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I have a 20 year old Ruud gas water heater with a power vent. The model is PVP 40-1. Sometimes it will not heat water. The power vent is running but the burner is not. If I turn off the power switch and gas switch then turn them back on, it will always start the burner. Do you know what causes this and what part replacement will fix it?

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  • rick
    rick Dec 07, 2014

    Clarification; when it is not working, only the power vent is running, the ignitor is not glowing. Only after switching off/on does the ignitor glow the the burner start.

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Hi Rick,

First of all, no one has a 20 year old water heater! What have you been feeding it? Distilled water ???.

While a smart a$& might suggest a new water heater (hey, at that age, it's gotta be on it's last legs and if you don't have an insulating blanket, standby costs are probably very high), but I'm not an S.A.

Power ventilators generally have a pressure sensor somewhere on the air side that tells the system the vent fan is operating, before turning on the ignitor (do you have a standing pilot?) or the main gas valve. The air sensor may look like a bellows with a tube attached.

I'm puzzled that power reset puts things right... What gas switch are you referring to? Do you mean main gas valve?

If the issue is not the vent sensor I mentioned, may be time for the big kids or a new unit. Oooops, I'm not an SA. ??

all the best

Posted on Dec 11, 2014

Testimonial: "The water heater uses an ignitor and the gas switch I referred to is on the gas valve. Someone had suggested that there is a faulty ground due to corrosion. I have removed the vacuum switch and ignitor control and cleaned all the electrical contacts, and replaced the short vacuum switch tubing. It's been working fine for 4 days now, but it was only failing intermittently before so time will tell. Spoke to a local plumber and he was also surprised at the age of the WH, and told me not to expect that with a new one. BTW, I also rescued my 20 year old water softener by replacing a leaking piston valve assembly for $75, vs $800+ for a new water softener."

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SOURCE: Eractic Power Vent Gas Water Heater

Th epproblem you are most likely have is from a safety called a flag switch usually located either in the blower or right past it. When you unplug and replug you reset the switch. Sequence of events.  1 fan comes on. 2 switch is made from the airflow of the fan.  3 ignitor come on 4. main gas valve opens and ignitor starts flame. 
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SOURCE: Rheem 40 gal power vent gas water heater shows code 42

you plugged it in and the fan started or you unplugged it and the fan started,,the fan will come on first before the unit will inginte to take out the excess gas, if it didn't lite then the ignitor might not be working there are 2 swithces on the unit one on the fan and one by the gas valve make sure they are both on and make sure the gas it also turned on.

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Testimonial: "This is an accurate description of my own follow up. That device, a TRD, was the indeed the problem. "

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I have a 20 year old Ruud gas water heater with a power vent. The model is PVP 40-1. Sometimes it will not heat water. The power vent is running but neither the ignitor or the burner is. If I turn off the...


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