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Do I need a new water heater?

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JWblue

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Woke up to gas smell in garage. Called fire department.

Fire department says the gas water heater pilot light went out causing the gas to not burn. Fireman said the pilot going out was due to the planned power outage that early morning which I do not know if it makes sense. Would the pilot light go out if there was a power outage?

Electric and gas company came out and said there wasn't a leak and it was another issue. Said fire department wasn't correct.

I was told all water heaters have a mechanism where if the pilot light goes out the gas shuts off automatically. Is this true? Do we have an issue with out water heater?
 

bud16415

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The pilot is held on with a thermocouple. The pilot heats the thermocouple and it produces a signal that when it is hot holds the gas valve in the open position. That is the reason when you light one the directions tell you to hold the button in for one minute giving it a chance to heat up.

if yours is staying open when not lit someone has jimmied it or it has failed in the open position and that is highly unlikely IMO.

The gas company is the one you should be calling around here they provide that service for free as a safety program.

How old is the unit? Do you know the make and model?
 

Snoonyb

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I was told all water heaters have a mechanism where if the pilot light goes out the gas shuts off automatically. Is this true?
Yes, that's the way the valve is designed to operate, and the control mechanism is replaceable.

However, you need to weigh the cost of the repair against the age of the appliance, and it's projected life expectancy.
 

kok328

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I believe the gas valves are designed to "Fail Shut".
Blow your pilot out and see if it continues to deliver gas if you need clarification on conflicting opinions.
By "Power outage" do they mean both gas and electrical? either way, it should not have continued to deliver gas after utility restoration.
 

JWblue

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The water heater has been working ok for over a month since the incident.

What are the risks of not having it replaced? Is there a real possibility of an explosion if it leaks again? It is about 12 years old?
 

bud16415

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I would just shut it off and turn it back to the run position and see if I could smell gas again or if the pilot would light again without selecting the light position and depressing the knob.

If it lights or you smell gas in quantity I would replace the valve assembly or get a new tank based on how much life I felt it had left.
 

oldognewtrick

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Yes, that's the way the valve is designed to operate, and the control mechanism is replaceable.

However, you need to weigh the cost of the repair against the age of the appliance, and it's projected life expectancy.
I agree. If it happened once, it can happen again. I wouldn't take the chance...just my 2 cents.
 

JWblue

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I agree. If it happened once, it can happen again. I wouldn't take the chance...just my 2 cents.
I appreciate the response. I agree which I why am going to have it replaced.

Does a gas leak necessarily mean explosion though? Isn't the chance still remote?
 

Snoonyb

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There must be an ignition source, so, if there are no other gas appliances or vehicles that service the same general proximity, the risk would be diminished.

Let caution be your guide, and if there are predictable times of the day that hot water is used, lite and use, then extinguish, until you can schedule the replacement/repair.
 

JWblue

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There must be an ignition source, so, if there are no other gas appliances or vehicles that service the same general proximity, the risk would be diminished.

Let caution be your guide, and if there are predictable times of the day that hot water is used, lite and use, then extinguish, until you can schedule the replacement/repair.
We are replacing the water heater but it never hurts to have knowledge. There is a gas dryer next to the water heater? Why does that increase the risk of a spark?

The water heater is in a garage with a car. Does that increase the risk of spark when the car starts? Does the leak need to be a significant one?
 

joecaption

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At 12 years, yes it near the expected life.
Only takes a tiny gas leak near a source of ignition to cause an explosion.
 

68bucks

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If you fill a room with enough gas, like an overnight leak, a light switch could be enough to ignite it and cause an explosion. I had a close friend whose house exploded killing his wife a few years ago. It was cause by a gas leak. It's not an uncommon thing so I would not take any chances.
 

Flyover

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@JWblue If you're in central Ohio, I'm selling a "like new" gas water heater. It's under warranty and has never been installed, just sat in my garage for about 3 months. Retails for around $900 but my price is 1/3rd of that. (Our "classifieds" section disappeared...) PM me for details if you're interested.
 

BuzzLOL

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and gas company came out and said there wasn't a leak and it was another issue.
So... what did they say the "other issue" was?

BTW, all gas appliances make a little gassy smell nearby when they come on... like within a foot or three... and maybe also when they go off, depending on what shut them off...

Is there electric power to the gas hot water heater?
.
 
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