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Question DetailsAsked on 10/13/2015

What is cost for Plumber to restart propane water heater; new in Nov 2014; Propane provider thinks is control box?

Hot water heater has not needed restart since installed in Nov 2014 and propane was exhausted before this attempt to restart. No other (older appliances) had any problem restarting after resupply of propane. What is cost to restart and then what is cost if "control box" needs replacement?

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2 Answers


Bring in two or three qualified experts to give you opinions and quotes.

Answered 4 years ago by the new window man


Minimum service charge for a visit probably about $75-150 depending on area - rarely more in a few very high priced urban areas. And unless you have a hard to figure out problem that should cover the labor cost unless he has to go get a gas control valve to fit, in which case may add labor cost for the travel time to the shop or store to get it.

If gas control valve needs replacement typically about $100-250 for parts depending on whether conventional "old " or fancier electronic control unit - most conventional thermostat dial and gas control know type around $80-125, electronic starts typically $125-200 range. (Which is screwy because entire water heater is usually about $400-500 complete.)

Try a couple of things thing if you know how to restart it yourself :

What happens is sometimes, depending on how long the gas hose is disconnected from the propane tank and how long the device sat without being used, is the gas line to the appliance can get filled with air - sometimes only from the appliance gas regulator to the pilot so only a few seconds of air before gas comes out, but when entire gas system is turned off or disconnected can fill entire line with air, which obviously does not burn, so you have to let enough flow for the gas to push the air out of the line.

1) if standing pilot type, hold a burning match (long fireplace type helps or regular one taped to a stick), or a butane log starter or burning stick flame just above the pilot outlet orifice (where the thermocouple sticks up through the pilot fixture in the firebox) and then try lighting the pilot (turn to START or LIGHT and hold down, typically) and see if the flame on the stick/match flickers noticeably. If so, air is coming out of the gas pipe even if not burning, which means the gas line got filled with air. If gas line to the water heater is long (as opposed to shared with other currently operating appliances like boiler) you may have to keep it held down to light position for up to a minute or so before the actual propane gas comes through and starts burning to support the pilot flame.

2) if electronic starting, probably best to not do it yourself because you can wear the ignitor out - plumber will usually crack a fitting and let it flow a bit until he smells the gas coming out and then tighten it back up and go ahead and light the pilot.

3) other common possibility - thermocouple failed (though should have gas flowing when in the pilot light mode, just won't stay lit when you release the button or know), or the electronic ignitor failed. Still Plumber or in some areas Gas Fitter to fix and similar labor cost but repair parts more like $10-50 typically.

Course, I don't know how much of this the gas provider tech tried already.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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