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2014

How to replace thermostat on gas water heater

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Gas water heater thermostats at Amazon
Icon gas valve

This Honeywell gas thermostat is NOT removed from tank

All other thermostats are removed from tank

Resource:
How to replace Honeywell gas water heater thermostat

Error codes and service manuals
Buy
Honeywell gas control at Amazon
Honeywell gas control at Amazon

This Honeywell gas water heater thermostat IS removed from tank

Resource:
How to replace water heater gas valve
How to replace gas control thermostat
Also read instructions below on this page
____________________________________
How to light water heater
Error codes and service manuals
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Example honeywell gas control valve at Amazon

Thermostat is located inside copper tube

To replace thermostat, gas control valve must be replaced
Service manuals for all types gas control valves

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Gas water heater thermostats at Amazon
Gas water heater ECO

Thermostats are usually single-use after ECO trips

Water heater Gas thermostat has Energy Cut Off
When ECO senses overheating inside tank, the ECO trips and shuts off gas.
If water heater burner or pilot has gas, then ECO is not tripped.
Gas valve must be replaced (except Intellivent which can be reset).
ECO must have continuity
Read more
Test ECO on Robertshaw- White Rodgers
Read about resetting intellivent

Buy
Gas water heater thermostats at Amazon

Replacement starts here for all models

Following steps apply to all gas water heater thermostats
Natural gas and Propane
Except Honeywell shown at top of page
Service manuals
White rodgers gas control thermostat

Before spending money on repairs, check anode rod

This will stop tank from rusting. Or add combo anode rod in place of hot water nipple.
If anode rod is depleted, then install new anode to prevent steel tank from rusting.
Anode is located on top of tank, either 1-1/16” hex head located in separate anode port, or connected to hot water nipple as a combo.
Replace anode rod

gas control label

Identify and order new gas thermostat using label on side

Order new gas control valve thermostat online
If gas control is discontinued, there are usually replacements available.

Do not re-use old thermostats
Do not install different model on water heater
Do not mix propane or natural gas
Do not convert water heater to different gas.
Propane burns hotter and requires cast iron burner, and propane gas has more pressure> absolute danger to convert to different gas
Buy
Gas water heater thermostats at Amazon

Turn off gas to water heater

Locate gas shut off. Handle will be parallel with gas line when gas is ON Rotate gas shut off handle perpendicular across line to shut gas OFF.

Let water heater cool for a couple hours.
Gas water heater thermostat
Larger image

Connections on bottom of gas control

Note tubes connected on bottom of gas control.
For propane, threads are reverse. Natural gas, threads are regular.
Note how tight each is when removing, so re-installation is about same.
These connections do not need pipe sealant or teflon tape.

Remove gas line from side of gas control

Keep gas connections clean/ avoid debris inside gas valve

Gas line is re-used.
Use only black pipe or flexible yellow gas line.
Make sure gas line stays clean, so dirt will not enter new gas control.
Gas line connection
Black pipe union
Black pipe union
Keep pipe clean

Protect end of pipe from dirt

Remove old teflon tape.
Keep all debris from inside of pipe.
Yellow flexible gas line

Flexible gas lines at Amazon
Remove gas thermostat

Use 1/2" galvanized pipe as handle

Screw piece of galvanized pipe into gas control valve and use as handle to unscrew old gas control.
Loosen gas control using weight of water inside tank, then drain tank before removing completely.

Use weight of water in tank to loosen gas valve

... then Drain tank

Turn off water and drain tank completely
If tank won't drain, connect washing machine hose and water hose to drain valve to flush open.

Install new thermostat

New gas control should have sealant on threads. If not, add 6 wraps white teflon tape to threads.
Install new gas control into tank. Must be tight so pressurized hot water doesn’t leak from tank.

Larger image

Re-attach tubes under gas control

Do not overtighten.
No teflon tape on tubes under gas control.
Thermocouple is finger-tight plus ”
Electronic gas controls have wires for thermopile and do not have thermocouple.
Gas line connection

Re-attach gas line 

Using yellow teflon tape, or gas-approved thread sealant

Yellow is for gas.
Do not let pieces Teflon, or pipe sealant, into gas line where it can enter gas control.
Do not overtighten gas line where it connects to gas control to avoid damage to new control.
Gas has less pressure than water line.
Test for gas leak
Larger image

Gas pressure is low, so it takes time before leak will show.

Use soapy water 

To check for leaks on gas line, and on tubes under new gas control.

Test for gas leak
a) Test pipes: Mix liquid soap with water and use brush to put around around gas line joints to see if there are bubbles. Use plenty of soapy water. May take some time for bubbles to appear since gas is under low pressure.
Soap bubbles coming from joint indicate leak: retighten pipes, use teflon tape on yellow flex pipe and black pipe.
Do not overtighten pipes or damage can occur to gas control valve.

b) Test factory-installed connections located below gas control valve
Manifold and pilot tube connections located under the gas control valve do NOT use teflon tape.
See image of manifold and pilot tubes
If either tube under gas control valve is leaking, just tighten a little bit. Do not overtighten.
Manifold and pilot tube: look for reverse thread on LP water heater. Regular thread on NG water heater
Remember: Natural gas and propane gas both have less pressure on the line than water pipes, so gas pipes are easy to seal with ordinary wrench. If you can install water line without leaking, you can do the same with gas line. Do not over-tighten connections.
Gas odor will be present if gas line has leak. Smell close to floor since some gas can be heavier than air and will settle downward. If gas is present, leave house immediately and call gas company. Turn off main shut-off at gas meter.

Bathtub running full stream before lighting water heater

Tank must be full of water before lighting

18) Fill tank completely with water until water is coming out of tub spout.
Open tub spout on hot side and wait for full stream of water.
Next open TP valve for a moment to bleed last of air from tank.
Turn off tub spout and light heater.
Tank cannot have any air when burner is turned on or damage can occur to tank.

How to light typical gas water heater
Read directions printed on side of your tank

Light new water heater as shown on label located front of water heater

Read product manual for tips and advisories.
How to light gas water heater by type of gas control valve
Note: New gas heater might have small water leak when first fired up because of condensation
Ignore a bit of water inside combustion area or bottom of tank.
This water is condensation and will disappear as tank reaches set temperature.
Any cold tank can show same condensation when fired up.
Water pipes should not be leaking.
Water should not be dripping down vent pipe: this signals bad venting ot other vent problem.
Don't worry excessively, but if needed, post questions on professional water heater forum: The Tank

Resource:
How to install gas water heater

More information
Dusty environments

Avoid dusty environment

Dust  will clog air intake, cause unburned fuel, and create fire hazard
-Do not install cold water line above gas valve where condensation drips on valve.  
-Annually clean burner area with wire brush and vacuum cleaner.
Resources
read1 read2
Troubleshoot and clean gas water heater
Trace chemicals

Remove chemicals from same room as water heater.

-Chemicals corrode water heater parts and vent pipe. 'Spray propellants, cleaning solvents, refrigerants, swimming pool chemicals, calcium and sodium chloride, household bleach, waxes and process chemicals are corrosive at very low levels with no odor."
Resources
Read Bradford White Pdf pg2-8   
Read Rheem pdf
Outlet polarity If gas valve is connected to electricity, the outlet polarity must be correct
Water heater must be grounded. Poor ground can prevent flame. GFCI circuit can cause short cycling. If outlet is not dedicated or has GFI, other loads such as florescent lighting can cause short cycling.

Unplug cord. Test for continuity between ground prong on plug and manifold tube on gas valve.
Connect water heater to different outlet. Test outlet with circuit analyzer
Gas valves
How to set temperature on gas valves
Error codes and service manuals
If you maintain the tank: keep chemicals out of same room, attach bare copper ground wire between hot and cold pipes, flush tank each 6 months, clean burner each year as shown in manual, read the manual entirely for specific information about your model, and inspect/replace anode rod every 2-3 years then basic 6-year tank can last much longer. 

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