Water heaters have changed so have the repair tools

by stewart wrozier
(st.louis mo.)

I have been a service tech for 20 yrs. The old gas water heaters generally never had problems. They would work for 10 to 15 yrs. start to leak and then you would replace them. If they were installed correctly and you had a problem (no hot water) it was one of two things. Easy to diagnose and most people understand about the thermocouple.

Today's water heaters are completely different and people compare them to the old style and that is were the problem starts.The new water heaters MUST be keep clean. Preventive maintenance is key to a trouble free water heater.

If the flame arrestor is not kept clean the pilot light WILL fail.The flame arrestor is located under the water heater. They make a water heater vacuum brush for this purpose. You can purchase this tool on the internet. The tool is called tightspotvacuum. It hasn't been around long and was design for the home owner, so they do not have to take apart anything. Would not recommend the home owner taking gas pipes apart. The new water heaters are not bad just different. If you understand how they work.

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May 10, 2010
For cleaning flame arrestors
by: Zee from water heater reviews

I have checked the internet for this vacuum brush... the retail price: $15.95.

This brush is used to clean the flame arrestor which is built into the base of the water heater. The function of the flame arrestor is to prevent the flame to escape from the combustion chamber (it is part of FVIR system).

Air goes through the flame arrestor to the combustion chamber. If it is covered with the dirt and dust, there will be not enough air for combustion.

This is why it needs cleaning.
Bottom of the water heater is always tough to reach, so the tool suggested here might be a good solution.

This tool has a brush to loosen the dust and dirt and a nozzle for vacuum to pull the debris away. Using a vacuum is important because if you are brushing it only or blowing the air you can drive the dust and dirt into the screen.

If you are a contractor you might have to use it often, so you can justify buying one. If you are just a user... it is up to you.

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