Simple Gas Water Heater Maintenance

Javi Calderon

Simple Gas Water Heater Maintenance 

There are several issues that might afflict a home water heater, but more often than not, it’s a water heater that has stopped heating that draws its owner’s ire and attention. 

There are two types of hot water heaters in use in the United States: gas water heaters, and electric water heaters. To do repairs you will first have to identify which type you have in your home. Either way, if the tank of your water heater is leaking, it will have to be replaced. 

Gas water heaters are found in homes that have other gas-powered appliances. Switching from gas to electric or vice-versa is a complicated process that should be left up to a professional contractor. Making the switch may have its advantages, so when a replacement becomes necessary, consider all your options before making a decision. 

Fixing a Gas Water Heater 

If you are experiencing trouble with your gas water heater, most issues can be fixed with a little routine maintenance. The most important step in the process is to pay attention to safety – gas, obviously, is flammable and one simple misstep could cause serious injury and/ or property damage.

1) The first step is to turn off the gas valve tightly using a pair of pliers. While you are at it, tighten the gas line on both ends. Then, turn off the gas control knob on the water heater itself. Wait five minutes for the gas to clear, then clean off the burner inside the pilot light mechanism. 

2) If you smell gas after 5 minutes call the project off and contact a professional. If the coast is clear, turn the gas valve back to the open position, then use your pliers to remove the cover to the access panel. 

3) Locate the pilot light tube inside the mechanism. Once you have located it, turn the pilot knob back to the ‘pilot’ position. Quickly hold a match or a long lighter to the pilot light tube while pressing the reset button. 

4) Drain the water heater by turning off the water supply and opening the drain valve. You will have to turn on another faucet in the house to prevent a vacuum inside the lines. When the water is done draining, turn the water supply back on to flush out any sediments that may have collected at the bottom of the tank. 

5) Check the thermostat to make sure the controls are operating properly. Check the thermocouple attached to the pilot light to make sure it is functioning properly as well. 

If you are still experiencing trouble with the amount, duration or temperature of your hot water you may want to get a second opinion from a plumber before replacing the unit. 

Home Improvement Essentials
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