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How to Ensure Your Gas Water Heater Works Properly

You step into the shower for a nice hot shower and enjoy a few minutes of steamy, relaxing water when all of the sudden the water goes cold! Or perhaps you never got any hot water to start with, and because you overslept, you end up taking a cold shower. A cold shower can be refreshing during those hot, humid summer days, but isn’t the everyday ideal. If your hot water isn’t working, you may have a faulty gas water heater on your hands. Water that doesn’t get hot enough is also a sign of a gas water heater on the fritz. But, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are the top things to check when your gas water heater isn’t working properly:

Is it on?

Check the gas control knob to see where it’s pointing. Turn it to pilot to avoid any accidents while you continue investigating. Then, remove the cover of your heater and look to see if the pilot light is on. If the pilot light isn’t on, you’ll need to light it again. There should be instructions on your water heater indicating how to reignite it. Check the gas valve, open it and light the pilot. If you’re still having trouble, double check your gas supply valve that should be coming in through a pipe from outside your heater. If you are unable to light the pilot, this indicates a more serious problem, and you’ll probably need some professional help.

Check the Burner

The pilot is used to ignite the burner when the water needs to be heated. The burner should come on to heat water to the heat setting you have on your water heater. First, cover your water heater and then set the thermostat to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, turn a hot water faucet on for a while. Then, check to see if the burner has come on. If it doesn’t work, you can experiment with turning the thermostat down, and then up again.


If your burner doesn’t light, or your hot water only works for a short while, it could be that your thermostat is malfunctioning. In this case, it’s best if you get help from a specialist. It may need to be replaced so that it responds, heating the water to the temperature indicated on the dial.Throughout the process, make sure to be aware of the smell of gas. If you smell gas, turn the gas valve to off and wait for a few minutes to allow things to air out before trying to light the pilot again. However, if the smell of gas doesn’t lessen, ensure that the valve is turned to off and leave the vicinity immediately. Call the gas company or a plumber from a safe location away from the leaking gas for help. Gas is highly flammable and could cause an explosion.If you’ve been through the list and can’t find anything wrong, you may be better off calling a professional plumber to take a look. After all, shivering in the shower isn’t a good long-term solution! A thermostat replacement or further investigations by a professional can often lead to a repair, ending your cold showers.

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