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Water Heater in a Flood


Neal Lewis
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My 2 year old AO Smith water heater was submerged in about 8 inches of water last weekend. It was red tagged by the utility company, since the flame arrester was under water. AO Smith says to replace the entire unit if the flame arrester is in water.

Is this a requirement of all water heater manufacturers?

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At a minimum the gas valves will need to be replaced.

Ten years ago when my septic was replaced the County inspector made the contractor remove the 2 foot or so section of my basement gravity drian that clipped the corner of the new sand filter pit. That was early December. Six weeks later we had a big thaw, over 2 feet of snow melted in a couple days. The melt water backed up into the basement. I would pump out 16" of water in the morning, and when I got home from work there would be another 16" to pump out. It was three days before the water stopped coming in. We cleaned out the burners and replaced the gas valves on the boiler and water heater, and one of them got a new thermocouple. We also raised the gas valves to just above the high water mark.

The gap in the gravity drain was closed and I've been mostly dry ever since, just a few trickles through the field stone walls. I was fortunate that it happened when it did, as the 12'x30'x4' sand filter was clean and fresh.

Tom

I feel your pain brother.

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My 2 year old AO Smith water heater was submerged in about 8 inches of water last weekend. It was red tagged by the utility company, since the flame arrester was under water. AO Smith says to replace the entire unit if the flame arrester is in water.

Is this a requirement of all water heater manufacturers?

Yes, I believe it is, but the information is buried pretty deep with some of them. The flame arrestors are the working part of a FVIR water heater and they might no work if they're damaged. To my knowledge, no manufacturer allows replacement of just the flame arrestors. If they get damaged, or if there's a FVIR event, then the whole water heater is supposed to be replaced.

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