One of the most common causes of natural gas hot water tank failure (where the new hot water tank is not working) is often caused by something you would not expect. It has to do with potentially dangerous vapours in your home when doing common tasks like painting, crafts or repair projects inside your home.

The newer natural gas hot water tanks (or water heaters) have very sensitive vapor sensors – this vapor sensor is actually designed to protect your home.

Here is how it works:

The hot water tank vapor sensor detects VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds see list of items below that qualify as VOC) and turns the gas hot water tank off if any are present. Typically VOC’s are highly flammable so you do not want to have an open flame near these gasses, fumes or vapours. The gas water heater is doing exactly what it is designed to do – protect you, your family and your home while providing hot water when it is safe to do so.

Simply put this means that if you use a VOC (flammable gasses) in the vicinity of your hot water tank then the sensor will turn the flame off to prevent any kind of explosion or fire in the house. This is a good thing – you want this safety feature on your hot water tank!

The solution is easy – when this happens simply air out the room (give it time for the vapours to completely clear out such as open windows and doors to help move the bad air out and the fresh air in) then once all the vapours are gone push the reset button on your hot water tank and everything should start up again without problems.

Here is our recommendation: be sure to read the labels and if it says only use in well ventilated areas then don’t use them in the home (especially in the winter time when the house is closed up air tight). This will help prevent problems for your water heater but will also help prevent health problems & safety risks for your family.

So what are VOC’s?

Here are just a few of them:

  • gasoline
  • paint & paint thinners
  • glues
  • solvents
  • air fresheners (yes – these too can be flammable)
  • aerosol sprays
  • de-greasers
  • hair spray
  • hobby supplies
  • some automotive products
    and more…

If it says “do not use near open flame” on any container – then it qualifies as a VOC and should not be used near a gas hot water tank.

Have questions or want to share your experience – let us know. We love hearing from you and welcome your feedback.

After all serving YOU is all we do – since 1933!