Replacing Grommet Seal on Hot Water Heater

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Larry Robinson

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I need to replace the brown rubber "quarter" size grommet seal on a GE water heater. I have the rubber grommet seal but I'm wondering the easiest way to install the seal. The thermocouple and two wires go through the middle of the seal. Should I (a) loosen the thermocouple and the igniter wire and the third wire from the gas valve and try to squeeze them through the three holes, or (b) disassemble and remove the complete burner assembly and squeeze the wires and the thermocouple from the end nearest the flame? or (c) should i cut the wires and stick them through the holes and then solder/tape the wires back together? what do you experts suggest? thank you very much in advance for your suggestions.

Please see the attached pictures showing (a) my hot water heater missing the grommet seal, and (b) the new grommet seal i need to install. thanks!

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IMG_7457.JPG
 
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dj2

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GE (made by Rheem-Ruud) uses this type of grommet. If your water heater is under warranty, call customer service for a burner replacement kit, which has the pilot line, gas line and igniter line through the grommet already.
BTW, what happened to the original grommet? where did you get the grommet in the picture?
If your water heater is out of warranty, improvise. One look at your gas valve/thermostat and I think the water heater is out of warranty.
American Water heaters use a grommet that is separated into two pieces (better design).
 

Smooky

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Take a look at this and see if it helps any. You can see the grommet starting at about 1:55 to 2:55, he does talk about it a little. He gets frustrated and discusses cutting the grommet about 2:30 . The grommet is similar to the one you have but read dj2's post below:

 
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dj2

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Smooky,

This is a decent video, but: it doesn't show how to insert the 3 lines (igniter, pilot gas supply and thermocouple) through the grommet.

This video is showing what seems to be an old American or Whirlpool, which has a different grommet than GE, Rheem and Ruud.
 

dj2

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Larry Robinson,
In my previous answer I suggested you improvise a solution to how to insert the 3 lines (igniter, pilot gas line and thermocouple) through the grommet.
To speed things a bit, here it is:
- First get the correct grommet that fits, from GE or another supply store.
- Then, cut the grommet in the middle, through the 3 holes. Be careful, if the grommet is not new or not elastic, it can crumble.
- Now, working from the inner side of the burner cover, run your 3 lines through the hole in the burner cover. Fit the 3 lines on one half of the grommet (with the igniter wire in the middle) and fit the other half of the grommet on top of the lines.
- Squeeze the grommet with the lines through the hole in the cover and snap it in place. Again, don't crumble the grommet.

That's improvising (or being resourceful).
 

Master Plumber Mark

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seriously folks , you don't need to replace that fricking grommet....

we have had to cut out a number of them or slice them in half to install new
Thermo couplings and its not been a problem at all..... take a sharp box knife and just cut it in half so you can make room and install the new thermocoupling

if you absolutely must do something , you can use aluminum foil and simply seal up the
hole or gap with that..... It will work for decades and is heat proof too
 

Hector b

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Hello, where did you get red rubber grommet from?
Hello, where did you get red rubber grommet from?
Hello, where did you get red rubber grommet from?
 

fullysprinklered

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Go get in your car, drive down to El Sombrero and get yourself a Texas-style margarita and a Speedy Gonzales and try to relax. Can't you find something more important to worry about?
 
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