Gas water heater stopped working

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Old 09-04-19, 11:17 AM
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Gas water heater stopped working

My son owns a rental property in Columbus (Ohio) , The gas got turned off by the gas company A man from the gas company came out yesterday to turn it back on. This involved him going into the basement. Neither I nor my son were in the basement when the man from the gas company was there.

When the gas company man came back up to the main floor, he told my son the water heater was not working. He said, when he made several attempts to get the burner on the water heater to ignite and burn, it would immediately trigger the safety shutoff and would refuse to start.

So, he turned the gas valve (on the pipe supplying gas to the water heater) off and he attached a tag, notifying us of the malfunction and shutoff status, to the pipe.

I've been wondering whether this is a normal part of the procedure when gas is turned back on after an interruption in service. And, I'm wondering whether we could turn the valve on the gas pipe leading to the water heater back on and try starting the burner.

I'm also wondering whether the water heater having air in it that needs to be expelled before water starts flowing has any significance with regard to getting the burner re-started.

Below are two photos of the water heater:
 
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Old 09-04-19, 11:27 AM
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The water needs to be on to the tank. It will still light even if low on water.

Not sure what the issue was with the gas serviceman but the line needs to be purged of air. It could take a while unless the supply line is cracked open. It would trigger a shutdown only if the unit overheated..... not just from lighting the pilot.
 
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Old 09-07-19, 07:35 AM
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The tank must be filled with water before you try to start the heating. Otherwise the water heater could self destruct if you get the burner started and forget to fill the tank.

To be sure the tank is full, turn on a hot faucet upstairs and see water gushing full blast for a full minute.

Pushing the knob or button on the water heater control box lets gas to the pilot nozzle. It could take awhile for gas to get there if the gas line got a lot of air in it. It is hard to tell whether failuire to start when you press the igniter button was due to gas not getting to the nozzle yet versus too much getting there and escaping and flooding the combustion chamber.

The old style water heaters with an easily opened inner hatch cover to the combustion chamber are easier to light because you can use a match which works more reliably than the igniter.
 
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Old 09-07-19, 11:22 AM
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Yes.... the tank needs to be full of water to not risk overheating but that has no effect on the unit lighting. It will light even if the tank was empty.

When the gas to a house has been shut off for a while..... the lines eventually completely drain of any gas. It could take a LONG time to relight the water heater pilot.

My problem is that the gas service guys know this. This is not something new. Either they were in a hurry to get out of there or there is a problem. Many times they will loosen a fitting near the appliance to allow the gas to purge the pipe.

You could try relighting the pilot but it could take 10-15 minutes to purge all the air out.
Are all the other gas appliances working correctly ?
 
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Old 09-08-19, 03:22 PM
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I tested the furnace. It is operating normally. I'm not in that house everyday. I'll report back later this week after I've had a chance to try starting the water heater.
 
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Old 09-19-19, 07:05 PM
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Well, I've had a chance to try once more to start the water heater burner. No luck!
 
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Old 09-19-19, 07:29 PM
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When you try lighting the pilot..... do you see a spark near the burner when you push the ignition button ?
You'll probably need to lay down to see in the burner chamber.

If you do see a spark...... hold the red button down for one minute and push the ignition button. Keep holding the button down and pushing the button every 30 seconds. If after 5 minutes no ignition..... you're going to need more in depth service.
 
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