Author Topic: Gas water heater  (Read 503 times)

dandarc

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Gas water heater
« on: October 17, 2020, 04:59:31 PM »
So months and months ago I noticed the little gasket around the stuff that goes from the water heater controller through the door to the burner was loose. Being the intrepid homeowner that I am, I put it back in place.

A few months pass and the pilot light starts going out. Re light. Later in the week it goes again. Eventually gets to where I'm lighting thing whenever we need hot water - at least once a day. Call plumber because I'm not comfortable really working on gas appliances. They replace some part that was cracked, say "maybe the insulation is clogging up the airflow. So I pull out some insulation (was falling out of the wall anyway - I just finished the job). For like a week the water heater worked. Then we're back to pilot light out every morning at least.

So I eventually watched a video on Youtube about water heaters and lint clogging the air inlet. Turns out, the air inlet is on the bottom of the tank - very difficult to access, and over time it clogs up with dirt and lint and such. What did this guy do to fix it? Disconnected that gasket I had put back in place several months before . . .

Moral of this story - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Been 3 weeks with a fully functional water heater since I undid the un-needed repair I started this all with.

More seriously - is it safe to leave it in this condition? Water heater is old enough that next repair should be "replace it" probably.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 05:02:04 PM by dandarc »

CarlosMontegro

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Re: Gas water heater
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2020, 09:10:51 PM »
Please explain why you are wasting your money on your gas bill and appliance repair.  Hot water is a luxury.

Should be a shut off valve on your gas meter.  Turn 90 degrees.

Abe

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Re: Gas water heater
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2020, 09:34:59 PM »
Sounds like he was lazy and didn't want to fix the water heater, so is allowing air to come in through that hole in the door that the gasket is supposed to cover. It's probably safe until you can get a new one, but I would get it replaced. I worry that the gasket opening may eventually not be enough air flow, the light goes out, natural gas builds up and it combusts.

Consider replacing it with a heat-pump hybrid water heater. Costs more upfront but they are more energy efficient, so they often save money in the long run.

Fishindude

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Re: Gas water heater
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2020, 08:03:05 AM »
That's an old water heater if it has a standing pilot light and well past time to replace it.
You might get a surprise sometime soon when the pop off valve blows and begins gushing large amounts of water.
Get it replaced.

dandarc

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Re: Gas water heater
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2020, 10:27:05 AM »
That's an old water heater if it has a standing pilot light and well past time to replace it.
You might get a surprise sometime soon when the pop off valve blows and begins gushing large amounts of water.
Get it replaced.
I think it was last replaced in the 90's. Also in an outdoor closet (old house), and when I've drained it, seems the pressure-relief valve works fine and water is successfully routed to outside. Actually getting close to time to drain it again. I have to turn the water off at the street to drain the thing - no shutoff valve for the water in the closet.

Was actually thinking on-demand gas with the electric light instead of a standing pilot. Smaller size of the unit would allow us physical access to a crawl space. Kind of a strange house - I can see all the insulation falling out on one side of this channel that runs between the two added-on rooms on the back of the house, but I can't get to it because the water heater thoroughly blocks the way. The room on the other side of that wall doesn't have heating / cooling, so not sure the insulation is helping much anyway. Basically a garage except much smaller and off the back of the house.

Anyway, sounds like there isn't a real risk to leaving the setup as-is, but should not replace with another gas-tank heater if/when (I'm with everyone on this part).
« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 10:29:36 AM by dandarc »

Sibley

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Re: Gas water heater
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2020, 11:39:05 AM »
I've heard that while you think draining works, what you really end up with is a bunch of sediment in a cone shape at the  bottom.

And agreed on the replace it. While you're doing that, also add a shut off valve. You're talking about a 30 year old water heater.

Fishindude

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Re: Gas water heater
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2020, 07:36:11 AM »
I've heard that while you think draining works, what you really end up with is a bunch of sediment in a cone shape at the  bottom.

And agreed on the replace it. While you're doing that, also add a shut off valve. You're talking about a 30 year old water heater.

And the average life of a water heater is 10-15 years.

lthenderson

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Re: Gas water heater
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2020, 10:30:02 AM »
I've heard that while you think draining works, what you really end up with is a bunch of sediment in a cone shape at the  bottom.

This is what happens 99% of the time unless one pulses the incoming water while flushing it and even then, it will still leave a fair amount of sediment on the far side of the tank unless done very regularly. Here is one of the better videos about generally preserving water heaters longer and what it takes to do so and why it rarely happens. It also talks about how to properly flush a tank by pulsing incoming water.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kjabzIcLRA