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How to replace A.O. Smith sealed water heater gasket?

Replacing the gasket on an A.O. Smith sealed water heater is an important maintenance task to prevent leaks and maintain the water heater's efficiency. The gasket forms a watertight seal between different components of the water heater, such as the heating element or the heating element flange. If you notice any signs of leakage or damage to the gasket, it's essential to replace it promptly. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to replace the sealed water heater gasket:

1. Safety Precautions:
Safety should be your top priority when working with water heaters. Turn off the electricity to the water heater at the circuit breaker or disconnect switch and shut off the water supply to the heater.
2. Allow the Water Heater to Cool:
Before attempting any work on the water heater, allow it 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 a screwdriver, adjustable pliers, a replacement gasket compatible with your A.O. Smith water heater model, and possibly a wrench or socket set depending on your heater's design.
4. Drain the Water Heater:
To prevent water spillage during the gasket replacement, drain the water heater by attaching a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Run the other end of the hose to an appropriate drainage location and open the drain valve to allow the tank to empty completely.
5. Access the Gasket Location:
Depending on your water heater model, you may need to remove a cover or access panel to access the gasket location. Use a screwdriver to remove any screws or fasteners securing the cover in place. Carefully set aside the cover.
6. Locate the Old Gasket:
Once you have access to the gasket location, identify the old gasket. It may be situated around the heating element or the heating element flange. Carefully inspect the old gasket for signs of damage or wear.
7. Remove the Old Gasket:
Use a screwdriver or adjustable pliers to carefully remove the old gasket from its seating. Be gentle to avoid damaging any components, such as the heating element or flange.
8. Prepare the New Gasket:
Ensure that the replacement gasket is the correct type and size for your A.O. Smith water heater model. Inspect the new gasket for any defects or damage.
9. Install the New Gasket:
Carefully position the new gasket in the same location as the old one. Ensure it seats properly and aligns with any grooves or flange edges to form a secure seal.
10. Reassemble the Water Heater:
If you had to remove a cover or access panel to access the gasket, reattach it using the screws or fasteners you previously removed.
11. Restore Water and Power:
Turn on the water supply to the water heater and restore power to the heater by flipping the circuit breaker or reconnecting the disconnect switch.
12. Monitor for Leaks:
After restoring water and power, closely monitor the water heater for any signs of leaks around the newly replaced gasket. Pay attention to the area where the gasket is installed to ensure there are no water drips or moisture.
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. Regular Maintenance:
To prevent future gasket issues, incorporate regular maintenance into your water heater care routine. Periodically inspect the gasket for signs of wear, damage, or leaks, and replace it as needed.

Replacing the gasket on an A.O. Smith sealed water heater is a maintenance task that helps ensure a watertight seal and prevents leaks. 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 qualified plumber or technician to ensure the job is done safely and effectively. Proper maintenance of your water heater and its gaskets is essential for reliable hot water supply and to prevent water damage to your home.
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