Gas Water Heater

Gas Water Heater

Your Basic Guide to Gas Water Heater Maintenance

If you have a gas water heater, it is important to know when to have it professionally serviced. Understanding how to detect when maintenance may be required can be critical to the safety of your home. Whether you are installing or turning on your gas water heater for the first time or trying to familiarise yourself as much as possible with its functions, we hope you will find something of value in our tips and troubleshooting guide.

A Few Simple Tips

— Always remember to turn your thermostat to the OFF position before servicing your heater.

— Keep open flames and high-heat devices away from the gas water heater.

— Use dish detergent solution on all gas connectors to check for leaks.

— If leaks are detected, repair them straight away.

— Read through the manufacturer’s documentation for your heater and carefully follow the provided instructions.

— If lighting the pilot light, keep in mind there may be a delay before the flame catches as air is purged from the gas lines.

— Once the pilot light has been lit, the main burner’s flame should settle to a cool bluish hue and should not produce smoke.

— If the storage tank is cold upon lighting the pilot light, it is normal that there may be a bit of a sizzle caused by condensed water dripping onto the burner.

— If you discover a puddle of water collecting under the heater, there is a leak that requires repair.

Basic Troubleshooting

It is recommended to hire or otherwise enlist the help of a qualified technician to accurately diagnose issues and, if needed, safely and efficiently carry out repairs. That being said, there are a few common issues that may be affecting your gas water heater if it is in need of maintenance. If your heater exhibits any of these symptoms, call in the professionals. Inline Plumbing & Electrical with over 30 years experience 1300 465 463!

No Hot Water Output

— Verify the pilot light is lit. If it is not, attempt to light it by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

— If the pilot light will not relight, this may indicate a clogged pilot line or you may need to consult your gas supplier, as the gas may not be reaching the water heater.

— If the pilot light catches but is unable to stay lit, there may be a defective thermocouple or loose connection to the gas control valve. If tightening a connection does not resolve the issue, it may be isolated to the thermocouple or possible build-up in the gas line.

— Run your tap on hot for several minutes and see if the heater’s burner comes on. If it never turns on, the heater’s control valve or thermostat may be defective. Remember to check the valve knob before this test, as it should be set in the ON position rather than PILOT.


— Verify the heater’s thermostat is not set too low and check for leaking taps.

— If the heater’s dip tube requires repair or replacement, incoming cold water will not be heated as it passes through.

— If you suspect your heater may have a clogged burner or low gas pressure, consult the manufacturer’s documentation and/or a service professional to find out more.

Slow Recovery of Hot Water Output

— If the burner is not operating to its optimum efficiency or is otherwise malfunctioning, recovery may take longer on a consistent or varied basis.

— Verify your gas water heater is properly ventilated. Insufficient combustion air caused by poor ventilation may prohibit or delay a heater’s ability to recover heat.

— If there appears to be sediment build-up in the bottom of the heater, flushing the system may help.

Discharge from Temperature/Pressure Relief Valve

— A heater’s relief valve is designed to regulate water temperature and gas pressure. If the water output is too hot or the gas too pressurised, a discharge may occur and be indicative of a faulty valve, defective bypass, or blockage in the heater’s piping or tank.

— Your city’s water pressure may have increased and the relief valve may require adjustment or replacement.

— Installing an expansion tank may help alleviate these issues. Speak with a service professional if you detect any of these symptoms.

Emitting Popping/Banging Noise

— Build-up may gather in the bottom of the water tank, potentially causing a variety of noises.

— Flushing the tank, in most cases, resolves this issue.

— If the noise continues after the system has been flushed, seek advice from a service professional.

Odourous Hot Water

— Certain types of bacteria have been known to react with a heater’s anode rod. If the rod is made of magnesium, it may result in a foul-smelling, sulphuric odour.

— If your hot water output smells like rotten eggs or otherwise, a thorough cleaning of the tank’s interior and additional piping is recommended.

— If your tank has recently been cleaned and the odour persists, consider replacing the magnesium rod with one made of aluminium.

Leaky Water Tank

— If puddles build up around the heater, water is found to be trickling down or shooting out of any part of the heater’s components, there is a leak.

— Thoroughly examine the heater’s water tank for any signs of cracks, dents, holes, or other abrasions or erosion that may be the source of the leak.

— If a leak is detected in the water tank, it must be replaced.

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