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Troubleshooting Natural Gas Water Heaters

Heating of the water in your water heater requires a source of energy. This source of energy ranges from natural gas, liquid propane gas, electric to solar. There are new ingenious water heaters that may use some other for of energy as well. Natural gas water heaters are basically hot water heaters that do the heating with help of natural gas. They burn the natural gas to produce heat, which eventually heats the water. Natural gas water heaters are very common due to the ease of avaibility of natural gas, and fairly cheaper cost of the fuel source compared to electric, which is the second most popular fuel source. Solar water heaters are rare due to the amount of work that goes into installing them and also the output ratio. Troubleshooting natural gas water heaters is fairly simple and below are the tips on some of the common troubleshooting methods to give you an idea of how it is done.

Just like electric water heaters, gas water heaters have scenarios where you may not have not water supply at all. Some of the possible reasons that this might happen may be:
-Faulty gas pilot
-Faulty gas thermocouple
-Faulty gas pilot control valve

Possible Repairs
-Check gas pilot flame and pilot operation. See How to Light a Gas Furnace Pilot for similar operation.
-Re-tighten, reposition or replace the gas thermocouple.
-Replace the gas pilot control valve.

For gas water heaters, the inadequate hot water supply may have totally different cause when compared to electric hot water heater. The possible causes for this system are:
-You might have a water heater which is smaller for the demand of hot water you have.
-Broken or damaged dip tube allowing cold and hot water to mix in tank
-Faulty plumbing installation has crossed cold and hot water connections
-Gas supply or control problems

Possible Repairs
Make sure water heater is not being overtaxed by hot water supply demands. The water heater should have 75% of its capacity as hot water (e.g., a 40 gallon WH should be used for a demand of 30 gallons). To determine required capacity see Calculating Fixture Flow Rates.
Undo cold water inlet and pipe nipple and remove dip tube. Check condition and replace if required.
Check for crossed connection by turning off water supply to water heater. Open a hot water faucet. If there is water flow, then there is a crossed connection somewhere. Check for a hot water line connected to a cold water connection on the water heater or appliances such as washer, dishwasher, faucet or shower valves.
Check for proper flame from burner. A natural gas flame should be a bright blue with the tip of the flame having just a tinge of yellow. A propane flame should have a bluish green flame with a tinge of yellow at the tip.