I had a similar problem w/my furnace pilot light years ago. I called the gas company and they told me to call 911 (since I smelled gas). Well, it wasn't that drastic - there was some part that wore out and the unit was designed to do exactly what it did - go out until you call for service. Try calling your local gas utility company - it takes them a few days to come out. When I asked about the gas smell, they told me if it were a "real gas leak" I wouldnt have been able to stay in the house period. Hopefully, some one with more expertiese will answer your post. Re: dishwashing, you may want to add a little bleach - just a few Tablespoons - to the water if you have to use cold water to wash. Good luck!