Unitrol R110RTSP gas control valve leaks

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by stas4j, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. stas4j

    stas4j New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Hello, I have a 7 year old EnviroTemp (American) gas water heater with R110RTSP gas control valve. It has a small gas leak from under the valve dial (I can smell gas coming from there if I move my nose close to the dial). It seems to be a common problem with this valve as I researched on the internet - http://www.nachi.org/forum/f22/unitrol-gas-valve-leaks-water-heater-28573/. I know there was a recall on these valves but my valve is not under that recall. The heater itself works fine otherwise. I investigated the anode rod in order to figure out wether I should replase the valve or the heater itself but the anode rod is still intact although it needs replacement. So I think it is more economical to replace the valve and the rod rather than the whole heater.

    Removing that anode rod was an adventure by itself because it requires just unbelievable gut-busting force on a wrench in order to unscrew it! I could not do it by force so I had to come up with a device which I would like to share with you all. In order to unscrew the anode rod I needed 1-1/16 socket wrench, 24" pipe wrench and a car jack. I placed the pipe wrench between the heater nipples (removing draft hood first) and wedged a car jack between the pipe wrench and socket wrench handle (you can see the set-up on an attached picture). Then expanding the car jack I was able to exert a great force on a socket wrench and unscrew the anode rod. It worked great in a confined space and I think one (not very strong) person can do it without external help.

    Now back to replacing the valve. I looked on the internet and gas control valves are pretty expensive. You can pick up one at lowes for $60 (R110RATSPL) but it has different main burner pressure of 5". Valve currently installed on my heater has 3.5" main burner pressure. My questions are:

    1) How important that main burner pressure for correct operation of water heater?

    2) If it is important is it possible to adjust the pressure on a newer valve from 5.0" to 3.5" (I know there is a pressure tap near the main burner tube for the manometer)?

    3) Any suggestions on where to get a valve with a short shank and 3.5" main burner pressure on the cheap?

    Attached Files:

  2. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    That same basic valve is on Bradford Whites, Richmonds, GE's, Whirlpools, and probably every other type. Problems with shared gas control valves of this type is something I noted several months ago in another thread... The Unitrol's seem to be sh*t for production quality.

    If I put my nose right down on top of the valve I get a faint whiff of the gas. The mercaptan has a pretty low odor threshold and I can't smell it otherwise (passed bubble tests, etc...wouldn't have noticed it without putting my nose nearly on the top of that dial.) This one is a recent replacement. Best guess: they all leak detectably, but to differing degrees.
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Probably why Bradford White has switched to the ICON system.

    This is probably why a lot of us use a cordless impact wrench to change anodes.
  4. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama
    I dont have a beef with bradford and white. I just get better service from my Rheem dealer and they stock parts. I know I know the trd will blow and you hafta change them out,or atleast the last I checked the trd's were not available for repairs. I haven't had any problems with any of them I couldn't repair but they have installation limits,a dirty enviroment is bad for all of them.:D
    Great use of the impact wrench:D
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    My preference is also based on the surface area of the flame arrestor on the Bradford White. Its huge compared to all the others and its size leaves a lot of room for clogging with far less velocity to suck things in.
  6. stas4j

    stas4j New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    You turned out to be so right, Runs! I bought a brand new valve for $80 and guess what? I can also smell gas at the top of the dial (although the odor is less apparent and barely notiseable). Furthermore the valve is not calibrated, so setting thermostat at 130F mark produces 150F water. (I measured actual hot water temperature.) So now I have to set thermostat to the "warm" zone, somewhere near "vacation" in order to operate the heater normally. Now I think that I should not have messed with this water heater in the first place.

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