in the morning.
Called my plumber. He said, no, the pilot isn't supposed to go out. He suggested that condensation on the tank can sometimes cause the pilot to go out, and suggested that I try to re-light it first.
I called Lut and asked him to attempt it. He called me back later that afternoon and said that he couldn't see the spark from the lighter for the pilot. Well, he's not tried this before and it's rather tricky to spot -- I have to get down on my hands and knees and hold my head parallel to the floor and a few inches above it to look through the little window to see it. So rather than calling the plumber immediately, I waited until I got off work, and when I got home I took a look. Yup: the lighter is working fine. I got the pilot light lit again, released the pilot gas to it, watched it stay lit, and turned the appropriate knobs ...
And it went out again.
Take a break for 30 minutes. Repeat with same results.
Take a break five minutes. Repeat again. This time, I watched the pilot light as I went through the process. (This is against the actual directions, which have me cover up the window with its metal panel again, but I figured I wasn't getting anywhere following the directions, either.) Status: Still lit when I release the gas control knob. Turn gas control knob from "pilot" to "on". Still lit. Turn temperature dial up, very slowly. At somewhere between second and third marks on the dial (with the fourth mark being the "recommended temperature" setting, and the "A" past it being our setting prior to the failure) the pilot chamber lights up with a blue glow -- which is promptly and completely extinguished.
It's almost as if the fire inside the chamber consumes all available oxygen and then snuffs itself out. But the hot water heater obviously isn't coming on at all until it reaches that point. (The plumber had said we'd be able to hear it come on, and run.) And I checked the filter at the base this morning -- it was fairly clean, and I rinsed it off.
Guess I'll give it one more try tonight and then call the plumber tomorrow.
Still, I sure would like a hot shower.
Update: Tried two more times, in fact. On the second try, even the pilot wouldn't light. Guess that's that. The water heater is less than a year old. Hope the parts & labor warranty on it will cover whatever's wrong with it.
Mmm. Cold shower.