Question about water heater flame color and size

by Melissa R.

I have a natural gas water heater that when heating the water is producing more dirt than usual and it is smoking. What the??? I called my utility gas company, as I thought it might be a dirty gas, but they are saying it is my water heater.

Is that correct? I should look at the flame color and the size? I checked that and I have noticed that the burner flame colors are changing, blue and yellow. And the size is changing.

My question is... what is the perfect flame size and color of the burning natural gas?

Should I call a technician or is that DIY home project.


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May 14, 2010
Why burner flame is yellow, lazy...
by: Zee from water heater reviews

There are several reasons why the burner flame inside your gas water heater is changing its color and the size. Check the water heater burner flame through the viewport on the heater.

If the burner flame becomes "lazy", you should check is there a sufficient combustion air supply. When this happens, the temperature inside the combustion chamber increases, causing the thermal switch to trip.

Every atmospheric water heater must have an unobstructed air supply to the water heater. Usually, air is supplied through the openings on the room where your water heater is installed, and these opening should have the correct size.

To extract the products of combustion out, the proper draft should be established, which you can check by observing is the burner flame steady or not.

The correct flame color should be a light blue with the minimum of yellow tips.

Incorrect flame color is yellow or sharp blue orange.

If you see the burner flame color is yellow and lazy do the following:

Provide sufficient fresh air to the water heater, especially if the unit is installed in the confined area.

Check with the gas utility company as there might be a low gas pressure.

Clean the flue pipe and vent system as they are blocked.

Check the main burner orifice is it clogged, clean or replace it if needed.

Due to the above reasons, you might experience soothing and smoking problem also.

If the burner flame floats, lifts off the burner ports, or the flame is too high, burner orifice is too large so you have to replace it with the correct size. Gas pressure might also be too high or the flue duct and the venting system is blocked.

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