Water heater repair can be expensive. If your repairs are costing 50% or more of the price of a new hot water heater it is worth considering replacement. If you are experiencing no hot water check the breaker in the electrical panel to make sure it hasn’t tripped or blown a fuse. Then locate the upper thermostat and press the reset button (usually red). Call your local Plumber Granada Hills to learn more.
Gas Control Valve
The gas valve on a water heater, also known as a control valve or a thermostatic gas valve, is an important part of the appliance. It regulates the amount of gas that flows into the tank, controlling the temperature and pilot light. It works by reading the temperature of the water inside of the tank and only releasing gas when it drops below the selected thermostat setting. The gas is then released through the manifold tube and into the burner located in the combustion chamber where it ignites by the pilot flame. If the pilot flame is obstructed or dirty, gas may not be ignited and could cause an explosion. The gas valve is usually black with an Emerson logo on the front and has a round handle that controls it.
A faulty gas valve can affect other parts of the water heater, such as the thermocouple and pressure relief valve, so it is important to have it fixed. Water heater repair specialists usually charge a flat service fee to replace a gas valve, but they will often add on an hourly rate if the job takes longer than expected.
It is possible to replace a water heater gas valve on your own, but it is best to leave this task to professional plumbers who are familiar with the process and understand how to avoid any complications. Before you attempt to replace the gas valve, turn off the power and the gas supply to the water heater.
You can find a replacement gas valve at your local hardware store or online, but be sure to get one that is compatible with your water heater. You will also need to make sure that you have the proper tools and materials for the job.
Thermocouples and flame sensors are important components of a gas water heater. They convert heat from a pilot flame into an electrical current that acts as a switch to control the flow of gas to the burner assembly. However, sometimes these devices can malfunction and cause your water heater to stop working. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to test your thermocouple for problems and determine if it needs to be replaced.
Before starting any work on your water heater, you should always shut off the gas supply valve. This will ensure that no one accidentally turns the gas back on. Once the gas is turned off, you can proceed with removing the burner assembly and repairing or replacing the thermocouple.
You will need a few tools to perform this task, including wrenches and a screwdriver to remove the access panel or cover on your water heater. You will also need a wire cutter or stripper and a multi-meter. A multi-meter is a device that can measure voltage, current, and resistance, which will be useful for testing the thermocouple and other components in your water heater.
Start by removing the burner assembly manifold cover plate. This panel may be secured by nuts or screws that vary by brand and model of your water heater. Once the cover plate is removed, you will be able to see and reach the flame sensor, pilot tube, and thermocouple connections. Once the connections are loose, you can push down on the burner supply tube and disconnect the thermocouple and pilot tube from their connectors.
Carefully remove the old thermocouple from its bracket and clean off the metal surfaces on both it and the burner assembly manifold cover plate. You can reuse the gasket if it is in good condition or purchase a new one. After removing the old thermocouple, install the replacement and reconnect it to the gas control valve. You can then reassemble the cover or access panel and relight the pilot light to test the functionality of your new thermocouple.
A sacrificial anode rod is a long metal rod made of magnesium or aluminum, which extends into the tank and attracts corrosive minerals like iron and limestone and corrodes them in place rather than the steel water heater tank. This prolongs the life of your water heater.
To check the anode rod, turn off the water supply and the power to the tank (consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions). Drain 2 to 3 gallons of water from the tank by connecting a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the tank and opening it. If the hex plug securing the anode rod is tight, consult your user manual to find its location and remove it. It may be helpful to have a friend brace the tank, if necessary, while you unscrew it.
After removing the old anode rod, inspect it for damage and replace it if necessary. To install a new anode rod, shut off the cold water supply valve and the gas control knob (if you have a gas water heater). Remove the hex head from the old anode rod, using a socket wrench, then apply pipe tape around the threaded end of the new rod. Screw in the new anode rod and tighten it clockwise until it can’t be turned any further by hand.
A sacrificial anode should be replaced every three years or as needed to prevent rusting of the water heater tank and protect against smelly, discolored water. Your plumbing professional can help you determine the correct size anode rod for your tank and recommend the type of anode to use. It is usually cheaper to buy a replacement anode rod at the hardware store than it is to replace your entire water heater.
A water heater’s dip tube is usually made from heat resistant plastic. It serves as a sacrificial anode rod to attract and consume corrosive metals from the tank. This prevents corrosive rust from damaging the tank, and extends the life of the water heater. Depending on water chemistry and the material of the dip tube, it may last the lifespan of the unit or only a few years. If a dip tube is defective, it can disintegrate or fall from the tank, leaving a band of tepid water between the pool of hot and cold water in the top of the water heater. Debris from a broken dip tube can also invade the building’s water supply, clogging filters and strainers, and leading to reduced hot water volume and low pressure.
A common problem for both gas and electric water heaters, especially units manufactured between 1993-1997, is a defective dip tube. During this time, nearly all water heater manufacturers were buying and installing lower quality dip tubes from one manufacturer. These tubes break down, disintegrate and dissolve into various size fragments which clog filter screens on appliances and faucets. They can also erode the metal sacrificial anode rod.
Fortunately, replacing a defective dip tube is an easy do-it-yourself project for most people. Start by switching off the power at the circuit breaker and closing the water supply valve to the heater. Using a flat screwdriver, loosen the inlet nipple and pull out the old tube. Next, replace it with a new dip tube of similar construction. Make sure the new tube is properly aligned, extending to the bottom of the water heater. Once it’s reattached, restore the power and water supply and test the water temperature.
The pressure-relief valve is one of the most important safety devices on your water heater. If the temperature of the tank rises or the pressure reaches dangerous levels, the valve will open and release hot water into the discharge tube. This prevents the tank from exploding and flooding your home with water. It is recommended that homeowners test their pressure-relief valve on a yearly basis as part of their water heater maintenance.
To test the pressure-relief valve, first make sure that the water heater is turned off by turning off the electricity (for electric tanks) or the gas (for gas tanks). Position a bucket under the valve’s discharge tube and pull on the metal lever of the T&P valve to open it. Water should quickly discharge into the bucket, but if it doesn’t stop releasing water as soon as you let go of the lever, you need to call a plumber.
If the T&P valve sticks and won’t open, you can jiggle the lever much like you would a toilet handle. This may loosen it up enough to allow it to open and close properly again.
It is also a good idea to insulate the drain line from the T&P valve to avoid it freezing in cold weather. The drain line should angle downward and be made of heat-resistant material, such as copper. If you have any questions about your plumbing system, the expert team at Hackler Plumbing is always here to help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment! We offer both emergency services and regular maintenance to keep your plumbing in top condition all year round. We look forward to serving you!