Do I have to clean the flame arrestor on State gas water heater and what happens if it is damaged? Can I replace it or do I have to call a plumber to service the unit?
The flame arrestor is factory built into the bottom of the gas water heater, and is part of the Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant system or FVIR, together with the LDO screen and combustion chamber TCO (thermal cut off).
FVIR is the system that is installed in all new models and it protects the users and surrounding from accidental ignition of flammable vapors (coming from gasoline, paint, and solvents) outside the gas combustion chamber.
The flame arrestor is made of the fireproof material and is used to block the flame from escaping the gas combustion chamber. When looking from the outside the heater, it is accessible through the air intake opening and LDO screen, which keeps the lint, dirt, and oil away.
In order to prevent any accidence due to clogging the elements, preventive maintenance should be performed regularly and that includes inspection and cleaning.
Use the non-metallic brush and vacuum cleaner for cleaning the bottom part of the flame arrestor and LDO screen (you might need a mirror and flashlight). In order to check the top part, you have to remove the inner door and burner assembly. If there are damages on the flame arrestor or there was a flammable vapor ignition, the water heater must be replaced.
Poor gas combustion and that results in yellow flame and sooting. Carbon monoxide can also happen.
Lack of oxygen can lead to improper gas combustion and pilot outage.
High temperature inside the combustion chamber results in TCO or thermal cut off switch to trip.