Four Signs Your Gas Storage Water Heater Has Defective Burners

8 February 2023
 Categories: , Blog


The main burners in a gas water heater burn natural gas and generate heat that is transferred to the water through the heat exchanger. If the burners are defective, you will experience problems with your hot water supply. Therefore, watch out for the signs below indicating your water heater's burners are malfunctioning.

No Hot Water

Is your water heater not producing any hot water? If so, check whether the burners and pilot are working. When the temperature of the water in the tank drops below the desired level, the thermostat signals the burners to ignite and heat the water. The pilot light provides a constant source of ignition, which triggers the burners. If the pilot light goes out, the burners won't work. Therefore, check whether your pilot light is working. If it's on, the burners may be faulty due to a blockage or age-related wear and tear. 

Longer Heating Times

If your water heater is taking longer than usual to heat water, it may have defective burners. When the burners are working correctly, they produce a hot blue flame that provides adequate heat to heat the water. If the burners are clogged with debris or are old, they won't burn natural gas properly. They will produce a yellow flame, signifying incomplete combustion. A yellow flame isn't as hot as a blue one; thus, there will be less heat for water heating. Consequently, the water heater will take longer to recover once it runs out of hot water.

Rumbling or Hissing Noises 

Faulty burners may fail to ignite properly when the gas valve is open. As a result, you may hear a hissing or popping sound as gas escapes through the burners. If the burners are clogged and dirty, they will produce a rumbling or whistling noise as gas struggles to pass through the clogged holes. If you hear unusual sounds coming from your water heater, check the color of the flame. Most times, the flame will appear yellow because of incomplete combustion.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Going Off 

Defective burners can cause carbon monoxide leaks, especially if the water heater doesn't have a sealed combustion system. If you have carbon monoxide detectors in the room, they will go off once they detect the gas in the air. If your alarm goes off, shut off the gas supply and call your plumber. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide is an odorless gas; thus, if you don't have a detector, you won't notice the leak immediately. Therefore, look out for a yellow flame that signifies incomplete combustion and potential exposure to carbon monoxide.

 Defective burners can cause a hot water emergency in your home. They can also leak carbon monoxide and expose your household to health complications. Therefore, contact a plumber immediately for burner repair or replacement. For more information on water heater repair, contact a professional near you.