Advocate Blog

Gas Water Heater

Relight a Gas Water Heater

If you live in Lee’s Summit and your gas water heater pilot light has gone out, don’t panic. Here’s a step-by-step guide to relighting it:

• Turn off the gas supply valve by rotating the knob to the “off” position.

• Wait a few minutes for any gas fumes to dissipate before attempting to relight the pilot light.

• Locate the pilot light assembly. It should be near the bottom of the water heater.

• Turn the control knob to the “pilot” position.

• Press and hold the control knob down to start the flow of gas to the pilot light assembly.

• Push in the piezo ignitor button to start the flame. This may take a few attempts.

• Once the pilot light ignites continue holding the control knob down for 30 seconds to allow the pilot light to heat up the thermocouple.

• Release the control knob and turn it to the “on” position.

• Turn the gas supply valve back on.

It’s important to note that if you smell gas, do not attempt to light the pilot light. Instead, turn off the gas supply valve and call a professional to inspect the water heater.

If you’re located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and need assistance with relighting your gas water heater, consider contacting Jerry Miller with your local plumbing company at Advocate Master Plumbing. He can provide expert assistance and ensure that your water heater is operating safely and efficiently.

Gas Pipe

Water Heater Gas Pipe Drip Leg

A hot water heater gas pipe drip leg is a safety feature of a water heater that is designed to prevent the accumulation of debris and moisture in the gas supply line. This device is a small, vertical pipe that is attached to the gas line and extends downward from the gas valve of the water heater.

The drip leg is usually made of a 6″ steel nipple and has a cap at the bottom that can be opened to remove any accumulated debris or water. This feature helps to prevent the accumulation of sediment, rust, or other particles that can clog the gas supply line or gas control valve and affect the performance of the water heater.

The drip leg is also important for safety reasons because it helps to prevent the flow of gas from being disrupted by any water that may be present in the gas line. Water can cause damage to the gas valve, burner or other components of the water heater, leading to potential gas leaks or even fires.

If you find yourself needing a gas hot water heater replacement or repair please feel free to call your local Lee’s Summit Master Plumber at Advocate Master Plumbing.


How to Test an Electric Water Heater Heating Element

If you’re getting inconsistent hot water from your electric hot water heater you may have a failed heating element.

In this article, we’ll outline the steps you need to follow to test an electric water heater element.

Step 1: Turn off the power to your water heater. This can typically be done by turning off the circuit breaker that supplies power to the unit at your home electrical breaker box.

Step 2: Locate the element in your water heater. The first water heater element to fail is typically the bottom one.

Step 3: Using a multimeter, test the resistance of the water heater heating element. To do this, set the multimeter to the resistance or ohm setting and touch the probes to the element’s terminals.

Step 4: The readings on the multimeter should be between 10 and 50 ohms, depending on the type of element you have. If the readings are much higher or lower than this range, it could indicate that the element is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Step 5: Repeat the process for each element. This will help you ensure that all elements are functioning properly and that there are no issues with your water heating system.

In conclusion, testing an electric water heater element is a simple process that can help you ensure that your water heating system is functioning properly. If you experience any issues during the testing process, it’s important to seek the help of a licensed professional to diagnose and resolve the problem.


Water Heater Heat Traps

Water heater heat traps are a crucial component of modern water heaters that help to prevent heat loss and improve energy efficiency.

Heat traps are small flaps that are installed by manufacturers in the hot and cold water lines at the top of the water heater. They prevent hot water from flowing back into the cold water line, thereby reducing heat loss and maintaining the water temperature inside the heater.

Heat traps are important because they help to reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain the desired water temperature. This results in lower energy bills and a more environmentally-friendly water heating system.

Heat traps also help to extend the lifespan of the water heater by reducing the stress on electric heating elements.

In conclusion, heat traps are a small but important component of modern water heaters. They help to improve energy efficiency, reduce heat loss, and extend the lifespan of the water heater. So if you find yourself in need of a water heater repair or hot water heater installation please call Lee’s Summit plumbers at Advocate Master Plumbing. We’ll send a highly trained and experienced master plumber to evaluate your water heater needs.


Water Heater Sacrificial Anode Rod

Water heater sacrificial anode rods are an essential component in any water heating system. Made from materials like magnesium or aluminum, these rods are designed to attract the corrosive elements in the water, protecting the water heater tank from rust and other forms of damage.

Over time, water heaters can experience corrosion, leading to leaks and reduced efficiency. The anode rod acts as a buffer, absorbing the corrosive elements and protecting the tank from damage. This sacrificial process means that the anode rod deteriorates over time, eventually requiring replacement.

If a homeowner wants to extend the standard 40 or 50 gallon hot water heater beyond its average 12 to 15 year lifespan, it is recommended that they replace their water heater anode rod every few years, depending on the level of use and the water quality in their area. Neglecting this maintenance can lead to costly repairs or even the need for a new water heater altogether.

Replacing an anode rod is a relatively simple process that can be done by a homeowner with the right tools and a basic understanding of their water heating system. Without them you can definitely damage your home water heater tank.

First, turn off the electricity or gas to the water heater and shut off the water supply valve. Partially drain the tank below the level of the anode rod and remove the old anode rod, replacing it with a new one. Finally, refill the tank and restore power to the unit.

Regular maintenance of a water heater can extend its life. But if you’re unfamiliar with the workings of a water heater you may be better off leaving it alone. Otherwise, you can always call your local water heater installers in Lee’s Summit at Advocate Master Plumbing.


Gas Water Heater Safety Systems

Gas water heaters have become a popular choice for many households due to their energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and fast water heating capabilities. However, gas appliances also come with certain safety risks, such as the potential for gas leaks and the ignition of flammable vapors.

To mitigate these risks, many gas water heaters are now equipped with a Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistance (FVIR) system. This system is designed to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors that may be present in a home, such as gasoline, cleaning solvents, or paint fumes.

FVIR systems are designed differently for various models. Some by detecting the presence of flammable vapors in the surrounding area and automatically shutting off the gas supply to the water heater. This prevents the vapors from being ignited by the pilot light or burners, reducing the risk of fire or explosion.

More commonly by restricting the burner flame air supply with a fine mesh screen that won’t allow ignited fumes from burping outside the confines of the burner chamber. This prevents ignition of flammable materials around gas water heaters.

It’s important to note that FVIR systems do require maintenance to ensure that they are working properly. Homeowners should regularly check their water heater’s manual for specific maintenance instructions, such as cleaning the air vents at the base & under side of their tanks for proper operation of the FVIR system.

In conclusion, the Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistance system in gas water heaters provides an added layer of safety and protection for homeowners. So if your gas hot water heater fails please feel free to call Advocate Master Plumbing. We’ll send an experienced master plumber to your home to properly and safely diagnose the issue and offer water heater repair options.


What is a water heater thermocouple

A thermocouple is a device that’s made of 2 different strips of metal that are attached. It is installed so that its end is in the pilot light of the water heater burner. The thermocouple detects the heat from the pilot light.

Should the pilot light go out accidentally the thermocouple will automatically shut off the gas valve. This prevents gas from flooding the combustion chamber and causing an explosion.

The thermocouple performs its job through a thermoelectric effect known as the Seebeck effect. This is when two separate types of metal in proximity to each other generate electrical voltage in proportion to the heat they sense. The higher the heat around the two metal pieces, the higher the voltage.

The thermocouple in a gas water heater is designed to keep the gas valve open through its electric voltage. If the pilot light goes out, the loss in heat causes the voltage between the two pieces of metal to drop, and this shuts the valve and reduces the combustion risk.

The thermocouple is a simplistic approach to water heater safety. When it begins to fail a replacement will be necessary. With our new sealed combustion chamber water heaters a call to your local Lee’s Summit plumbers at Advocate Master Plumbing would be wise.

Pilot light, no hot water
Gas water heater thermocouple

Resetting electric water heaters

Resetting the high limit switch on an electric water heater is a simple and straightforward process that can help to restore proper functioning to the unit. The high limit switch is a safety device that is designed to shut off the power to the water heater if the water temperature becomes too high. This helps to prevent overheating and potential damage to the unit.

You can locate the high limit switch near the top of the water heater, near the thermostat under the removable cover. The thermostat us a black, rectangular electrical connection. The reset button is usually a round, red button. You simply press it in. This will start your water heater back up. You’ll hear a slight hissing noise coming from the tank. This indicates the heating element is working.

After you have reset the high limit switch, it is important to check the water temperature to ensure that it is at the proper level. If the water is still too hot, it may be necessary to adjust the thermostat to a lower setting.

It’s important to note that if the high limit switch keeps tripping, it may indicate a more serious problem with the water heater, such as a faulty thermostat or a malfunctioning heating element. If this is the case, it may be necessary to call a professional to diagnose and repair the issue.

It’s also important to note that if the water heater is too old or showing signs of rust and corrosion, it may be time to replace it. A new water heater will be more energy efficient and will provide more consistent hot water.

In conclusion, resetting the high limit switch on an electric water heater is a simple and straightforward process that can help to restore proper functioning to the unit. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily reset the switch and ensure that your water heater is running safely and efficiently. Remember to always take the necessary safety precautions when working with electricity, and if you encounter any issues that you are not comfortable troubleshooting, always feel free to call your local Lee’s Summit water heater repair specialist at Advocate Master Plumbing.

Electric water heater upper thermostat reset button

Toilet leaking into ceiling

This week one of my regular Lee’s Summit plumbing customers complained of a water leak in their ceiling from a toilet. They were upset not only because of the possible damage to their ceiling. But also because they’d had another company reset the toilet just last year.

I asked if they had a new tile floor installed in the bathroom. They said they had. It was done last year. They had the remodeler reset the toilet.

I told them that this is a common problem. The remodeler had installed tile that was thicker than the old flooring tile. This raised the top of the floor above the toilet flange. This creates a gap between the bottom of the toilet & the toilet flange to which it connects.

Toilet leaking into ceiling
Toilet flange below flooring

This gap can create leaks when the toilet is flushed. The wax seal between the bottom of the toilet and toilet flange is compromised.

Most remodelers & inexperienced plumbers will install two toilet wax rings to fill the gap. But this is only a temporary solution. The wax will sag & begin to leak after one to three years. This creates a gap in the wax seal and the toilet begins to leak.

Unfortunately this amount of time is beyond the average warranty. So the remodeler or plumber never hears of the mistake. And they can’t learn from it. They continue the poor practice and the customer calls me.

Toilet flange riser
Toilet flange extension

A toilet flange should be just slightly above the bathroom flooring. To fix their problem I pulled the toilet. I installed a toilet flange extension on top of the toilet flange and reset the the toilet.

I apologized to my customer for the inconvenience created by the remodelers mistake. And I explained to them that even experienced plumbers are convinced stacking wax rings is a correct method.


Installing copper water pipes underground

Yesterday one of my regular Lee’s Summit plumbing customers referred me to their son in law. He needed a bar sink drain & copper water pipes relocated.

Their location under the basement slab & in the middle of the room was cumbersome. They didn’t need a bar. They needed a play area for their kids. So out comes the jackhammer.

Some considerations before moving these pipes are the elevation of the drain pipe & connecting copper water pipes for underground applications.

A drain pipe relocation is limited by the need for a quarter inch per foot grade of the pipe. Without this it won’t drain properly. And you don’t want the horizontal sections of pvc drain pipe embedded in the concrete if you can help it. If the drain pipe is already close to the under side of the slab there may not be enough room for an extension.

Copper water pipes can’t be soldered underground. The movements of the ground with changing seasons & varying moisture levels could compromise a solder joint. So you’re left with the options of connecting to the existing copper water pipes with pack joint couplings or brazing the pipes.

Pack joint couplings for joining underground copper water pipes are a pretty simple but expensive option. The specialty underground water pipe connectors can run as much as fifty dollars a piece.

Brazing is similar to soldering. But with a copper to copper connection no flux is needed. You use a special brazing rod & heat the pipes to about fifteen hundred degrees. A temperature close to coppers melting point.

Being a master plumber & Lee’s Summit plumbing contractor I’ve brazed before. So I chose the less expensive option. And I feel it’s a stronger joint. Plus it’s kind of fun.

I got to jackhammering quickly. I opened a small trench about eighteen inches wide & three feet long to the exterior wall. Then I hauled away all the large chunks of concrete. I saved the crushed rock & small pieces of concrete for backfill.

Unfortunately, the previous contractor had run 3/8″ soft copper tubing to save money. But fortunately the 1/2″ soft copper tubing I brought had the same inside diameter as the 3/8″ copper tubing outside diameter. So I just slid the new pipe over the old & brazed away.

After brazing the two copper tubes, and burning myself of course, I rolled out the copper tube to the exterior wall. I left about a foot of pipe above the slab grade & soldered caps on the ends.

Now you’re not suppose to put water pipes on an exterior wall in the Midwest. They could freeze. But these will be left in the wall below the frostline for possible future connection. So there was no risk of freezing.

I then connected to the existing ABS drain pipe with a rubber transition coupling & ran pvc pipe to the exterior wall. ABS pipe is known for cracking issues. I left a one foot section above grade & capped it.

After taking pictures of the work for my customer, before covering it, I graded the drain pipe and backfilled with the crushed rock & small pieces of concrete I’d just removed. Then I finished the concrete with a two inch cap of cement. It will be a foot traffic area only. So there’s no need for a thicker layer of cement.

I told my customer to leave it alone for one to two days before covering it. Then I texted him the pictures of the project at each stage. He should see what he’s paying for, after all.

My wife asks me all time why I still do concrete work at my age. But I like it. And I run my plumbing business from my home. So I’m working for my neighbors. And it’s better for them to get a master plumber bid & do the work. The other local Lee’s Summit plumbing companies have journeyman level or apprentice plumbers doing the work under the umbrella of the business owners plumbing license. I want the best for my neighbors.

Copper water pipes underground, brazing
Rerouted Bar Sink Piping