What Do I Need to Know About My Water Heater’s Gas Shut-off Valve?

Every homeowner who owns a water heater should know a few things about the heater’s gas shut-off valve, particularly how to turn it off. Knowing what to expect from the gas shut-off valve and what to do if it starts acting up is crucial not just in maintaining the water heater but also in keeping the entire household safe.

Here are some of the most important things to learn about your water heater’s gas valve:

When to Use the Gas Shut-Off Valve

Learning how to use the gas shut-off valve is an essential skill in case a gas leak occurs. Being able to detect a potential gas leak quickly is critical in keeping you and your family safe. While natural gas is usually odorless, utility companies normally put an additive so that homeowners can easily smell if there is a gas leak.

It’s important to be aware of a gas leak right away so that the necessary steps to fix it can be done. If left unattended, a gas leak can lead to serious damages to your home, as it can cause an explosion and fire. Once you smell the gas coming from the water heater, it would be ideal if you can shut off all gas to the house or at least at the water heater itself.

It should be noted, though, that turning off the gas supply yourself isn’t always the best thing to do. If the gas smell is faint, then you should be able to shut off the gas to all flame-operated appliances, including the water heater, under minimal risk. However, if the gas smell is strong, it is highly recommended for you to leave the house immediately to ensure your safety.

A strong smell of gas usually means there is imminent danger in the house, and it’s never a good idea to try to fix the leak yourself. It’s much better for a professional to check in, locate the leak, and repair it. Make sure you contact your gas company or a professional utility service as soon as you’re out of the house to address the situation quickly.

Turning off the water heater’s gas valve doesn’t always require a gas leak. If you plan to replace your water heater, you will also need to turn off the gas.

Locating the Gas Shut-off Valve

To locate the shut-off valve, you first need to find the gas pipe that feeds gas into the water heater. Ideally, the area around the water heater was cleared after it was installed so that it’s easy to find the gas pipe and valve. A lot of people tend to use the top of the water heater for storage, but that isn’t advisable at all since the water heater needs proper ventilation. It’s also better to keep the area decluttered so that professionals can have an easier time checking for gas leaks if the need arises.

Trying to find the gas shut-off valve can be quite tricky. If you see a valve located on the water heater’s control box, that’s actually not for the gas. Instead, look for a lever or knob-operated valve a few feet away from the water heater control box, usually installed along the pipe run itself.

Shutting Off the Gas Valve

To shut off the gas valve, simply turn its handle on a one-quarter spin until it stops. The handle should reflect a 90-degree angle to the pipe’s pathway once the valve is closed and positioned parallel to the pipe if it’s open.

After shutting the valve off, you also need to ensure that the water heater has switched off. Open the water heater control box and check the temperature setting; it should reflect that the water heater has stopped warming up. Take a look inside the access hatch at the bottom of the water heater, too. If the water heater has turned off, the burner should not be ignited anymore.

If you were shutting the gas valve off because of a suspected leak and you still smell gas despite turning off the water heater, leave the house right away. Outside of your home, you should find a gas meter shut-off valve right next to the gas meter. Turn this valve off the same way you did with the water heater’s gas valve, then call the gas company or a water heater repair service so that they can assess the situation.

A Final Word About Your Water Heater’s Gas Shut-off Valve

The gas shut-off valve is easy to operate and should be easy to find if the water heater area is kept clear. It’s important to learn how to close it if an emergency such as a gas leak occurs, if you’re performing maintenance on your water heater, or if you’re replacing it altogether.

If you experience any trouble using the valve to turn off the gas supply to your water heater, or if you simply have any questions regarding your gas valve, you can always call Patrick’s Hot Water for assistance. Patrick’s Hot Water is a professional company specializing in water heater repair and is guaranteed to help you with any of your plumbing or water heater-related concerns at an affordable price.

(Source: Angie’s List)