View Full Version : Strange water heater problem

02-19-2007, 09:24 PM
I went on my evening run and then jumped in the shower only to discover that it was ice cold. I went into the basement and checked the water heater. The pilot was out and there was a little water (maybe 1/4") in the pan beneath the heater and a some water inside the heater on the metal plate below the burner.

I relit the pilot and then waited a minute or so and then turned the knob to "on". I heard gas flowing for almost 15 seconds and then it caught and shot flames a couple of feet out the access hole. The burner stayed on around 30 seconds and then went out again.

I repeated this once and got the same result. This water heater was put in exactly four years ago. It's a GE 9 year model from Home Depot. The model number is PG50T9HA.

I've never seen a water heater this new go out before. All the connections are totally dry and I did a quick test on the T&P valve and water definitely comes out when I pull up. I have always kept the temperature close to the minimum so it shouldn't be a temperature issue (unless there is a gas valve problem).

I have a water softener but no filter. However, I can't imagine this much corrosion in this short a time.

Does anyone have any ideas?


02-19-2007, 10:44 PM
Since I am replacing the water heater I figured this would be a good time to ask this...

I am used to using the "accordion" style copper connectors for connecting water heaters. I use the ones with the sweat connection on one side and the brass threaded one on the dielectric nipple side. However, I've noticed metal braided hoses recently at the Home Depot. I was considering trying the hoses out. Any opinions?


02-20-2007, 03:24 AM
Sorry I have never used them. What is their I.D.?

02-20-2007, 09:05 PM
I am not sure what you mean by "ID" so I included a picture.

Well, the new water heater is installed. What a pain! I had forgotten how heavy they are, especially when there's still a little water left.

I talked to GE (actually Rheem) tech support. I got the heater lit again but there was quite a bit of water dripping onto the burner so it was definitely bad. The tech support people logged an incident and told me to take the heater to Home Depot and they would give me a replacement. I had forgotten just how much "fun" water heaters are to move, especially when you have to do it alone. I ended up having to attach it to myself with motorcycle tie-down straps in order to keep my grip while going up the basement stairs. ;-)

Once I got to Home Depot I found out what the warranty really means. They told me that GE said that they don't make that model anymore and the current model is an "upgrade" so I have to pay the difference, which was $110. However, when I went back to plumbing they told me that they are out of that model so I would either have to find one at another store or buy the "12 Year Deluxe High Efficency" model. Having been up all night working on this problem I didn't want to drive all the way to another store. Plus, their truck rental base fee only covers the first 75 minutes.

I looked at the EnergyGuide sticker and the 12 year model said 242 therms, compared to 278 for the one I was replacing. There was a sticker on it that said that it would qualify for a rebate with most utility companies. Since the difference in cost was only $60 I figured it was worth it for the substantial extra efficiency and also the possible rebate.

Unfortunately, when I got it home and out of the box, the EnergyGuide sticker said 258 therms. Obviously I wasn't going to take it back for that but it was a little frustrating. When I had to go back to HD later to get a fitting for the vent pipe I mentioned it to the guy in plumbing and asked if the model he gave me was the only 12 year 50 gallon gas model they sell and he said yes. I mentioned the difference and he said that is an issue with the manufacturer and HD has nothing to do with it.

So far I am happy with the new one. It was nice to take a shower today that wasn't freezing. :-)

02-20-2007, 09:11 PM
Here's the picture of the hose.

Gary Swart
02-20-2007, 09:37 PM
I've not seen that type of connector, but it may be fine. What I use is flex copper with 3/4" female connectors on each end. They are somewhat ridged, but they can be shaped to make the hook-up an easy proposition.