Standard Hot Water System Repair
The following information will help you maintain your water heater.
Has your pilot light gone out?
Normally your water heater will have lighting instructions on the front of it. Sometimes the instructions get worn off the water heater making them difficult if not impossible to read.
To light pilot first turn the knob on the front of the gas valve clockwise until it stops. Then turn the knob on top of the gas valve to "off" position for 5 minutes. This gives the gas valve a chance to reset. While waiting, take the metal cover at the lower front of the water heater off. There will be another metal cover. Remove it.
You will see three lines going into the burner area. The one on the right is the pilot tubing. Follow that tube into the burner area until you see the pilot assembly. Now you know where to light the pilot when you are ready.
After 5 min. turn the same knob to the "pilot" position and push down. While pushing down on the knob, (using a long match or striker) reach into the burner area to the pilot assembly and light the pilot. Continue holding the button down for 60 seconds then release it. The pilot should stay lit.
Turn the knob on top of the gas valve to the "on" position. Put the metal covers back on the water heater. Turn the knob on the front of the gas valve to its original position or close to it. If the water is cold in the water heater the burners should be on.
Is there the smell of sulfur and or rust in your water?
Complaints of smelly and rusty water are frequent in the heating industry. Waterborne bacteria that flourish in a warm environment such as a water heater, hot water storage tank, or connected to plumbing cause these conditions.
Along with the sulfur bacteria, required elements are high concentrations of sulfates, active hydrogen, and water with little or no dissolved oxygen. Sulfates provide the food for the bacteria. Hydrogen is already present in the water, and can be enhanced by the water heater anode rod. Permanent removal of the anode rod is not an acceptable solution, since that would leave the water heater without it's second line of defense against corrosion, and will void tank warranty. Examples of water heating systems often low on dissolved oxygen are those with long standby periods and municipal water systems with large reserves and low flow conditions.
Rusty and Discolored Water
The most common cause of rusty water is iron reducing bacteria called Leptothrix. Iron bacteria are commonly found in soil, water wells, water treatment plants and water distribution piping systems where soluble iron exceeds 0.2 parts per million. Higher levels make conditions even more favorable. Soluble iron in the water provides food for the bacteria. Rusty or discolored water is the result of a bacterial feeding process. Laundry, tableware, and plumbing fixtures can be stained if the condition is left unchecked. The affected water can be red or brown, and may have a black sediment.
Heaters and tanks with iron bacteria usually require new anode rods as presence of iron bacteria causes premature anode failure.
Chlorinating Water Heaters and Storage Tanks