If you have a gas water heater and the pilot light won't stay lit or the temperature of the tank is too hot or erratic, there could be trouble with the gas control valve. This valve controls several important aspects of a gas water heater, so when it goes bad, you'll notice a change in the way your heater works, but you may have difficulty pinpointing the problem. When the gas supply to your heater is involved, it's best to call a contractor to make repairs for safety reasons. Here are some steps they may take.
Identify The Problem
The symptoms your water heater has when the gas valve is bad are the same symptoms of other problems, such as a bad thermocouple. The first thing the contractor has to do is determine what part of the heater is malfunctioning. This can be done by checking and testing various parts and going through the process of elimination. If it's determined the gas valve is bad, the valve has to be replaced since it can't be repaired.
Decide On Repairs
The gas valve controls the pilot light in your furnace and it contains the safety probes that monitor for excessively hot water. The valve is a complex part and it can be expensive depending on the model you need. By the time you add labor to the repairs, you may wonder if you would be better off replacing the hot water heater.
If your heater is old and barely hanging on, it may be better to replace it, but if your water heater still has several years of life left, making repairs by putting in a new valve is the most affordable option, and likely to be what your contractor recommends.
Replace The Gas Valve
It's necessary to shut off the gas supply and drain the tank before working on the gas valve. Then, the connections to parts like the thermocouple, pilot light, and burners have to be removed so the valve can be taken off the heater. Next, the old valve is taken off using a pipe wrench and the new valve is put on and connected to the parts the valve operates.
Test The Work
Once the new valve is in place, the tank is filled with water and the gas supply is turned on so the tank can be checked for proper operation. The gas line connections are also checked to make sure they are tight and there are no slow leaks.
You may never have a problem with the gas control valve in your water heater, but if you do, a contractor can fix the problem so your water heats safely and accurately again. Although the valve can be a pricey part to replace, this is one water heater repair you don't want to put off or your gas water heater may not be safe to operate.
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