• Gas Water Heater Repairs

    thermostat-water-heater

    Families rely on their water heaters for a wide range of practical matters, and when it’s on the blink, life gets a lot harder.
    This water heater repair guide will help you determine and resolve the issue, so your unit can be making hot water again soon, whether you do the work yourself or hire a plumbing contractor or appliance repair technician for the job.
    If you call a pro, the service should take 30 to 90 minutes to troubleshoot the problem and make the repair. Installing a new gas water heater takes several hours.
    The tips given here are different from electric water heater repair so check out our guide if that is what you are looking for.

    Gas Water Heater Repair and Troubleshooting Tips

    This repair guide offers gas water heater repair tips you can use in a DIY project.
    If you call a pro, the tips will help you discuss the issue in a knowledgeable way.
    Along with the tips, we include the parts needed to make repairs as well as gas water heater repair costs. Finally, you’ll find a list of DIY resources that will prove helpful in locating the cause of the problem and getting it repaired.

    The first tip is about safety: If you smell gas, leave your home immediately and call for emergency help! Never work around a gas appliance that might be leaking!

    Here are tips for the various issues most common with gas water heaters.

    1. There is No Hot Water

    • If the unit has a pilot light, check to see if it is on.
    • Check to see if the gas valve has been turned off, and turn it on again
    • Check the paper manual or locate it online to determine how to ignite the pilot light
    • If you can’t get the pilot light to come on and you have a propane tank, check to see if you have propane in the tank. We know that advice is obvious but it is truly amazing how many people miss this simple step
    • When you still can’t get the pilot to light, the thermocouple is the likely culprit and will need to be replaced, and this can be a DIY job for handy homeowners

    2. There is Insufficient Hot Water

    • Check the setting on the thermostat, and turn it up if needed
    • It’s possible that your demand for hot water has gone up and exceeded the unit’s ability to keep up
    • If so, spread out the use of hot water, doing laundry when no one is taking a shower or when the dishwasher isn’t running
    • Go around the house to make sure a hot water spigot hasn’t been left on or isn’t leaking
    • Check to see if the pilot light has gone out or the unit won’t light
    • If the unit will light and the demand for hot water isn’t great, the thermostat is probably bad
    • Replacing a gas water heater thermostat can be a DIY job if you have basic skills and experience working on appliances

    3. The Pilot Won’t Light or Won’t Stay Lit

    A bad thermocouple is the most common reason a pilot won’t light or stay lit, so try replacing it

    4. The Water is Too Hot

    • Turn down the thermostat
    • If that doesn’t help, replace the thermostat (a possible DIY job)

    5. The Burner Won’t Stay Lit

    • This too could be the fault of the thermocouple
    • If the thermocouple is new, the gas valve might be plugged or simply need to be replaced
    • The vent for the water heater might be blocked, so check for nests or other debris in the vent on the outside of your home

    6. The Water is Discolored

    Dark or rusty water is usually the result of a bad anode rod. The rod is a fairly quick and easy replacement. The old one is unscrewed and the new one installed in its place.

    7. The T&P (temperature and pressure) Relief Valve is Leaking

    • Open and close the valve a few times to loosen it
    • If it continues to leak, replace it

    8. The Water Tank is Leaking

    • If the cold-water inlet or hot water line is leaking, try to tighten it
    • If the tank shows corrosion and is leaking, there is no repair available. It’s time to get a new water heater

    Gas Water Heater Repair Costs

    Here’s a look at what you can expect the repair to set you back whether you do it yourself or call a professional.

    DIY Gas Water Heater Repair: Most parts are not terribly expensive, and doing it yourself will save a significant amount of money. Keep in mind that gas presents an explosion danger, so take precautions and think “safety first.”

    • Thermocouple: $8 to $12
    • Gas valve and thermostat (typically come as a single assembly): $95 to $170
    • Relief valve: $12 to $25
    • Anode rod: $9 to $14
    • Pilot assembly: $28 to $80

    Professional Gas Hot Water Repair: Most appliance repair technicians and plumbers charge a minimum service fee of $75 to $150. That might cover very minor repairs, but expect more expensive parts to create a higher bill. A common gas water heater repair is $200 to $400.

    Saving Money on Gas Water Heater Repair

    If you’re not familiar with water heater repair, find a friend who might be or research the repair online.

    When calling a professional for gas water heater repair, get several estimates for the job. Having a good idea of what is wrong with the unit will help.
    Or, simply ask, “what is the cost of a replacement thermocouple…thermostat…gas valve assembly,” etc. Most pros don’t offer free estimates for gas water heater repairs, though some wave the service call fee if repairs are made.

    DIY Gas Water Heater Repair Resources

    Here’s additional help for these water heater repair issues.

    Best Plumbing and Heating – This local plumbing contractor offers DIY water heater troubleshooting. Scroll down the page to find it and other helpful information such as water heater maintenance.

    SteveJenkins.com – Here’s a blog with a good diagram of a water heater and information on how to replace a bad anode rod.

    Crystal Blue Plumbing – Another local plumber provides a wealth of good information about maintaining and repairing gas water heaters including a video on draining and flushing the tank.

    The Sunny Plumber – This plumber’s blog includes a post about whether to repair a water heater or replace it.

    Troubleshooting Video

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