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How to clean a flame sensor on A.O. Smith Power Vent water heater?

Cleaning the flame sensor on an A.O. Smith Power Vent water heater is a crucial maintenance task that can help ensure the efficient and safe operation of your appliance. The flame sensor, also known as the flame rod, is responsible for detecting the presence of a flame in the burner chamber. If it becomes dirty or covered in soot, it may not function properly, leading to ignition problems or even a shutdown of the water heater. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to clean the flame sensor.

Before you begin, it's important to emphasize safety. Always turn off the power supply to the water heater at the circuit breaker and shut off the gas supply to the unit. Give the water heater some time to cool down before attempting any maintenance.

Here are the steps to clean the flame sensor on an A.O. Smith Power Vent water heater:
Gather the necessary tools:
* Screwdriver
* Wrench
* Soft bristle brush (such as a toothbrush)
* Emery cloth or fine sandpaper (120-180 grit)
* A clean, dry cloth or paper towel
* Access the burner assembly:
* Locate the access panel on the front of the water heater. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws securing the panel. Once the panel is off, you should have access to the burner assembly.
Locate the flame sensor:
Look for the flame sensor, which is typically a metal rod located near the burner. It will be connected to a wire and positioned in front of the burner flames.
Disconnect the flame sensor:
Use a wrench to carefully disconnect the wire attached to the flame sensor. Ensure that the wire is disconnected from the sensor to prevent accidental electrical shock.
Remove the flame sensor:
Gently pull the flame sensor out of its housing. Be cautious not to bend or damage the sensor during removal.
Clean the flame sensor:
Take the soft bristle brush and gently brush away any loose debris or soot that may have accumulated on the sensor. Then, use emery cloth or fine sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of the sensor. This will remove any stubborn deposits that may be interfering with its function.
Inspect the flame sensor:
After cleaning, visually inspect the flame sensor to ensure it is free from any residue. It should appear clean and shiny.
Reassemble the flame sensor:
Carefully reinsert the flame sensor into its housing and reconnect the wire.
Reattach the access panel:
Secure the access panel back onto the water heater using the screws you removed earlier.
Restore power and gas supply:
Turn the power supply back on at the circuit breaker and reopen the gas supply valve.
Test the water heater:
Set the thermostat to the desired temperature and observe the water heater's operation. The burner should ignite without any issues, and the water heater should function normally.

Regularly cleaning the flame sensor on your A.O. Smith Power Vent water heater is essential for ensuring its reliability and safety. Make it a part of your routine maintenance to prevent ignition problems and ensure the efficient operation of your water heater. If you encounter any difficulties during the cleaning process or if the problem persists, it's advisable to consult a qualified technician or contact A.O. Smith customer support for further assistance. Safety should always be a top priority when working on gas appliances, so exercise caution and follow manufacturer instructions and guidelines.
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