water heater controlReplacing a water heater gas control valve is a big deal. Once you’ve gotten to this point, you have to ask yourself if you should be considering replacing the entire water heater. The control valve is expensive and if your water heater is getting old anyway, it may be time to bite the bullet.

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Turn the gas off so that the handle is perpendicular to the pipe and remove the gas line from the control valve. Also turn the water off to the water heater at the top of the tank and then connect a hose to the hose connection at the bottom of the tank. Open the hose valve and start draining the tank. Be careful as this will be very hot water (assuming the water heater has been on and heating water).

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There are three connections remaining at the bottom of the control valve: the main gas line, the pilot tube, and the thermocouple. Remove these connections from the valve. The control valve will be ready to spin out.  Use a large pipe wrench and place it over the top of the valve. Unscrew the valve from the tank…this probably won’t be easy. You will have to go to a plumbing supply store, so take the old valve with you to make sure you get the correct part.

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Reinstalling the new valve is a matter of reversing the order when removing it. Wrap the threads of the new valve and tighten it up by hand, then give it an extra turn with the wrench. Connect the main gas tube first, then the pilot tube and thermocouple. Reconnect the gas line from the wall, refill the tank and light the pilot. You should have hot water in about an hour. By the way, for a sealed burner unit, in addition to the above, there are wires that go into the burner chamber and you must have an exact replacement.

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