In this article, you learn the steps for gas water heater repair. If you thought repairing your gas water heater was a difficult thing to do, you may be right. That being said, some precautions and tips, you can troubleshoot some of the regular issues that may arise during regular use of the gas water heater like trouble with pilot lights, anodes, thermostats, dip tubes among other things.

Gas Water Heater Repair & Troubleshooting Guide

NOTE: If you don’t feel confident enough to do the troubleshooting and repair yourself, it’s best to seek help of a professional trained to do it for you for a fee.

Before we proceed with troubleshooting and gas water heater repair of some of the most common problems, we assume that your gas water heater was correctly installed and working properly before the occurrence of operational issues. You should also keep in mind that this isn’t a comprehensive repair and troubleshooting document, but a general guide to the most common gas water heater problems.

Since gas water heaters run on gas, it’s important to check for any leakage. So if you smell gas, just grab the phone and call the gas supplier and get them to check the appliance for any leaks.

•    No hot water
1)   Check to see pilot light status
1.    Open the inner as well as outer burner covers.
2.    Check if the pilot light is showing lit.

2)   If pilot light is lit
1.    Turn on the hot water faucet and allow water to flow for some time (few minutes).
2.    Wait for the burner to come alive.
3.    If not, allow the hot water to flow for some more time.
4.    If burner doesn’t come alive, you could have a defective thermostat or control valve.
5.    Make another check for the position of the control valve. It should be in the “ON” and not “PILOT” position.

3)   If pilot light is not lit
In this step you should try to get the pilot light to light up by following the instructions given on the water heater.

1.    Typically, if the pilot light fails or doesn’t re-light it could mean two problems: a choked pilot line or lack of gas supply to the water heater. For both cases, call your local gas supplier.
2.    In case the pilot light comes alive but doesn’t stay on when the control valve is released, you could have to replace a defective thermocouple or may have a loose connection to the control valve. Check to ensure that the thermocouple connection to your gas water heater’s control valve is tight.

•   Inadequate hot water
Do the following checks for:
1)    Thermostat setting – shouldn’t be set too low
2)    Leaking taps
3)    Dip Tube – if it’s broken or come off, you will have insufficient hot water
4)    Clogged burners
5)    Low gas pressure

NOTE: for clogged burners and low gas pressure, call a technician.

•    Sluggish hot water retrieval
Possible reasons:
1)    Sediment build-up in the storage tank – try flushing the water
2)    Incorrect ventilation leading to insufficient air combustion
3)    Incorrect gas burner operation

•    Discharge from TP or Relief valve
The relief valve operates under two conditions:
1)    Water temperature is very high
2)    Pressure inside the water heater is very high

If your gas water heater gets its water supply directly from the main water pipe and doesn’t have a PRV or pressure relief valve, then as the water heats up and expands, the additional volume of water will simply flow back to the main water supply.

On the other hand, if there is a valve like a PRV with a defective passageway, then the additional volume of water, upon being heated, will have no escape route leading to a dramatic increase in pressure. Solve this problem by installing an expansion tank at the inlet point and allow extra volume of water to flow into it, thereby reducing pressure and ensuring the relief valve works well.

•    Stinky hot water
Smell of rotten eggs is a common issue with most types of heater. As part of gas water heater repair, you must remember that when specific bacteria types react with the anode rod, they produce sulphur, which gives out a stinky odor. Sort this problem easily by using chlorine bleach or replacing anode rod with aluminum rod.

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