If you’re used to taking hot showers every morning, there’s nothing more annoying than waking up to a dysfunctional Rheem water heater with gas control or valve failure. As you look at the water heater flashing 7 times, you may wonder what causes this problem and how to fix it.
A Rheem gas control or valve failure with 7 flashes may be due to a dirty pilot tube, a defective thermocouple, or issues with the flex tube. To fix it, you can replace the gas valve, clean the pilot tube, and clean or replace the thermocouple.
In this article, I’ll discuss the common causes of Rheem gas control or valve failure with 7 flashes. Moreover, I’ll cover the fixes for these issues to get your Rheem water heater working again in no time. Let’s get started!
1. The Gas Control or Valve Is Faulty
Gas control valve failures don’t happen frequently, but they can cause your water heater to blink 7 times. The gas control valve controls the gas flow to the pilot light and burner. It also regulates water pressure.
If there is an issue with the valve, it may not open properly, leading to a shutdown of your heater or a flickering flame.
Keep an eye out for the following to know whether your gas control valve has failed:
- The control knob isn’t working properly.
- The pilot button doesn’t respond when pushed.
- The water is too hot or too cold.
How To Fix
The best way around this issue is to replace the main control valve altogether. Fixing a failed control valve with the help of a technician may not be worth the money, as it’s only a short-term solution. You’re likely to encounter the same problem again.
It’s advisable to replace a failed control valve to avoid recurring costs and damage to other parts.
2. The Pilot Tube Is Dirty
A dirty pilot tube is another common cause of a Rheem water heater red light flashing 7 times.
The gas reaches the pilot light through the pilot tube, where it’s ignited to heat the water.
With time, the pilot tube can get dirty, leading to a blockage. The pilot light won’t be able to generate sufficient heat for hot water if it can’t get enough gas.
Signs that your pilot tube is dirty include difficulties in lighting the pilot light and fluctuations in water temperature.
How To Fix
You must unclog the pilot tube to fix this issue. Here are the steps to help you through:
- Shut off the gas and electricity to the water heater.
- Remove the pilot light access panel.
- Unclog the opening using a piece of wire.
- Clean the tube using compressed air.
- Wait for the tube to dry completely.
- Connect the access panel.
- Connect the gas and electricity supply.
3. The Thermocouple Is Defective
To prevent gas buildup, the thermocouple senses whether or not the pilot flame is lit. If so, it shuts off the gas supply. Otherwise, when the thermocouple senses the flame, it keeps the gas valve open to supply gas to the pilot light.
A faulty, dirty, or broken thermocouple may lead to inconsistent water temperature and difficulties in maintaining the flame if it shuts off the gas supply when the flame is on.
How To Fix
There are three fixes to this problem: cleaning the thermocouple, straightening it if bent, or replacing it if broken.
The following procedure will help you clean the thermocouple:
- Cut off the gas supply and switch off the heater.
- Allow the thermocouple to cool down for approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Detach the thermocouple by unscrewing it from the gas control valve and pilot light assembly.
- Clean the thermocouple using a wire brush or steel wool. Make sure to clean away any dirt or debris on the tip.
- Reconnect the thermocouple and turn on the gas supply before testing if it’s working correctly.
A bent thermocouple increases the separation between it and the pilot light. When this happens, the thermocouple will not sense heat to keep the gas valve open. Therefore, you’ll have to straighten it manually. Here’s how:
- Cut off the gas supply and turn off the water heater.
- Allow the thermocouple to cool down.
- Straighten the thermocouple using a pair of pliers so it’s in the right position against the pilot light and flame.
If the Rheem water heater pilot light keeps flashing 7 times after cleaning and straightening the thermocouple, it may be due to a broken thermocouple. Unfortunately, you’ll have to replace the device if this is the case.
Testing for continuity with a multimeter is an excellent way to confirm if the thermocouple is broken. The multimeter should display a reading after connecting it to the thermocouple. If not, the thermocouple is broken and needs replacing.
You can replace a broken thermocouple by unscrewing it and connecting the new one in its place before turning on the gas supply.
4. The Flex Tube Is Damaged or Clogged
Gas coming from the controller travels through the flex tube. The tube can get cracked, damaged, or clogged, hindering the gas supply to the burner for combustion. Inconsistent gas supply to the burner leads to water temperature fluctuations and pilot light challenges.
How To Fix
To fix the issue, inspect the flex tube for cracks or blockages and clean it if necessary. You’ll have to replace the flex tube if it has cracks to prevent gas leaks.
A leaking flex tube reduces the amount of gas that reaches the burner. Consequently, the pilot light flame may not be able to stay on, leading to the valve failure 7 flashes. The best way around this is to cut off the gas supply and replace the flex tube.
You must ensure that the newly installed flex tube attaches tightly to the control valve before turning on the gas supply for testing.
The Rheem water heater flashing blue light 7 times is mainly due to a failed control valve. Since repairing a failed control valve only serves as a short-term solution, it’s best to replace it with a new one.
Other issues that may cause valve failure 7 flashes include a dirty or faulty thermocouple, a kinked flex tube, and gas supply problems. Cleaning or replacing these parts can help resolve the issue.
For safety, always cut off the gas supply before performing any maintenance on your water heater.