With some gas water heater such as ( A.O. SMITH, AMERICAN, STATE, AND OTHERS )
that are sealed units, have a screen or plastic filter at the bottom of the water heater, if this is block by items set on the stand or gets plugged with dirt, hair, etc. It can cause your water heater to stop working or work improperly .
The reason for this is that it is not getting enough combustible air to the burner to work properly, this can cost you in gas consumption and also shorten the life of the water heater by not burning the gas properly.

Things to look for……

If your water heater quits working and you relite the pilot light, and it stays lit for a day or two and stops working again, it could be that the filter is plugged up and is not getting enough combustible air for the burning to run.

If your water heater has a blue and yellow gold color flame, the filter maybe plugged. Working properly the flame should be an even blue color.

If you have gone through all the starting instruction to start the pilot and it will not stay lit after holding down the buttom for a minute or so, this could be a bad thermocouple. Which should be replaced by a professional !

Also every now and then you could have a bad thermostat , which is the main control of the gas flow and tempearture control for your water heater. The brain of the water heater.

Things to do if you smell gas when trying to light the water heater ( DON’T LIGHT ) turn off the gas and call a profesional !!

1. A couple things you can do to prolong the life of you water heater. Once a year flush your water heater, place a hose on the drain cock or hose bibb at the bottom of the water heater and just turn it on and let it run for a minute or two, this should flush out any sediment build up.

2. Next check the filter if your water heater has one, you can use a vacuum to clean the filter and water heater stand.
Rheem and a few other water heaters have a different air intake system and need no cleaning , but don’t put brooms, mops, etc. around them as this can block proper air flow. Nothing should be placed around the water heater, the stand is for the water heater only !

3. Check the top of the water heater to see if there is any small leaks at the water connections, a small leak can run down the jacket inside the water heater and cause problems. Also check for corrosion on the inlets, if there is alot of corrosion, it maybe time to replace them.

Hope this helps Lincoln and other home owners, that may have questions about water heaters.