Gas Hot Water Systems
There are three primary types of gas hot water systems; instant gas hot water systems, storage tank gas hot water systems, and continuous flow gas hot water systems. For those who love hot water, it would be very frustrating to go to your bathroom or turn on the shower only to find cold water. However, is it customary to see that sometimes your gas hot water system is not working? Why would that be? How can you fix that? Read on to find out.
Factors Leading To Lack Of Hot Water
Several factors may lead to the lack of hot water in your house. Below are some of these factors.
This is a potential cause of a gas hot water heater malfunctioning. Not only are gas leaks inconvenient, but also dangerous. Some of the gases could be poisonous to you and your family. While some gases are colourless and odourless, some are easily detectable when they leak.
It would be best to call a professional to conduct an inspection whenever you suspect a gas leak. Should the technician find a natural gas leak, they will fix it for you. However, if none is found, you probably need to do more troubleshooting to identify the cause.
Storage tank gas hot water systems require a water tank to function correctly. The tank must always have a certain amount of water in it. If the tank goes empty or contains less than the required amount of water, it may interfere with the heating system, making you lack hot water.
Leaks in the tanks could cause the hot water heater to stop working. It would help to check the pipes, valves, and connected systems to ensure that there is no leakage at all.
Loose Gas Valve
Malfunctioning in the gas hot water heater supply line is a significant cause of the lack of hot water.
Thermostat regulation is essential when you need hot water. For most gas hot water heaters, the thermostat should be between 50 to 60 degrees Celsius to produce hot water. Therefore, it would help to check the thermostat to ensure that it is in the right place. Similarly, the accumulation of debris and dirt on the thermostat may interfere with its operation; thus, it is best to flush the water heater to clean the thermostat.
The weather conditions at your place of residence are highly likely to affect the operation of your gas water heater. The surrounding temperatures affect the rate of water heating. The rate of heating would be lower in colder regions. Freezing outside temperatures could lead to no production of hot water completely. If you live in such areas, it will help to insulate your gas water heater.
Finally, the primary cause of no hot water in your heating system is when your water heater’s pilot light goes out. A gas hot water heater’s pilot light may go out for various reasons. These reasons include heavy winds, strong storms, blockages, or maybe the LPG gas container is empty.
Operating An Instant Gas Water Heater
An instant gas hot water heater is designed so that it can only heat whenever you want it to. Some instant gas water heaters have electronic ignition, while others have a pilot flame. The water heaters work by heating the water using a gas burner as the water flows through the heat exchanger. So whenever you decide to turn the hot water tap on, the gas burner starts to heat the amount of water that you require at that time.
Gas hot water heaters using a pilot light
Older models of instant gas hot water heaters use a pilot light to facilitate hot water production. For these models, the lack of heating is primarily caused by the failure of the pilot light. So what should one do when their instant gas hot water heater fails to work? You need to check if the heating system is plugged into an electrical outlet and turn the switch on.
Check the tap on the gas pipe at the bottom of the heater is in line with the heater. Similarly, it would help to ensure that the gas valve to the hot water system is on (in line with the copper gas line). If your hot water gas heater has a controller, it is best to ensure that it is turned on.
If you do all these appropriately without any success, then be prepared to conduct further troubleshooting. The first step is to look for a small flame (pilot light) inside the inspection window located at the bottom of the hot water heater tank. The flame is always so small, almost unnoticeable, and you will be forced to look more keenly to find it. For instance, if you have an LPG gas hot water heater that uses propane, it will help to begin by checking the propane tank outside.
If you find the level of propane below the required level, you should consider refilling it. However, if you realise that your instant gas hot water heater’s pilot light is out, follow the steps below to relight it and get back your hot water.
- Begin by turning off the shut-off valve on your gas hot water heater.
- Wait for about five to ten minutes to allow the gas to clear away from the gas hot water heater.
- Then open the cover to access the pilot light located under the gas level.
- Once you locate the gas valve, turn it back on to ‘Pilot’.
- Then, push down the knob to allow the gas to flow to the pilot. It would help to continue holding down the knob for some time.
- You will then need to find a long lighter that reaches the pilot light. Light it while you keep holding the button down.
- Keep holding the button, then release it once you are confident that the pilot flame is lit.
- Finally, turn the water heater’s gas valve on, then replace the cover back in its right place.
Relighting the pilot light for storage gas hot water heater
Like some instant gas hot water heater systems, storage gas hot water heater systems also use a pilot light to produce heat. The pilot light should be on for efficient and effective water heating. It would help if you lowered your head to the ground level and looked at the bottom of the heater to confirm if the pilot light was lit.
The pilot light appears like a blue flame. However, you will need to be very careful while doing this inspection as it could be hazardous. If it goes out, you need to turn it back on. So if the pilot light goes out, follow the procedure below to light it.
Things to do pre-pilot lighting
- First, it is best to remove all matches, cigarette lighters, or any flammable items around you.
- Remove the cover on top of the storage hot water tank. Most manufacturers provide the procedure for relighting a gas pilot light at the back of the access cover.
- Similarly, you must check if there are any gas leaks. The best way of doing this is by wafting to detect any gas smells. You need to get down to the ground level, where it is easier to detect any gas leaks.
- If you detect a gas leak, it would be best to turn off the gas control and the gas valve found on the gas line to the hot water system. After you do that, it would help to call a technician to come to inspect and fix the existing problem.
- However, if you do not detect any gas leak, you are set to continue troubleshooting for other problems.
- The next step is lighting the ignition. It is best to turn the ignition using your hand instead of using other objects.
- You need to find and turn the gas control knob anti-clockwise towards the OFF function. In some brands, the control will click once you reach the OFF function, while in others, there is no clicking sound.
Pilot lighting tips
- Patiently wait to allow any unburnt gas to dissipate. The next step is ignition, and the presence of any unburnt gases could cause a dangerous explosion.
- Now you need to find the pilot ignition button. Ensure that the button you have in your sight is the right one.
- Once you are certain, turn the control knob in a clockwise direction towards the light position.
- Once the knob reaches the pilot position, press and hold the control knob for about five seconds to release the gas that will ignite the pilot. As you continue holding the control knob, use your other hand to press the ignition button about thirty times.
- It would help to keep holding the control knob for an extra twenty seconds before releasing it. Check to guarantee that the pilot light is lit.
- If the pilot light is lit, then you are set to continue. However, if it is not, then you need to go back to the access cover for more instructions.
- Once the pilot light is lit, you need to turn the control knob clockwise to enable the burner to light and heat the water as required.
- Finally, replace the cover access.
- However, if the pilot light did not light, it would help to turn off the gas supply and wait for some time before proceeding to the next step.
- You could either go back to step eight herein-above and start again or call a technician for help.
Gas hot water heaters using electronic ignition
Most of the current instant gas water heaters models, such as Rinnai, Dux, Rheem, etc., do not utilise a pilot light; instead, they use electronic ignition. Has your instant gas hot water heater failed to work? Below are the steps to follow to fix that problem.
Step One: Remove the heater’s cover
You need to remove the cover on top of your gas hot water heater. Most manufacturers provide the instructions for particular brands of gas hot water heaters at the back of the panel.
Step Two: Waft to detect any leaks
The next step is wafting to detect any gas leaks. Lower yourself down to the ground level for better positioning and waft for any gas smells. If you detect any smell, it would be best to shut down the gas valve in the hot water system. Immediately call a technician for better results.
Step Three: Proceed with caution
If there are no gas smells, it could mean that you are set to go. You could continue troubleshooting for other possible causes.
Call For Professional Assistance
It is possible to troubleshoot difficulties with your gas hot water heater that makes it unable to produce hot water by yourself. However, you need to know that this process is precarious and requires total concentration and strict adherence to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you are not confident that you can do it or meet any challenges in the middle of troubleshooting, it is best to call a qualified and licenced technician for help. These technicians are licenced and trained in providing the best quality workmanship in gas water heater repair, servicing, and installation. So don’t delay, contact a professional today.