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Old 06-02-2015, 08:03 AM   #1
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Thumbs down Burned up the gas valve - fixable?

On the last day of our trip recently, we had a near disaster. My wife was showering and I was making breakfast outside. All of the sudden I could smell a weird smoky/electrical smell. I looked all around and finally found that the water heater flame had apparently melted all the wiring and some of the solenoids on the gas valve. I haven't looked yet, but I suspect that the burner may be plugged thanks to a family of mud daubers.

Can i just replace the crispy wiring and fire it up? The insulation completely melted off and the conductors were touching when I looked at it this morning.

What can I test across the solenoid terminals to see if it's still good?

I'd rather fix it for a few dollars instead of $50+ for a new valve.
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:08 AM   #2
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I can't say If each part is available to the public.

Good luck and let us knows how it go's.
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:46 AM   #3
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We'd like to see close up photos before making a call here but-- we've heard of
this happening once before. In that case they never found anything in the burner
tube. It seems like the burner just backfired and started burning outside rather
than inside. He also had fried wires but I don't know how much he had to replace.

I actually saw mine do that one time. Might have been the first or 2nd
start up. I was standing there with the door open when it fired. It sounded funny
and the burner tube started to smoke near the bottom end then it just quit.
The sound returned to normal and it stopped smoking.
I think it was burning right at the air gap rather than further down the tube.
It worried me but seemed to work normally after that.

You might be able to get parts on Ebay that even a dealer won't sell but it's all
on YOU. We are not recommending you work on a critical gas appliance without
proper license or training. Not saying I wouldn't do it in your place.... If the valve is
looking toasty, I'd replace it to be safe. If it sticks on even the hi temp cut out
wont shut it off. Don't skimp on a gas appliance repair!
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two_peases View Post
On the last day of our trip recently, we had a near disaster. My wife was showering and I was making breakfast outside. All of the sudden I could smell a weird smoky/electrical smell. I looked all around and finally found that the water heater flame had apparently melted all the wiring and some of the solenoids on the gas valve. I haven't looked yet, but I suspect that the burner may be plugged thanks to a family of mud daubers.

Can i just replace the crispy wiring and fire it up? The insulation completely melted off and the conductors were touching when I looked at it this morning.

What can I test across the solenoid terminals to see if it's still good?

I'd rather fix it for a few dollars instead of $50+ for a new valve.
If the solenoid is not melted, Just replace the burnt wires. If you use an ohm meter or continuity meter, you should be able to test that. Try going to ground with one probe and the other probe to each connector if it shows ground you will need to replace it. Other then that you will need to replace the wires themselves anyway and turn it on and see if it will work if not then you will know if it got damaged. If the terminals are still holding solid you might be okay, I don't know how distorted it got from the heat. Lucky you were out there....
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:08 AM   #5
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I would replace the entire gas valve. Years ago when I was working HVAC, the insurance companies would no longer allow replacing parts in gas valves. For the safety of my family I would spend the extra money and be assured of a properly working valve.
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:12 AM   #6
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I would replace the entire gas valve. Years ago when I was working HVAC, the insurance companies would no longer allow replacing parts in gas valves. For the safety of my family I would spend the extra money and be assured of a properly working valve.
Very good point....
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by gljurczyk View Post
Very good point....
Looks like I'm investing in a new valve.

Thanks for the help guys!
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:54 PM   #8
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I just replaced my Gas Valve

Bought on Amazon

47.28

[URL="http://www.amazon.com/Suburban-161109-Gas-Valve/dp/B003G9FQSS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1433263852&sr=8-4&keywords=suburban+water+heater+parts"]
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:21 PM   #9
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I fully agree with Filthy Beast. I was in the HVAC and appliance business for 40 years, and back in the 70's I could buy parts for the valves.....not available anymore,,,,thank you U. S. Government. But probably a good thing. BUT....consider this. Look at your air mixture slide of the venturi tube.....If it's too lean an air mixture, the flames will feather out and cause the situation you described. If the air is to rich,,,,it'll cause a fluttering noise that will cause a fire in the tube also. Make sure you have the air mixture right,,,,get experience to help you there,,,,the ramifications are too far reaching if you don't make sure. Replace the valve, it's not worth the gamble. I speak from 40 years of a learning curve.
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Old 06-02-2015, 05:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tomb View Post
Bought on Amazon

47.28

[URL="http://www.amazon.com/Suburban-161109-Gas-Valve/dp/B003G9FQSS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1433263852&sr=8-4&keywords=suburban+water+heater+parts"]
Are you sure that is the correct Gas Valve. It's say's 10.5" I assume they mean pressure in a water column. To run propane you should be set to 11.5". Other then that you will soot your exchanger with a yellow flame. Make sure it is correct. I do think that the FR regulators are set at 11" or 11.5" in the water column. Call a gas company to make sure. Not sure if you can adjust that valve or not if you read the description it states that it will only work after a certain serial #. That tells me they made a change. I would call Suburban and give them your serial # and ask before you install it.
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