Latest Discussions : Plumbing


09:31AM | 02/08/11
Member Since: 02/12/06
34 lifetime posts
Believe it or not I am now smelling natural gas coming from behind the controls of our new hot water heater. We have had the gas company out and our plumber twice to check it with a gas sniffer and the sniffer is not picking up any leaks. My neighbor came over to see if she could smell it and she described the odor as a sulphur type odor which is what natural gas smells like. She then checked for odors around her hot water heater and she has none and she has the same type of controls that we have. I don't know what to do at this point. I am not comfortable with this situation. Is it possible to have a leak without the sniffers picking it up? Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.


10:15AM | 02/08/11
Member Since: 07/22/04
649 lifetime posts
Check for good draft at the hood. If you can, post a picture of the setup.


10:15PM | 02/08/11
Member Since: 02/12/06
34 lifetime posts
I checked the draft at the hood and I don't know how it should be but I could feel warm air rising from the water heater. I think the odor is coming from the control. The only place we can smell the gas odor is from behind the control. My husband and I both describe it as a constant smell but then we get an occasional warm puff of air when we have our nose by the control with more of the gas smell. I am sorry I took a picture of the water heater but I don't know how to post it. It is a Bradford White hot water heater with a Honeywell control. The inspector came by today and approved it. We told him about the smell but he said he couldn't smell anything. In any case, everything else was up to code. Is it possible that the control itself might have a specific odor? It is plastic. Or my brother suggested it could be residual oil from the manufacturer? The odor is coming from the control so I don't know if residual oil would be the answer. But I, my husband and my neighbor all describe it as a gas smell. Thanks again.


06:30AM | 02/09/11
Member Since: 07/22/04
649 lifetime posts
Another thing it could be is pipe thread joint compound.
My honest opinion is I think it's ok. The plumber checked it,gas co,inspector, ect. I don't think you are in any danger. I would wait. P.S. Sometimes the unit will have a toll free number on it that you can call, Maybe call and just tell them and see what they say?


07:59AM | 02/09/11
Member Since: 02/12/06
34 lifetime posts
We were smelling the joint compound and it has a slightly different odor than the odor we were smelling. We have decided to purchase our own gas sniffer and see if we can find the leak if there is one. We decided we could use the sniffer for other things too so it will be a good investment. What do you think about the Bacharach Jr.? It detects methane at 50 ppm whereas I read that the TIF 880A detects methane at 500 ppm. The TIF 880A was the one recommended to us but I don't like the high ppm reading. Thanks again for your help.


08:05AM | 02/09/11
Member Since: 02/12/06
34 lifetime posts
sorry, meant to say TIF8800A.


01:02PM | 02/09/11
Member Since: 07/22/04
649 lifetime posts
I'm sure they're good. All my stuff is UEI. I would like to hear if you find anything.

The TIF is 50 and the Bacharach is 50 also 20 in high sensitivity mode. Like I said I'm partial to UEI equipment. The choice is yours they're all good.


03:00PM | 02/09/11
Member Since: 02/12/06
34 lifetime posts
Thank you again Larry for all of your help with this. We have to order the gas sniffer on-line so it will be a few days before we will be able to test. I will definitely check back in and let you know what we find.


02:45PM | 02/11/11
Member Since: 02/12/06
34 lifetime posts
Hello again. I just contacted the manufacturer of our hot water heater and they informed me that it is normal to smell some gas from the control area of the hot water heater. They told me that the gas vents out of the upper right hand corner of the control and this is where we have been smelling the gas. They then sent me this link to a video explaining more about this so they must get calls about this quite frequently. So although I still don't like this situation I guess I will just need to let it go at this point. Thanks once again Larry for your assistance.


07:04PM | 02/15/11
Member Since: 02/12/06
34 lifetime posts
We received our gas sniffer today. We decided to go with the UEI that Larry suggested. It immediately detected the leak behind the control so we had the gas company out and this time they were able to detect a gas leak. Our plumber is coming out tomorrow to replace the control. It is pretty sad that the professionals were unable to find the leak and we had to find it ourselves and have been living with a gas leak for a week and a half.


11:07AM | 03/12/11
Member Since: 07/22/04
649 lifetime posts
" It is pretty sad that the professionals were unable to find the leak"

Almost scary!
Hope you got everything straightened out.


03:19AM | 02/20/12
Member Since: 02/17/12
8 lifetime posts
I am having some problems with the radiators in my house and I wonder if it is the same thing. But that is just me, I am totally lost about these technological and around the house things so I probably will get a contractor to take a look.
Steve -


11:26PM | 02/15/13
Kathy. I have the exact same issue with a Bradford White gass water heater. The leak is coming from the exact same place! Can you tell me which model of UEI sniffer you bought? Was replacing the control pricey? I too have had professionals out to diagnos the problem could be found! Really???? No problem?... Follow your nose guys.... Hope to hear from you soon. Guess I have to take the same route you did.


12:12AM | 01/18/14
Do not rely on the snirffers. They sometimes do not show leaking gas where their is a leak and sometimes show a leak where there is none. Dish soap and water. Make it real soapy(lots of soap bubbles) and dob it on area where leak is suspected. Watch for bubbling. It could take 30 seconds or longer if the leak is real small. It will grow into a larger mound of bubbles indicating a leak.


08:59PM | 11/11/15
We to had one installed and felt tired and dizzy for about 4 weeks. I smelled a tint of gas behind control box and had DTE out twice and they said there was nothing and said the smell was nothing that their detector found nothing. It's been 3 months now with same symptoms. But when I shut it off symptoms were not anywhere near as bad and they come out again and looked at me like I was crazy. Again no detection. Now I've found this.....I'm pissed. My family has now been breathing this for 3 months?!


12:24PM | 01/14/16
In most case, this is a mentally issue and not a hazard issue. I bet someone in here have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), including me. So, stop sniffing the control box.
In 2014, I smelled some odor behind the Honeywell control box. I called the Gas Company and the guy came out to check. He found a small leak at the manifold using soap. He tight the screw fixed it. Then, he turned off the valve and went to the gas meter checking for leak. He checked the gas meter for 15 minutes and indicated there was no leak. He laughed when I said I put my nose on the box.
After the gas company guy left, I still smelled a faint odor behind the box if I put my nose on it. But I smell nothing if I breath normally at 1 foot away. I did some research and found out that there is a small pin hole on the vent. The pin hole is there for the diaphragm to breath, just like a gas regulator. Honeywell indicates that small amount of odor can be smell at the diaphragm and any leak less than 5cc/hr is not hazard (Honeywell calls it trace leak phenomenon). In fact, the NASI have tolerance on valve leak as well.
The control box is not design to be perfect. So live with it.


10:45PM | 07/03/19
I have the same issue with our new A O Smith gas water heater tank which we purchased from Lowe's on 13May 2019
small amount of gas odor comes from top of the gas control valve plastic cover you need to put your nose close enough to smell the gas odor.
control valve manufacture by Honeywell
A O Smith Technical team have sent me a replacement valve with warranty labor plumber installed 3 days late. however still smell such small gas leak. gas company again detect very small amount of gas leak. A O Smith sent over night a second Honeywell control valve, I paid a licenced Plumber to install but still has the same gas leak
do some research discoved more than few consumers with different gas water heater tank equipped with Honeywell control valve has the same gas leak. One consumer posted a article said Bradford White Tech team said it's normal for the leak as inside the control box there's a relief valve in the control box that continuously releases a small amount of gas into the air to compensate for the difference in the natural gas pressure coming from the supply line versus what the appliance actually uses. therefore I open the 2nd control valve.
sure enough there is a small pin hole indicated with green color dot at the top right side.
Honeywell perhaps must have good technical reason for such design. but intentionally release Natural Gas into atmosphere no matter the amount. should that be created a dangerous situation for consumers.?
hope some one from Honeywell could help share some light in this subject matter.


11:00PM | 07/03/19
I had the same leak with our new A O Smith gas water heater. equipped with Honeywell gas control valve.
A O Smith send total 2 replacement Honeywell gas control valve included the orginal Honeywell control valve, total 3 valve been installed.
finally I saw a post by one of the consumer with a Bradford White Natural gas water heater equipped with Honeywell gas control valve.
Bradford White Tech team told him it's normal to smell natural gas if you put your nose up to the control valve. said there's a relief valve in the control box that continuously releases a small amount of gas into the air to compensate for the difference in the natural gas pressure coming from the supply line versus what the appliance actually uses. therefore I pop open the 2nd control valv after removed from the tank. sure enough there is a pin hole type relief valve at the top right upper corner Mark with green color dot as a indicator.?
prehap there must be a good Technical reason for such design by Honeywell.
however intentionally release natural gas into atmosphere is always a serious dangerous situation.
prehap anyone from Honeywell would share some light in this subject matter.


11:08PM | 07/03/19
I open the Honeywell gas control valve plastic cover and sure enough there is a small pin hole relief valve type mark with green color dot (as a indicator?)


12:03AM | 07/04/19
Just like to share my current experience with our brand new water heater purchased on 13May manufactured by A O Smith
after few days or so, I accidentally notice a small amount of gas odor from the Gas Control Valve at the top of the plastic cover.
You need to put your nose so close up at the top of the plastic cover in order to smell the gas.
A O Smith Technical support team is extremely helpful, send a replacement control valve over night. (subject Gas control valve manufacture
by Honeywell.) with warranty labor.
after installation, small amount of gas odor remained detected by gas company technician.
again requested a 3rd replacement from A O Smith.
yesterday after replacing the 2nd gas control valve, I did some research on this matter and discovered Honeywell purposely designed to have a pin hole Inside the valve.
reason is to release some of the gas!!!???
although I never could find any official announcement by Honeywell. Therefore I took the 2nd control valve apart, should enough there is a tiny pin hole right on top at the right hand corner indicated by a green color dot.
Perhaps there must be a good technical reason for Honeywell to make such design.
However why would any manufacturer intentionally to release natural gas into atmosphere especially within consumer households even if is extremely small quantity.? (this 3rd replacement still has very little gas odor when I put my nose right on top the plastic cover.)

Beside the Gas Control Valve issue
at the same night after new gas water heater installed discovered the burner is defected
which continuously making horrible scary noise burner even shut off with a big bang at one period of time at night.
A O Smith Technical support team again very supportive replacement burner and warranty service technician make the replacement 2 days later.
all and all it's a Adventure with A O Smith Gas water heater.


11:37AM | 12/07/19
Just had a plumber out to check my Rheem gas water heater as I kept smelling gas from behind the thermostat control box. He testes the joints and did smell the gas. He called Rheem but they said that it was normal so the only way they would send a new control was if I had the local gas company come and test the house for gas levels. If it was abnormal then they would do something. Both the plumber and I were baffled by the answer. The gas smell is faint and localized to the water heater but if we are away from the house for a couple of days we return to a much stronger smell of gas suggesting that the build up occurs over time to a greater degree. With the air or furnace on there is less smell because the air is being circulated but when they are off and the air is still the gas small can be much stronger. In shot - no one wants to take responsibility for the gas emission being reported by so many people.


11:47PM | 09/15/20
Wow...thought I was going to need therapy until I found this site and these great posts. I have been reno-ing our utility room and noticed a gassy smell coming off the top of the Honeywell control valve. Very very slight but enough to create a musty smell in the space. Plumber claimed there was no problem; I asked him to use his sniffer. He eventually found the leak (at the top of the control unit), but then he tightened the gas in/out lines and claimed it was all better: it wasn't. Long story short: after reading this thread (and others) I installed a vent that simply draws the gas up the side of the tank and into the flue. Odor problem solved. Not the fix that I would prefer, but it works and very well at that. I simply don't want the aggravation of purchasing another unit and having it do the same thing (as I have read here). I used a small shop vac hose (1-1/4") and small floor gulper attachment to act as the 'hood' placed above the control unit. At the top of the water heater I used metal elbows and 1 inch threaded metal pipe to redirect vent and extend across the top of the tank just into the flue. It is quite hot in the flue so, here, the vent has to be metal. The odor problem is gone, and I have moved on to my original project. Thanks for sharing your experiences all.

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