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Do not attempt to trouble shoot or repair your water heater unless you are a qualified technician.
This gas water heater trouble shooting guide assumes that the water heater was properly installed and was operating correctly before any problems developed. This guide is not meant to be a comprehensive trouble shooting document, just a general guide to common water heating problems.
Before trouble shooting your gas
water heater check for the odor of gas. If you smell gas
gas supplier immediately and have them check for leaks.
Remove the inner and outer burner access covers and Check to see if the pilot light is lit.
Attempt to re-light pilot light following the instructions posted on your water heater.
If the pilot light will not re-light, the problem could be a clogged pilot line, or gas is not reaching the water heater. Check with your gas supplier.
If the pilot light will light but does not stay lit when the gas valve control is released the problem could be a defective thermocouple or perhaps a loose thermocouple connection to the gas control valve. Make sure the thermocouple connection to the control valve is tight.
Turn on a hot water tap and let the water run
for several minutes. Check to see if burner comes on.
run the hot water several more minutes. If the burner still does
on the problem could be a defective control valve / thermostat.
Check to see
if the control valve knob is in the "on" setting and not
set to the "pilot" position.
Check the thermostat setting, it may be set too low. Check for leaking faucets. Check the dip tube, if the dip tube has broken or fallen off, incoming cold water will be drawn out through the hot water outlet without being heated.
Other possible causes are clogged burners and low
gas pressure and are beyond the scope of this water heater trouble
Sediment buildup in bottom of heater, flushing the
water heater may help. Other possible causes may be
combustion air caused by insufficient ventilation, or improper
The relief valve will operate if either the water temperature is to high or if the pressure in the gas water heater gets too high. If the inlet to the water heater is fed directly from the water main with no pressure relief valves or check valves between them then when the water heater heats the water and it expands, the extra volume of water simply flows back toward the water main. If however there is a blockage such as a check valve or pressure reducing valve with a defective bypass then the increase in water volume has no where to go and the pressure with increase dramatically. Placing an expansion tank in the line at the inlet to the hot water heater will give the increased volume of water someplace to go and prevent operation of the relief valve.
Another possibility is that the City water pressure
has increased above the setting of the relief valve. Again the
installation of an expansion tank will solve the problem.
Sometimes a draft will blow the pilot light out.
Make sure the burner access covers are in place. Other possible
dirt in the gas line, loose thermocouple connections, or a
Scale can build up in the bottom of the tank
causing all sorts of noises to occur while the gas hot water
heater is heating
water. Try flushing the tank.
Certain types of bacteria can react with the
magnesium anode rod resulting in a rotten egg odor. Clean the tank
chlorine bleach or changing the anode rod to aluminum usually will
Replace the water heater. This is beyond the scope of this gas water heater trouble shooting guide.
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