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How to replace flame sensor rod on A.O. Smith water heater?

Replacing a flame sensor rod on an A.O. Smith water heater is a relatively straightforward task that can help resolve issues related to the burner's ignition or flame detection. The flame sensor rod is a critical component that detects the presence of a flame and ensures safe operation. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to replace the flame sensor rod:

Tools and Materials You'll Need:
Replacement flame sensor rod (ensure it is compatible with your A.O. Smith water heater model).
Adjustable wrench or pliers.
Safety goggles and gloves.

Step 1: Safety Precautions
Safety is the top priority when working with gas appliances. Before starting, turn off the gas supply to the water heater. Locate the gas valve, usually found on the gas pipe leading to the heater, and turn it to the "off" position. Ensure the water heater has completely cooled down to prevent burns during the replacement process.
Step 2: Access the Flame Sensor Rod
The flame sensor rod is typically located near the pilot light or burner assembly inside the water heater. To access it, you may need to remove a burner access panel or cover. Use a screwdriver to carefully remove the panel or cover.
Step 3: Disconnect the Flame Sensor Rod
The flame sensor rod is connected to the burner assembly and the control board by electrical wires. Carefully disconnect the wires from the flame sensor rod. Use a screwdriver or pliers to loosen the terminal screws and remove the wires. Take note of the wire connections for reinstallation later.
Step 4: Remove the Old Flame Sensor Rod
The flame sensor rod is held in place by a mounting bracket or clamp. Depending on your water heater model, you may need to remove screws, nuts, or brackets to release the old flame sensor rod. Carefully disengage the old flame sensor rod from its holder.
Step 5: Install the New Flame Sensor Rod
Take your replacement flame sensor rod and position it in the same location as the old one. Ensure it is properly aligned and seated in the mounting bracket or clamp. Secure it in place using the screws, nuts, or brackets that were removed during the removal process.
Step 6: Reconnect the Electrical Wires
Reconnect the electrical wires to the new flame sensor rod. Match the wires to their respective terminals on the flame sensor rod, following the notes you made earlier. Tighten the terminal screws to ensure a secure connection.
Step 7: Check for Proper Installation
Inspect the new flame sensor rod to ensure it is securely in place, properly aligned with the burner, and correctly connected to the control board. Verify that any electrical connections are tight and secure.
Step 8: Replace the Burner Access Panel or Cover
Reattach the burner access panel or cover that you removed earlier. Use a screwdriver to secure it in place.
Step 9: Turn On the Gas Supply
Turn the gas supply back on by rotating the gas valve to the "on" position.
Step 10: Test the Water Heater
After restoring the gas supply, give the water heater some time to heat the water. Test the hot water supply at a faucet to ensure it's working correctly. Monitor the water heater for any signs of issues or malfunctions.
Step 11: Monitor for Proper Operation
Keep an eye on your water heater over the next few days to ensure it continues to operate without issues related to the flame sensor rod replacement.

By following these steps, you can replace the flame sensor rod on your A.O. Smith water heater. If you encounter difficulties or are uncomfortable with any part of the process, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a qualified technician or plumber to ensure your water heater operates safely and efficiently. Safety is paramount when working with gas appliances, so exercise caution and adhere to manufacturer guidelines and local regulations at all times.
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