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Can a gas valve fail if submerged?

D-manD-man Member Posts: 17
Can a gas valve fail if submerged under water?  Boiler was installed in 2009.


  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,663
    under water

    I am not a pro, but it is my understanding that it does not matter if it fails or not. If any of the electrics or gas valve gets under water, it must be replaced before the accident happens.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    The entire boiler, furnace

    or any appliance that was under water must be replaced in its entirety. That surely includes the gas valve.
  • D-manD-man Member Posts: 17
    more info

    Thank you for your responses. More info: I am trying to determine the cause of a freeze up at a seasonal home.  At time of discovery in March the boiler was out and would not fire even though pilot light was on.  There was flooding and the valve may have been submerged.   If submerged, would the valve fail and the flow of gas cease. What is the life expectancey of gas valves, it was fairly new (installed in 2009).
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    Answer yes it will fail

    replace the entire boiler or furnace if it was under water. Any attempt to fool with the gas valve will perhaps blow up in your face!
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Why do you think the gas valve went under water? If it did, it must be replaced. But you said that you have a standing pilot and it didn't go out. The gas valves are usually higher than the pilot so if the gas valve went under water, the pilot should have gone out. And you wouldn't be able to light it either.

    What kind of gas in a vacation area do you have that allows a standing pilot in 2009?

    You said that something froze in your vacation home. What froze? Are you looking to blame the freeze up on something to do with the boiler?

    Give us more information than you have given. 
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Vacation submergence:

    Tell me more about the freeze up.
  • mikel0211mikel0211 Member Posts: 13

    tim why do say replace everything
  • mikel0211mikel0211 Member Posts: 13

    tim why do say replace everything
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    Failure to replace

    submerged equipment falls directly on the service technician if they attempt to repair they assume full liability for any condition that occurs after that fact.

    GAMA now AHRI states that any equipment flooded must be replaced in a notification dated July 14, 2004. It is also supported by a FEMA directive concerning replacement of equipment from floods.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    Here is the letter

    GAMA-An Association of Appliance & Equipment Manufacturers

    2107 Wilson Boulevard' Suite 600 • Arlington, VA 22201 • Phone: (703) 525-7060' Fax: (703) 525-6790' [u][/u]



    Contact: Mike Blevins

    Phone: (703) 525~7060 x235 Email:



    Arlington, Virginia, July 14, 2004-With heavy rains bringing the possibility of severe flooding, it is important to remember that all flood-damaged plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical appliances and related systems should be replaced, rather than repaired. This warning was issued today by GAMA, the national trade association representing manufacturers of appliances, components and related products used in space heating and water heating, commercial food service and power generation. The association also recommended that all work on flooded equipment be performed by a qualified, licensed contractor, not by homeowners.

    The GAMA warning stems from past reports of accidents resulting from improper do-it­yourself repairs of flood-damaged appliances. One homeowner, for example, suffered severe burns in a flash fire that occurred when he tried to re-light the pilot on his flooded gas water heater. The association stresses that not only gas equipment is at risk but also units using oil or electricity as the energy source.

    "Controls damaged by floodwaters are extremely dangerous," notes GAMA President Evan R. Gaddis. "Attempts to use equipment with defective gas or oil control devices can result in fires, flashbacks or explosions. And in the case of electrical appliances, the result can be injury or even death from a powerful electric shock." The GAMA official noted that devices at risk include water heaters, furnaces, boilers, room heaters and air conditioners.

    The association stresses that the repair of flooded appliances and related systems (including damaged venting and electrical connections) is not a job for the do-it­yourselfer, no matter how skilled. This is particularly true of control valves, according to the GAMA official. These components are manufactured to extremely close tolerances. Once submerged in floodwaters, they must be replaced. Field repairs should never be attempted by the homeowner.

    Even when controls appear to be operative, the unit should not be used after floodwaters recede. "It may work for a while," Mr. Gaddis explains, "but it will deteriorate over time."

    "It might take a week, a month or even a year, but once any control has been under water it presents a serious hazard ... fire or explosion in the case of gas controls, fire or shock in the case of electric equipment."

    Because so many things can go wrong as a result of floodwaters, it's usually cheaper, and always safer, to replace rather than repair, Mr. Gaddis said. "You can have a control valve replaced but there may be damage to other parts of the unit, like venting, piping, burners and insulation. There are just so many things that can go wrong, the wise choice is always to start over with new equipment," the GAMA president declared.

    In some instances, government aid may be available to help consumers finance the replacement of flood-damaged heating equipment. For information, homeowners should contact any of the offices of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), set up to help flood victims.

  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,123
    On a practical point beyond the code

    I when I was younger and dumber got involved with a flooded furnace. By the time I got done chasing after damaged parts and controls and rusted burner tubes it was not cost effective to bring the equipment to a safe working condition. Live and learn. You are doing no one a favor by repairing flood damaged equipment.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,663
    Do insurance companies agree with this?

    If my boiler gets flooded a little, and I have it replaced even though it seems to work, will a typical homowner's policy pay for it, or will they try to make me have it fixed? Not what they shouold do, but what they actually do?

    If they try to have me have it fixed, and it then blows up, it seems to me it would be their fault. But, as Mr. Bumble said, The Law's an ****.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Flooded equipment:

    If you have a flood and the equipment is damaged, unless it was a broken pipe that caused the "flood", your homeowners policy won't cover it. You need separate flood insurance.
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    Ice is correct

    I found in recent floods we had here in RI that homeowners need to be very clear when purchasing insurance as to what it covers. Contact your insurance agent and present them with all the possibilities and they will help you through what you need.

    My experience with insurance companies on this matter has been that they want you to replace not repair and will typically not pay for repairs but will pay for replacement.
  • D-manD-man Member Posts: 17

    I am trying to figure out if the valve just failed and caused the freeze-up/leakage upstairs or if the burner shut down after the freeze-up due to the valve being submerged. 

    Per the icesailor, if the pilot light was found on, then it may rule out the valve being submerged.  Then we are looking at the valve just failing.  Do such valves just fail?  It was fairly new.  Is there a nondestructive way to find out if it just failed?
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    We do not actually know

    if this gas valve was under water, is that correct? Look around and see if you can determine a water line close to the equipment this will tell you how deep the water was.

    The manifold has orifices which allow water to get in and those are below the pilot so the pilot could stay lit and there could still be water in the manifold. Very rare but I have seen it happen water can get up into the gas valve from the water accumulated in the manifold.

    Now next question is this system now operating or is it not coming on?

    Give us some more information on controls used on this equipment.
  • D-manD-man Member Posts: 17

    Thank you for your replies.

    Repair tech suspected gas valve was submerged, but we do not actually know.

    Spoke with boiler mfg New Yorker tech support who confirmed pilot on same level as the valve. 

    Possible water line about 2 inches below the valve,   See attached photos (valve was replaced before we got there) 
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    From the looks of the gas line

    I think the water was higher than you think.

    Also the full base of the boiler needs to have a pad  not just the blocks and it also looks like one side of the boiler is not even on the blocks. It could be just the way the photo was taken.

    Did the installer of the new gas valve do a combustion test on this boiler? This is important as to ensuring there are no combustion issues due to flooding such as Carbon Monoxide levels too high!
  • D-manD-man Member Posts: 17
    is there a way to test the old valve?

    Thank you, attached is another photo.  I am going to pick up the old valve from the boiler tech. Is there a way to test it?
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    If you want you can send it to

    me and I will test it for you. I will not however get into any legal situations. I will simply tell you if it is good or bad and if possible what was wrong with it. With your written permission I will take the valve apart and see if I can determine if there is any evidence of flooding.

    You can contact e by e-mail at [email protected]
  • D-manD-man Member Posts: 17

    Will that be destructive?
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,362
    Will what be destructive?

    Just putting the gas valve through a does it work doesn't it is not destructive.

    Taking the valve apart is obviously destructive.

    I am not sure what your concern is other than maybe you are looking for some kind of warranty on the valve. In that case then send it to the manufacturer of the equipment and let them do a formal test by a professional liability company. I would have your lawyer draft something for you on that by the way.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    High Tide:

    The valve may have gone under water but the only sign I see in the photos is the line about 1" around the bottom of the boiler jacket. There is fine debris on top of the blocks from when the tide went out. Open water in a cellar can not be higher locally in one spot than it is in another. I don't know why the gas pipe near the boiler is so corroded but farther down, the pipe looks more normal. I would consider it a possibility that bad draft was allowing corrosive flue gasses to come on contact with the pipe locally, like in front of the boiler.

    If you look carefully at the high tide mark on the bottom of the boiler, transfer a level line to the wall and you will see a wrack line on the walls and on any vertical structural post. It will be a level line around the space. The old time cranberry growers would flood their bogs, let them freeze, and put an even layer of sand on the bogs. It made the bogs level when the ice melted.

    I have never seen any appliance that went underwater that didn't show a high tide mark on every part of the appliance and would correspond to a line on the wall. And I've seen a lot of flooding. I still see High Tide Marks on houses that flooded in the No-Name Storm of October, 1991 
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    High Tide 2

    There's also a high tide mark on the plastic info packet on the water heater in the first picture.

    It also looks like something leaked down on the gas pipes going into the gas valve. I'd need to see more or look at in person to see where that came from.

    I would also suppose that if there was some sort of power outage, and there was a freeze-up, the gas burner wouldn't light but a standing pilot wouldn't go out and would stay lit during the Noah Mini Flood.
  • D-manD-man Member Posts: 17
    more pics

    Thank you all for your input.  Do you see anything else?
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