After changing gas water heater drain valve, heater started to smoke.

by Steve
(St. Louis, Mo., USA)

I had a leaky drain valve on my gas water heater, and had to replace it. It was quite the ordeal, and at one point, after the tank was emptied and drain removed, someone turned on the cold water in the shower upstairs with the hot water still open for venting while the tank drained. This sent water flooding out of the open drain of the heater and flooded the basement area, as well as expelling a bunch of sediment.

Well, I eventually got the new drain in the heater, refilled the tank and made sure the water flowed through the hot water line, and re-lit the pilot and turned it up to heat the tank of water. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, I noticed the heater started smoking from the pilot light/flame area, so I immediately turned it off. When I removed the metal plate from the pilot area, there was charring like it had been on fire, but I didn't see flames shooting out or anything. I have no idea why this happened, and am desperate for some help/suggestions from anyone with experience.

I'm going to try to clean out the sediment that is in the bottom of the burner portion of the tank, but I don't really know what it could be. Maybe something got clogged when it flooded? Please help!

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