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How to replace a control on an A.O. Smith gas water heater?

Replacing a control valve on an A.O. Smith gas water heater is a task that may be necessary if you're experiencing issues with temperature regulation, pilot light problems, or other control-related problems. The control valve, also known as the gas valve or thermostat, is a critical component responsible for regulating the gas flow and temperature of the water heater. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to replace the control valve on an A.O. Smith gas water heater:

1. Safety Precautions:
Safety should be your top priority when working with gas appliances. Turn off the gas supply to the water heater at the gas shut-off valve and shut off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker or disconnect switch to prevent any accidental ignition.
2. Allow the Water Heater to Cool:
Before attempting any work on the control valve, allow the water heater to cool down if it has been running recently. Hot water can cause burns, so ensure the tank is at a safe temperature.
3. Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials:
You'll need several tools and materials for this task, including an adjustable wrench or pipe wrench, a pipe cutter, pipe tape (thread seal tape), a new control valve compatible with your A.O. Smith water heater model, and a pipe fitting brush.
4. Disconnect the Gas Supply:
Use an adjustable wrench or pipe wrench to disconnect the gas supply line from the control valve. Turn the wrench counterclockwise to loosen the connection. Be prepared for a small amount of gas to escape when disconnecting the line.
5. Remove the Control Valve:
Locate the control valve on the water heater. It is typically connected to the gas supply line and positioned near the bottom of the water heater. Use an adjustable wrench to carefully loosen and remove the control valve from its mounting position. Ensure you don't damage any surrounding components.
6. Prepare the New Control Valve:
Ensure that the replacement control valve is the correct type and model for your A.O. Smith gas water heater. Inspect the valve to confirm that it is in good condition and comes with any necessary seals or gaskets.
7. Install the New Control Valve:
Position the new control valve in the same location as the old one. Reconnect it to the gas supply line and hand-tighten it initially. Use an adjustable wrench to securely tighten the connection. Ensure that it is snug but not over-tightened to prevent damage to the valve or gas line.
8. Apply Pipe Tape:
Wrap the threads of the gas supply line where it connects to the control valve with pipe tape (thread seal tape). This helps create a secure and leak-free seal.
9. Reconnect the Gas Supply:
Reconnect the gas supply line to the control valve by turning it clockwise with an adjustable wrench. Ensure it is tightly secured.
10. Perform a Leak Test:
Apply a soapy water solution to the gas connections to check for any signs of gas leaks. Bubbles will form at the connection points if there are any leaks. If you detect a leak, shut off the gas supply immediately and recheck the connections.
11. Restore Gas and Power:
Turn on the gas supply to the water heater at the gas shut-off valve and restore power to the water heater by flipping the circuit breaker or reconnecting the disconnect switch.
12. Set the Temperature:
Adjust the temperature setting on the new control valve according to your preferences. Be cautious not to set it too high to avoid scalding.
13. Test the Water Heater:
Wait for the water heater to heat the water. Test hot water at a tap to ensure it reaches the desired temperature. Monitor for any issues or unusual behavior during the initial operation.
14. Periodic Maintenance:
To ensure the continued proper operation of your water heater, perform regular maintenance, such as cleaning the burner assembly and inspecting the control valve for any signs of wear or damage.

Replacing the control valve on an A.O. Smith gas water heater is a maintenance task that can help resolve issues related to temperature control and gas flow regulation. However, if you are not confident in your ability to perform this replacement or encounter any difficulties during the process, it's advisable to seek the assistance of a licensed plumber or technician to ensure the job is done safely and effectively. Proper maintenance of your water heater and its control components is essential for reliable hot water supply.
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