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Gas Hot Water System Troubleshooting Tips

Gas Hot Water System Troubleshooting Tips Featured

A hot shower is a necessity for kick starting your morning routine. But if your water’s gone cold and the gas hot water system is not working, what do you do?

You can definitely call the team at Jim’s Plumbing, we’re ready 24 hours a day to fix your hot water! In the meantime, there are a few handy troubleshooting tips which will help you better understand what the cause may be.

They may not be the answer to every hot water problem, but as your hot water experts, Jim’s can guide you through all solutions. Whether all you need is a minor repair or a water heater upgrade, we will get your hot water running again!

Here are 3 gas hot water system troubleshooting tips anyone can follow.

Check the Ignition Source

Previously, gas continuous flow hot water systems stopped working just because a pilot light went out. In modern times, it’s far less common to come across a gas water heater with a physical pilot light.

Leading brands like Bosch, Rinnai and Rheem have moved away from gas ignition sources. Now they have embraced hydropower, electric and battery power to complement gas efficiency.

Why? Because roughly half of the energy used by a gas system went into maintaining the pilot light 24/7. However, with other fuel sources available to work in tandem, gas hot water systems became more efficient.

Depending on the fuel source, the ignition issue could be one of the following:

  • Hydropower: Gas burner ignition is activated by running water. Therefore, if the water flow rate is too low, the burner may not be activated for heating.
  • Electric: For some systems, it may be as simple as an issue with the powerpoint connection. Maybe the switch was turned off! Or, a fault in the electrical wiring may have tripped a safety switch or circuit breaker. Always check the switchboard to see if something has turned off.
  • Gas: Poor gas flow or a gas leak means the burner will not stay lit. Likewise, blockages in gas pipes will affect a pilot light and it may not be strong enough to heat, or stay lit.
  • Battery: When there is no main power supply, battery ignition provides a sustainable alternative. However, there is always the risk of the battery failing.

Given the specifics of any individual gas water heater, it’s always handy to hold onto your user manual. It will be the fastest way to determine what you can troubleshoot, or when you need an expert’s touch.

Is There a Faulty Thermostat?

When your hot water comes out ice cold, the thermostat or another internal part is to blame.

A thermostat controls your hot water temperature via a series of electrical signals which pick up any changes. So once you set the gas water heater to a regulated 50°C or 60°C it monitors the conditions to maintain temperature.

In addition to the ignition source, always troubleshoot the thermostat. Ensure the temperature is set correctly, and if the water remains cold, there is a problem with temperature control.

And be prepared for more work because the thermostat might not be the culprit. For example, perhaps it’s the tempering valve, which mixes hot and cold water on the way to your shower or tap. Or it may be the thermocouple, another temperature measurement tool.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to completely investigate or fix these issues yourself as the parts are hidden in a gas system. There’s a high chance of something going wrong, while you may also void any warranty. Unless you’re a licensed plumber, contact a professional.

Has a Safety Measure Been Triggered?

If your gas hot water goes hot then cold, could a safety measure have been triggered?

One such example is Rheem and their FlameSafe® system. It’s an inbuilt shutoff protection system to prevent overheating and long term damage. It’s an essential part of the unit and has to be operational before use.

Alternatively, if the fault is electrical, a safety switch or circuit breaker may have tripped. A grounded circuit, faulty wiring or overloaded electrical system could all be to blame.

Thankfully there are modern features on hot water systems which can help out anyone in a spot of bother. We’re talking about intuitive digital displays and mobile apps.

Forget the guesswork. Now you can control water temperature from your phone, and also monitor water and energy usage. Plus, when your gas hot water system is not working, you can access relevant diagnostics and error code messages.

Smart controls are the perfect tool for providing a clear understanding of how gas hot water systems work. Or perhaps how they don’t work. Modern technology is the perfect DIY assistant if you choose. Otherwise, just think of it as a warning sign that it’s time to book a gas hot water service!

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