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How to Test and Replace the Gas Safety Valve on a Pitco Fryer

When the burners on your Pitco fryer flicker or the pilot light refuses to stay lit, or the pilot light is on but the burners won’t ignite, there’s a fair chance the problem is with the unit’s combination gas safety valve.  

Pitco uses two basic styles of gas safety valves. One is found on units with a permanent pilot light. It uses a thermocouple to regulate the gas valve. The other is used on units with electronic ignition switches. This version uses a millivolt system and a thermopile to generate enough current to open and close the main gas valve. If the thermocouple or the thermopile (depending on the fryer) detects a flame, it won’t signal the gas valve to open. To determine which type of valve your unit has, check the model of the fryer and the user’s manual. 

Before replacing the combination gas safety valve, eliminate the other likely suspects – clogged gas orifices, the hi-limit, the thermopile, and the thermostat. Often, problems that could be caused by faulty combination safety valves can be resolved by clearing the gas orifices or by replacing one of these components.  

Checking the combination safety gas valve last is a matter of convenience. The process of checking or replacing the valve is relatively easy, but it’s not necessarily easy to reach.  

That said, use a direct current multimeter set to the 0 to 1000 millivolt range to test the voltage at the points where the thermopile or thermocouple connects to the combination gas valve. To do this, locate the thermopile wires connecting the pilot to the gas valve. Connect the positive (+) test probe to the top “PP” terminal with the red wire. Then connect the negative (-) test probe to the lower “PP” terminal with the white wire. (Check the diagram in the manual for the 35C+ and 45C+ units.) 

The voltage should be 550 millivolts, plus or minus 50 millivolts. (At or below 200 millivoltags, the thermopile lacks the energy to regulate the burner valve.)  If the voltage is not around 550 millivolts, use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen or tighten the pilot adjuster screw, located beneath the pilot on/off switch. Wait three to five minutes between adjustments to allow readings to stabilize. 

If this doesn’t fix the problem, replace the gas safety valve. This isn’t quick, easy, or cheap, but when the remaining option is to replace the fryer, it’s your best bet. 

Swap out the old unit with its replacement. Start by turning off the gas to the unit and allowing any gas in the lines to bleed off.  

The combination safety valve can’t be removed without also removing some of the gas pipes. Therefore, find the nearest joints in the gas lines. Trace the lines to find them. Unscrew them. Then you can remove the entire device and its attached pipes. Once the safety valve has been removed, you can unscrew the pipes from the device itself.  

To install the new combination safety valve, reverse these steps. Screw the pipes from the old unit that you just removed into the new combination safety valve and reinstall the entire unit into the fryer. 

Before you screw in the new valve, be sure to wrap the threads with Teflon tape and to tighten the connections positively to minimize the chance of gas leakages. Reconnect the pipes and wires so they are in the same position as the old unit. 

Turn on the gas to the unit. Bleed off any air in the lines, light the pilot light, and test the unit to ensure this solved the problem. 

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