Unitrol Gas Valve Leaks-Water Heater

I’ve run across several of these valves that my Bacharach LEAKATOR 10 on the top of the control valve. This valve is the only one that I get a reading on. They usually are on Richmond water heaters (but not always) and the dates have ranged from 2002 on up over many years.

I know the R110 Gas Control Valves being recalled are installed on natural and liquid propane (LP) gas water heaters. The recalled valves were manufactured between July 25, 2005 and August 14, 2005 with production date codes 5-31 through and including 5-33, although not all valves with these date codes are affected.

I have had clients call and get replacement valves overnighted to them based on the inspection results that are NOT part of the recall. I’m just curious if anyone else has any additional info on this. See the pic.

Greg, we need a pic. Or am I not seeing it? thanks.

I just had another one this morning on a 2007 Bradford White (That pic is attached). It wasn’t as prevelant as the Richmond was yesterday.

Was there enough leak that you could you smell the gas as well, or was it just detectable with your meter?

I got a whiff on yesterday’s heater. Today, the meter picked it up and I didn’t smell anything from about a foot away. Should I be putting my nose on the valve??

No, just curious. I don’t carry a gas meter with me. So I was just wondering if there was a reason you were testing these.

Here’s another one. I’ve found a high percentage (40% to 50%) of these control valves that leak natural gas indicated by the arrow. It’s a model R110RTSP valve. I have not been able to find any contact information anywhere to inquire about this problem.

I know there was a recall on the R110 Series control valve Originally released 9/16/05 and I just noticed the recall notice was updated again 12/06/07.

Sometimes I can smell the leak, usually I pick it up with a Bacharach Leakator 10. This is the only control valve that I’ve found with this persistent of a problem.

Any help would be appreciated


I have had many of these that I have found leaking too. The older brass shut off valves and the unitrol gas valves on water heaters I check right away! Sounds to me like there should be a recall on them.
I’m using a Tiff 8800.

The last one I did was a GE tank and the valve was leaking , the buyers were there with me as well as the realtor and heard the tiff “go off” the sellers called WIsconsin Energy and WE gave them a document that states “there are no natural gas leaks on the premises”. I am going to try to get a copy of the statement. I may need to upgrade to a detector with a visual so that I can document it by photo.

Those of you not carrying a gas detector really should be. I have long since lost track of the amount of gas leaks I have found. One of our jobs is safety and checking for gas leaks really should be a normal function.

Hi Scott,
Thanks for your reply. I think there are many inspectors that don’t have the equipment or maybe insensitive to natural gas

There was a recall on these valves: http://www.4squarehi.com/safety.html
and I’ve found so many of these outside the “recall guidelines” I think there is a problem. I can say that because I’ve had clients call and there were replacement valves there the next day. Richmond, GE, and Bradford White…

I’m very disappointed that there has been so little feedback from our fellow members and so little information from the manufacturer’s on this subject. How much of a leak is an acceptable one??? Or should I ask who’s willing to light the match to check it out? (BTW, I had a plumber do that!).

I’ve read more about chimney tiles, flashings, and loose toilets that can be even more of an obscure defect and this topic has not been discussed. However, as Scott mentioned, this can be easily detected with a minimal investment. No Questions Asked and the CLIENTS are greatful. Not being technically exhaustive since no ppm are descibed on my report. It either leaks or it doesn’t.

Bubble tight is usually good enough to be acceptable for residential gas piping. A hand held leak detector will find leaks about two magnitude smaller, than is considered acceptable.
Personally a LP leak would bother me more as LP is heavier than air.

Most of the electronic leak detectors don’t begin picking up methane until 500 ppm…thats enough for me. I certainly don’t want it in my house, why should the client?

I agree with the concern for LP but most of the leaks I have found are natural gas but remember they are in the same room with the furnace and the water heater…hmm gas leak…open flame…boom?:wink:


500 PPM detection level for Methane is well below the LEL(lower explosive limit) of 50,000 PPM

That said, if your flammable gas detection device is working correctly and detecting Methane in a concentration of 500 PPM, you are detecting it far below dangerous concentrations. 100 times below if you do the math.



20 ppm useable sensitivity (methane) http://www.allgasdetectors.com/products/g351.shtml

Can anyone tell me where to get more information about this recall? We are purchasing a house and my wife complained about a gas smell after lighting the Water heater this valve leaks when it is lite but doesn’t leak when it is in the OFF position.

64-978-348 R110RATSPL