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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Bradford White water heater (Owner Smells Gas)

    Hi Guys

    I have a bradford white water heater that the home owner is complaining he smells gas. The unit is on propane 40 US gallon. Power vent.

    Model # RG1PV40S6X

    Serial # PJ40224180

    I soaped all the joints in the house with big blue leak detector. (TWICE) no bubbles.
    I also inspected the furnace installed by another company and found the union inside the cabinet to have a small leak. Fixed that.

    Get called back because they still smell gas. Soaped all the joints again and brought our companies combustible gas leak detector. Nothing.

    I thought i could smell a hint for propane around the valve. but the valve on these is incased in plastic. its a honeywell model WV4462A5066 anyways took it apart as best i can and put the electronic leak detector in there and it did not go off.

    Because there is a vent on the valve so i wondered if i was smelling the gas from the vent. possibly ?

    Then i took the bottom of the water heater apart to see if the gas valve was leaking by but as far as i can tell it is not i put the leak detector inside right against the burner and nothing. Then i thought maybe the incoming gas pressure was too high so i checked it at the furnace and it is 11.5 in w.c Out put is 10 in w.c I triple checked all the common spots for leaks Gastite CSST fittings, Unions , right at the valves, sand holes in all the fittings. I am literally at a loss the only place i can smell it is right at the valve but i am puzzled as to why the leak detector wont read it. Even if i turn the sensitivity way down and I checked it before i went in the house and it works.

    Apart from me going back and tearing the outside piping apart and pressure testing the whole house i am at a loss. But i only smell it at the water heater. and it is very faint. he says if it doesnt start all day you can smell it more but i honestly thought it was worse when i got there and it was running. After it shut off i couldnt smell it nearly as bad. Have any of you came across anything like this ?

    Any help or ideas at this point would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Sea to Sky
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    I have run into customers that are super sensitive to mercaptan and such and smell gas before others. If you have a vent limiter as you seem to indicate, can you easily pipe it outdoors?



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  3. Likes Restaurant mech liked this post.
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    New England
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    How old is it? 2017? Well water or city? Who did the propane conversion kit?
    Last edited by Bazooka Joey; 03-23-2020 at 10:43 PM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
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    Is it possible product of combustion are returning to inside? Blocked flue or intake too close to exhaust kind of issue? Maybe failed ignition?




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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Thread Starter
    Hey guys to answer all your questions.

    The water heater was installed in may 2018. It does not have a fresh air intake it gets combustion air from the house and it has a draft inducer motor on the top of the heater similar to a high eff furnace it vents out a 2 inch 636 pvc pipe. Just like a high eff furnace would. Vent is probably 4 ft long. Up a foot off the heater 90 degree turn and then 3 feet out through the wall. Vent is fine. It is well water. And it is not converted for propane they come from the factory natural gas or propane you cannot convert them. (and yes it is propane) Also the water heater does not have a vent limiting regulator if that is what your meaning. I mean on the actual gas valve there is a vent like on most. I am wondering if he is smelling the mercaptan out of the vent. I can only smell it near the control. But i cant even get the gas detector to go off. Which makes me wonder if it is not actually leaking gas but he is smelling the mercaptan from the vent on the valve.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
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    From their web-site

    Tech Support
    Bradford White Technical Support discusses troubleshooting with plumbing professionals only.

    Do not know how detailed oriented their Tech. Support is.

    Serial number says it was built in September 2017.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Okay.... but you say the unit is propane. So where are the pressure reducing regulators located?

    Usually you would have either a dual stage or two single stage to get the pressure down from 10psi to 2psi and then from 2psi to 11 inches of WC.

    They will have vents on them

    Also did you test that combustible gas detector on known source of gas such as a stove to make sure it works?

    If you used big blue....did you water it down? That stuff is pretty thick and might be hiding small leaks. Either add some water to some in a spray bottle or go get one of the small leak detection fluid bottle with the dauber it.

    Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    I had a similar issue a few years ago. I installed a Bradford White power vent natural gas unit. Customer complained of gas odor but I couldn't smell it. I soaped it, sniffed it, ripped it apart and re-did the black iron. No help. She still smelled it occasionally. Called Bradford White and they said it was normal. Small release from the Honeywell gas valve. Google it and check out all the complaints from others. Some claim a new gas valve fixed the problem but my guess is probably not entirely. Just depends on the customers sensitivity to smells, location of the heater, etc. You may never "fix" the issue.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bsburt View Post
    Called Bradford White and they said it was normal. Small release from the Honeywell gas valve.
    Here is publication on this subject - see attachment.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Instead of learning the tricks of the trade, learn the trade.

  11. Likes VTP99 liked this post.
  12. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Thread Starter
    To answer your question about the propane regulator. They have two stand up 420 tanks regulator is mounted on the tank. That is fairly standard practice here. Mostly on a bigger torpedo tank there is a two stage system where its pounds to the house and there is another regulator at the house which drops in down to 11- 14 inches. But when the propane company use stand up tanks against the house here they typically just use one reg. It is nowhere near a building opening and is on the opposite side of the house. And yes i used a known source of gas to check the leak detector. I already stated that in my first post. My leak detector i also put in a bottle with a dauber or sometimes a glue pot with a brush.

    I think i am going to have to agree with Bsburt on this one and that it is in fact the issue i just wanted clarification on if anyone had ran into this before and how they dealt with it or if i was missing something. Its also nice that he found and article on it because i was looking for something to this effect to confirm that i was not crazy.

  13. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    634
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    I have a few lp models installed and i have one that seems to bleed a faint amount of gas near the valve the customer cant smell it but it i noticed it while cleaning the spark arrester on the bottom of the tank

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,854
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    I have repaired an untold number of leaks at the pilot burner. Most times it required to loosen tubing and use a small amount of valve grease on the threads to correct

  15. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wi
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    A very long time ago I had such a problem. check the seldom used sinks and floor drains sewer gas can smell similar.

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