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Common Types of Gas Hot Water Systems

Typically, gas hot water systems can be of the following types:

  1. Instantaneous gas hot water system
  2. Storage tank gas hot water system
  3. Continuous flow gas hot water system

What are Instant Gas Hot Water Systems?

Standard instant gas hot water systems are small heating systems that save both wall and floor space. This is because they are installed on the wall, and heated water comes as needed. It does not heat and store water. In addition, they are known for their efficiency.

Other names for this hot water system include:

  • Instantaneous gas hot water system
  • Continuous flow gas hot water system
  • Tankless gas hot water system
  • On-demand gas hot water system

You may find older Bosch models and Pyrox models that operate with a water heaters pilot light. However, the newer brands like Rheem hot water heater, Dux hot water heater, and Rinnai hot water heater do not have pilot lights. Furthermore, these newer brands have ignition burners that light up upon turning on the hot water tap.

Conversely, when you turn the hot water tap off, the light goes off. Furthermore, the ignition is not run by a pilot light. Thus you end up saving running costs. In addition, no gas is used with the hot water tap turned off.

How Instant Gas Hot Water Systems Work

The operation of instantaneous gas hot water systems is unlike that of gas storage hot water systems.

First, you turn on your hot water tap. The heating system propels cold water through the heat exchanger. This heat exchanger is a pipe made of copper. A flow sensor in the gas hot water system is set off. Then, heat is applied directly to the pipe, and the heating begins.

Second, the heat triggers a gas burner. Thus, the needed amount of water is heated up to the required temperature. Next, the water flows to your tap. Finally, when you turn the tap off, the hot water system turns off.

Frequent Instant Gas Hot Water System Problems

  • Sporadic Hot and Cold Water

The common problem with instantaneous systems can have several causes. Some of these include a faulty gas meter diaphragm, a faulty showerhead, and low hot water pressures. Furthermore, there may be an inadequate gas input to the hot water system. This can result from an under-sized gas bottle.

  • Lukewarm Water

You could have lukewarm water coming in instead of hot water. A faulty diaphragm or thermostat could be the cause.

  • Less Water

What can you do if the water produced by your hot water system is less than expected? Or it could be that the water pressure has decreased. First, check if the thermostat is broken or faulty. Second, see if the strainer valve on the cold inlet is blocked.

Furthermore, you may check the water heater pilot light. However, keep in mind that instantaneous gas hot water systems have lower water pressure than storage hot water systems.

Storage Gas Hot Water Systems

This storage hot water system is a type of gas water heater system installed outside. Usually, a large tank stores the hot water. Examples of such brands are Rheem and Dux. You typically see them on the ground.

Why is my Gas Hot Water Not Working?

One likely cause of your gas hot water not working is your gas pilot light going out. Here are the reasons for gas pilot light going out:

  • Miscellaneous Reasons

This could result from the LPG gas bottle emptying, which can be caused by excess wind and storms. Alternatively, an interrupted gas line in your street or a blockage can also be the cause.

  • Faulty Thermocouple

It could be a result of thermocouple issues. Usually, the thermocouple sets up a voltage that keeps the gas valve open. The thermocouple’s tip sits above the pilot flame and senses when the pilot light burns. Should it sense the pilot light going off, it will transfer the gas supply to the heater.

Thus, when the thermocouple is faulty, it hardly senses the pilot light and prevents gas supply. This fault could be due to dust or misalignment with the pilot light’s flame.

  • Need for More Combustible Air

Yes, your water heater needs air so that the pilot light won’t go out. Thus, remove any clutter or debris in the surrounding area. This will allow more combustible air in.

Why is the Gas Pilot Light Not Igniting?

Similarly, the water heater pilot light may not ignite. After all, instant gas water systems require moderate to high water flow to ignite the pilot light. Therefore, try running your tap on high pressure for a few minutes to ignite your pilot light.

Steps to Fix the Pilot Light Not Igniting

When it is working, the pilot light appears as a small blue flame. You find it at the base in the combustion opening. When it is not coming on, you can use the following steps to get it on. However, remember not to let excess gas build-up. That is why you should let your local gas technician handle this if you are less sure.

  • First, remember to clear the area of flammable materials like matches or cloth. Also, check the manufacturer’s instructions on re-lighting the storage gas hot water system. Simply remove the access cover to do this.
  • Second, check for gas leaks. If you smell gas, turn off the gas control and the gas valve. Then, invite your gas technician.
  • Third, if you did not discover any gas leak, light the ignition. How? Put the gas control knob to OFF by turning it anti-clockwise.
  • After that, wait for 5 minutes for any remaining gas to clear off. Then, ignite the pilot. Do this by turning the control knob clockwise until it is in the pilot position.
  • Now, press down and hold the control knob for 3 seconds. This way, gas will flow, and the pilot will light up. Still, with the control knob held down, press the ignition button repeatedly for around 30 seconds. Additionally, hold the control knob for 20 seconds before releasing it.
  • The pilot light should now be lit.
  • If the problem carries on, you might just have to invite your gas technician over to do some servicing.

Troubleshooting if your Gas Hot Water is Not Working

  • Check Gas Flow or Supply

Is gas flowing to the stovetop or other gas appliances? If not, then check the gas valve meter. You may thereafter seek help from your local utility provider.

  • Check the Continuous Flow Connection

Is it plugged into its electrical socket?

  • Check the System Controller

Is it switched on? The temperature should be set appropriately.

General Reasons Why your Gas Hot Water is Not Working

Here are a few additional causes as to why your gas hot water is not working and what you should do:

  • The Tank is Too Small

First, you should consider getting a bigger size of the water heater if your family is large. For example, a family of 4 persons would find a 40-gallon tank inadequate.

  • Sediment Build-up

Second, if your hot water no longer lasts, check your tank for built-up sediments. Over time, dissolved minerals and sediments can settle on the bottom of the tank. Thereby, they reduce your water heater capacity.

Simply flush your water heater to rid the blocked drain of any sediment. Remember to rinse out with fresh water.

  • Your Dip Tube Could be Broken

The dip tube helps push new cold water down. There, the lower element heats it. However, if the dip tube is broken, the cold water mixes with the already heated water. Consequently, the overall water temperature is lowered. Simply invite a local plumber to inspect, repair or replace the dip tube.

  • Slow Recovery Time

Perhaps you notice your gas hot water is not working specifically after prolonged use? It could be that the hot water has been drained and the water needs to reheat. Keep this in mind and give gaps between showers.

  • You Need to Reset the Thermostat

Ideally, your water temperature should range from around 120 degrees to 140 degrees. You could reset the faulty water heater thermostat or raise the temperature.

  • Water Heater is Old and Needs Replacement

A water heater that is older than around 10-12 years may cause issues. The hot water could leak, or the lower element could need repairs. Consider a hot water replacement.

  • Faulty Lower Element

The lower element heats the cold water at the bottom. The upper elements help keep the water temperature regular. Thus, the impact is felt immediately when the lower element goes bad. Invite a local plumber to check it for repair or replacement.

  • Generally Cold Weather

When the weather is cold, and the water heater sits unused, your gas water heater may become less effective. Therefore, in such sustained weather, you may turn the hot water heater up for a while. After that, when it heats up, you set it back to normal.

  • Faulty Safety Shutoff

Finally, the safety shutoff valve may be faulty. Usually, it functions in excessively high internal temperatures. In such conditions, it stops the water from further heating by preventing the flow of gas. If your safety shutoff valve is faulty, you need to replace it.

What is the Average Time your Shower Hot Water Should Last?

This varies with your type of water heater, the recovery rate, and the size of the tank. Other factors include how hot you run your shower and your showerhead’s flow rates.

Typically, your 40-gallon water heater should give you hot water that lasts around 45 minutes to an hour. Thus, if you do not live alone but love your shower time long and hot, you may need more hot water.

Who Should Fix your Gas Hot Water Problems?

A faulty water heater needs fixing as it can be dangerous. Proper care must be taken, especially when there is a gas leak. You should care about your safety and the safety of your devices. As such, you may need a qualified, certified, experienced, and licensed plumber.

Furthermore, you end up protecting your insurance and warranty from being voided. Moreover, some gas installations and gas hot water repairs can be pretty tricky. You may also consider that you may need an emergency plumber for emergencies.

Safety When Dealing With Gas Plumbing is Important

There could be several reasons for your gas hot water not working. For sure, there are also solutions. However, you have to be confident and safety conscious. Better still, invite nearby residential or commercial gas plumbers that are licensed and trained for the job. Sometimes it’s better to simply schedule an appointment with a professional plumber if you are having gas hot water problems.

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