Richmond Water Heater How to & Troubleshooting Guide

Water heaters are an invaluable asset in today’s homes, and not just any heater but rather a good quality heater to effectively and economically heat enough water for your daily needs. Richmond is one of the reputable brands, with several quality appliances on offer. They come in different types like gas, electric, tankless, and specialty water heaters.

Knowing how to properly use your heater is not only essential from the economic point of view but for safety as well. Water temperatures above 125oF can cause severe burns or death from scalding. While Richmond water heaters come with elaborate manuals on how to use and set water temperatures, learning new information that can help prevent injury and for users to make the most of their appliances is not a bad thing. If you have a Richmond water heater or are intending to have one installed, hopefully, you should find this how-to and troubleshooting guide useful.

How to Operate a Richmond Water Heater

Power vent gas water heater

For a power vent water heater, follow these operating instructions below:

  1. Toggle the ON/OFF switch located on blower assembly to the “ON” position.
  2. Set the thermostat to the lowest setting by pressing the COOLER and HOTTER arrow buttons at the same time and holding them for 1 second. Depress the COOLER button until only the WARM indicator light is lit.
  3. Toggle the “ON/OFF” switch located on the blower assembly to the “OFF” position.
  4. Turn off all electrical power to the appliance.
  5. The water heater is equipped with a Hot Surface Ignition System which automatically lights the burner. Do not open the inner door of the appliance and try to light the burner by hand.
  6. Wait 5 minutes to clear out any gas. If you smell gas, stop and don’t try to light any appliance, touch any electric switch, or use any phone in your building. Observe the safety precautions and call your gas supplier from a neighbor’s phone.
  7. If you do not smell gas, proceed to turn on all electrical power to the appliance.
  8. Toggle the ON/OFF switch to the ON position.
  9. Set the thermostat to the desired temperature.
  10. If the appliance will not operate, turn off gas to the appliance and call your service technician or gas supplier.

To turn gas off to the appliance:

  1. Set the thermostat to the lowest setting by first depressing the COOLER and HOTTER buttons at the same time and holding for 1 second. Depress the COOLER button until only the WARM indicator light is lit.
  2. Toggle the ON/OFF switch located on the lower assembly to the OFF position.
  3. Turn off all electrical power to the appliance.
  • Richmond direct vent water heater

Follow the instructions below to light your direct vent water heater:

  1. Set the thermostat dial to the lowest setting by turning the thermostat dial clockwise until it stops. Do not force it.
  2. Slightly depress the gas control knob and turn clockwise to OFF position.
  3. Wait 5 minutes to clear out any gas. Stop and follow the safety precautions as above if you smell any gas. Go to the next step if you do not smell gas.
  4. Remove the outer door from the water heater. Do not attempt to remove the inner door.
  5. Locate the piezo-electric spark generator which is located on top of the combination gas control.
  6. Turn the gas control knob counter-clockwise to the “PILOT” position.
  7. Depress and hold the gas control knob all the way down. Immediately depress the piezo-electric spark generator button several times until the pilot is lit. You can only see the flame through the sight glass window located on the inner door.
  8. Continue holding down the gas control knob for about 1 minute after the pilot is lit. If it goes out, repeat steps 3 to 9.
  9. Once the pilot flame is established, replace the outer door.
  10. Turn the gas control knob counter-clockwise to the ON position. Do not use gas control knob to regulate gas flow to burner.
  11. Set the thermostat dial to desired setting by turning dial counter-clockwise. The preferred starting point for temperature setting is to align the two triangular pointers on the dial and control face.

To turn gas off to the appliance:

  1. Set the thermostat dial to the lowest setting by turning the thermostat dial clockwise until it stops.
  2. Slightly depress the gas control knob and turn clockwise to OFF position. Note that the knob cannot be turned from PILOT position unless pushed down slightly. Don’t use force.

How to Adjust the Temperature on a Richmond Water Heater

Gas water heater

The temperature of the water in the heater can be set/ adjusted by setting the temperature knob on the front of the Combination Gas Control (Thermostat). The Combination Gas Control comes set at its lowest setting for safety purposes.

The reference marks represent the water temperature as stated below:

  • Low- Represents an approximate water temperature of 91oF
  • Hot- Represents an approximate water temperature of 125oF
  • A- Represents an approximate water temperature of 130oF
  • B- Represents an approximate water temperature of 140oF
  • C- Represents an approximate water temperature of 150oF
  • Very Hot- Represents an approximate water temperature of 155oF

To determine the water temperature, turn on a hot water faucet and place a thermometer in the water stream.

The Combination Gas Control (Thermostat) has a built-in safety shut-off device that is designed to shut off the gas supply to the burner if the pilot is extinguished for any reason. The Combination Gas Control is also constructed with a single-use gas shut-off device that will shut off the gas supply to the burner if the water exceeds normal operating temperatures.

Power vent gas water heater

The temperature of the water in the heater can be regulated by pressing the “COOLER” or “HOTTER” arrow buttons on the front of the combination gas control. The combination gas control was set at its lowest setting before the water heater was shipped from the factory to comply with safety regulations. You will thus need to set the desired water temperature.

To change the temperature setting, follow the instructions below:

  1. Hold down both “COOLER” and “HOTTER” temperature adjustment buttons at the same time for one second to “Wake up” the temperature indicators. One or two of the temperature indicators will light up, and will only remain on for 30 seconds if no further buttons are pressed before the control goes back to “sleep” mode.
  2. Release both of the temperature buttons.
  3. Press and release the “COOLER” button until the desired setting is reached to decrease the temperature.
  4. Press and release the “HOTTER” button until the desired setting is reached to increase the temperature.

Direct vent water heater

The reference mark indicated by “up arrow” on the rim of the temperature dial, represents an approximate water temperature of 120oF. The reference mark A or 1 mark represents an approximate water temperature of 130oF.

Each reference mark above or below these points indicates an approximate change of 10oF.

To adjust the temperature, turn the temperature dial to an initial setting of 120oF.

Why is My Richmond Water Heater Not Heating?

If there is not enough or no hot water, it could be that water usage may have exceeded the capacity of the water heater. If that is the case, you need to wait for the water heater to recover after an abnormal demand.

Low gas pressure could also be the cause of the problem. Check the gas supply pressure and manifold pressure.

If the above checks out and the water heater is still not heating, check the combination gas control (thermostat) setting. It may be set too low. If set too low, adjust the water temperature setting to the desired setting.

Leaking or open hot water faucets could also be the reason you are not getting hot water. You need to make sure that all faucets are closed. Also, check to make sure the ON/OFF switch is not turned OFF. If it is, turn ON.

Another possible reason is the blower is unplugged. Check to make sure it is plugged in. Verify power supply (120 VAC). If that is not the issue, the combustion shutoff device could have tripped and you may need to contact a qualified service technician.

Lastly, check the valve error codes. If there are error codes, troubleshoot to clear the error and fix the issue.

All Richmond Water Heater Error Codes, Their Meaning and Fixes

Gas water heater

The status light indicates the water heater’s status/condition depending on the color and blinking pattern:

  • 0 light flashes, no color- Control Off/Pilot Out
  • 1 blue flash- Normal operation
  • 2 red flashes- Thermopile voltage low
  • 4 red flashes- High temperature shutdown
  • 5 red flashes- Temperature sensor failure
  • 7 red flashes- Gas control or valve failure
  • 8 red flashes- Flame sense error

 If the status light is not blinking blue, relight the pilot. If the status light blinks red more than one flash every three seconds, here is what the error code and means and what to do to clear the error:

  1. Status light code off
  2. Combination Gas Control turned off
  3. Turn on the Combination Gas Control
  4. Pilot not lit
  5. Light the pilot
  6. Insufficient power supply (millivoltage)
  7. Check thermopile connector to the Combination Gas Control to make sure that it is properly connected
  8. Check thermopile wires for damage and replace if needed
  9. Inspect the pilot assembly

Constantly lit

It indicates:

  1. Pilot recently extinguished and Thermopile is cooling down
  2. Temperature knob recently turned to OFF position

To clear the error:

  • Light the pilot following the proper lighting instructions

One blink every three seconds

It indicates:

  1. Normal operation
  2. Temperature knob recently in pilot position and pilot is lit

To fix this:

  • Set temperature knob on Combination Gas Control to desired setting

Two blinks every three seconds

This indicates low thermopile voltage however pilot is lit.

To clear the error:

  • Check thermopile connector to the Combination Gas Control to make sure that it is properly connected
  • Check thermopile wires for damage and replace if needed
  • Inspect the pilot assembly

Four blinks every three seconds

This error code indicates high water temperature limit tripped.

To fix this:

  • contact a qualified service technician

Five blinks every three seconds

It indicates water temperature sensor failure

To fix this:

  • Contact a qualified service technician

Seven blinks every three seconds

It indicates Combination Gas Control failure

To fix this:

  • Contact a qualified service technician

Eight blinks every three seconds

It indicates a false pilot flame signal

To fix this:

  • Contact a qualified service technician

Power vent gas water heater

Gas valve LEDs will light separately or together to indicate the status or an error. There are 6 LEDs; with the last three indicated as A, B, and C.

LED 1 and A

This indicates there is an open earth ground circuit to the ignition system.

To clear the error:

  • Check that the earth ground connection is properly connected.
  • Check that the ground conductor on the water heater is properly connected.

LED 1, 3, B

This indicates a wiring error or a high resistance to earth ground.

To fix the error:

  • Check proper connection of line neutral and hot wires.
  • Check that the water heater is securely connected to earth ground.

LED 1, 3

This indicates that the pressure switch remained closed longer than 5 seconds after the call for heat began.

To clear the error:

  • Verify that the wiring to the pressure switch(es) is correct.
  • Replace the pressure switch(es).

LED 1,3, C

The LED status indicates the pressure switch remained opened longer than 5 seconds after the combustion blower was energized.

To clear the error, try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Verify that the wiring to the pressure switch(es) is correct.
  • Verify that the wiring to the pressure switch(es) is connected correctly.
  • Check the vent and/or combustion air-inlet systems for obstructions.

LED 1,3,B,C

This indicates an error in the hot surface ignitor circuit.

To fix the issue:

  • Check that all wiring is correct and secure.
  • Replace hot surface ignitor.

LED 1,A,B

This indicates the system is in lockout.

To resolve the issue, follow these troubleshooting instructions:

  • Gas supply is off or too low to operate. Turn on the gas supply and/or increase the inlet gas supply pressure.
  • Hot surface ignitor not positioned correctly.
  • Low voltage to the water heater. Increase supply voltage to rated voltage.
  • Electrical polarity to the unit is incorrect. Test and correct.
  • Check the vent and/or combustion air-inlet systems for obstructions.

LED 1, B,C

This indicates that there is a problem in the combination gad valve driver circuit.

To fix the issue, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Turn off the power to the water heater for 10 seconds and then back on.
  • Replace the combination gas control (thermostat).

LED 1,3,A,B

This error code indicates that there is a problem with the internal circuit.

To fix this, follow these instructions:

  • Turn off the power to the water heater for 10 seconds and then back on.
  • Replace the combination gas control (thermostat).

All LED lit (1,2,3,A,B,C)

This indicates there is a problem with the internal circuit.

To resolve the issue, try the following steps:

  • Turn off the power to the water heater for 10 seconds and then back on.
  • Replace the combination gas control (thermostat).

LED 1,B

It indicates that the flame signal sensed out of proper sequence.

To fix this:

  • Replace the combination gas control (thermostat)

LED 1, A,B,C

It indicates that ECO is activated

To fix this:

  • Replace the combination gas control (thermostat)

LED 1,3,A

It indicates one of the temperatures adjust buttons is stuck closed.

To fix the error:

  • Press and release each of the buttons once.
  • Replace the combination gas control (thermostat).

LED 1,3,A, C

It indicates the water temperature sensor is either open or is short circuited.

To troubleshoot and resolve the issue:

  • Check that all wiring is correct and secure.
  • Replace the combination gas control (thermostat).

LED 1, A, C

It indicates unit shuts down.

To fix the error:

  • Check for correct wiring to FV sensor.
  • Check for open circuits to FV sensor.
  • Replace FV sensor.

LED 1,C

It indicates the unit shuts down and in lockout.

To fix:

  • FV sensor detected presence of flammable vapors.
  • Contact a service agency.

How to Leak Test a Richmond Water Heater

The water heater and its gas connections must be leak tested at normal operating pressures before placing it in operation. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Turn on the manual gas shut-off valve near the water heater.
  2. Use a soapy water solution to test for leaks at all connections and fittings.
  3. If there are bubbles, this indicates a gas leak that must be corrected.

You should also leak test the factory connections to the Combination Gas Control (Thermostat) after the water heater is placed in operation.

How to Drain and Clean a Richmond Water Heater

Gas water heater

In order to drain your Richmond gas water heater, follow these steps:

  1. First shut off gas to the water heater at the manual shut-off valve.
  2. Then, turn off the cold water supply.
  3. Open a hot water faucet or lift the handle on the relief valve to admit air to the tank.
  4. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve on the water heater and direct the stream of water to drain. Open the drain.

To clean the burner, remove the burner from the water heater. You can use a vacuum cleaner on the burner and floor shield inside the water heater. You can also clean the burner by scrubbing with mild detergent.

The burner chamber is a sealed area and it is recommended that cleaning of the burner is done by a qualified service personnel. If the burner access door is removed, the burner access door gasket must be replaced.

How to Descale a Richmond Water Heater

A water heater’s tank can act as a settling basin for solids suspended in the water. Hard water deposits can therefore accumulate in the bottom of the tank.

To remove/clean the deposits, drain a few quarts of water from the water heater’s tank every month.

Richmond Water Heater Won’t Light

Gas water heater

If your attempts to light the pilot burner have been unsuccessful, there could be air in the gas line. To fix this problem, you first need to purge the air from the gas line and then try again to see it will light.

Another thing that can cause this problem is when the pilot burner orifice is clogged. The pilot burner should be cleaned or replaced in this case.

The pilot burner tube might be pinched or clogged, thus preventing the pilot burner from lighting. If so, you may need to clean, repair or replace the pilot burner to fix the problem.

If the above remedies don’t resolve the problem, it might be that you are not depressing the Combination Gas Control (Thermostat) Knob while attempting to light the pilot. The knob needs to be depressed to light the water heater.

Power vent water heater

If you are unable to light the main burner to your Richmond power vent water heater, it may be due to the following issues:

  • Air in gas line- Contact a qualified service technician to purge the air from the gas line.
  • Blocked vent system- Have a qualified service technician evaluate vent system for blockage.
  • Blocked combustion air-inlet system- Have the combustion air-inlet system evaluated by a qualified service technician.
  • Pressure switches- Make sure the pressure switches are not “kinked”.
  • Wire connection(s) are not fully secured- Confirm the wire connections or have a service technician confirm the connections for you.
  • Combustion shutoff device tripped- Combustion shutoff device(s) should be inspected by a qualified service technician.
  • Gas control problem-Contact a qualified service technician to inspect and fix the issue.

Richmond Water Heater Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

There are several possible causes for this problem:

  • The thermopile is disconnected-Make sure the thermopile wire connectors at the gas Combination Gas Control (Thermostat) are connected properly.
  • Pilot burner orifice is clogged- You need to clean or replace the pilot burner.
  • Pinched or clogged pilot burner tube- You need to clean, repair or replace the pilot burner.
  • Combination Gas Control (Thermostat) Knob is not depressed while attempting to light pilot- Make sure you depress the knob as is required when lighting the water heater.

Check this too: Kinetico Water Filter Troubleshooting

Richmond Water Heater Care and Maintenance Tips

Keeping your water heater properly maintained helps ensure it operates smoothly and efficiently, it is free of problems, and serves you for many years. Below are some maintenance tips to consider:

Gas water heater

  • Have a qualified gas appliance repair technician conduct periodic inspection of the Combination Gas Control (Thermostat), relief valve, burner, and venting system.
  • Establish a routine preventative maintenance program and make sure you are following it.
  • At least once a year, lift and release the lever handle on the temperature pressure relief valve to make sure the valve operates freely.  This is located near the top of the water heater. Allow several gallons to flush through the discharge line to an open drain.
  • Drain a few quarts of water from the water heater’s tank every month to clean the tank of deposits.
  • The anode rod should be removed from the water heater’s tank annually for inspection and replaced when more than 6” of core wire is exposed at either end of the rod. Before removing the anode rod, make sure the cold water supply is turned off.
  • Strategically position risers in the water pipe system or use water hammer arresting devices to minimize the banging noise that can occur as result of rapidly closing faucets or solenoid valves in automatic water-using appliances.
  • Inspect the gas venting system and the chimney. Make sure the vent connector from the draft hood to the chimney is properly positioned and securely attached. If there is soot or deterioration, contact the local gas utility to fix the problem and clean the flue, or replace the flue, flue baffle, and venting system before resuming operation of the water heater.
  • Test for spillage at the draft hood relief opening after 5 minutes of burner operation. Use a match or candle flame or smoke.
  • Visually inspect the pilot burner and main burners annually. Through the sight glass, inspect the pilot burner flame with the main burner off and inspect the main burner while firing. Shut off the water heater if you notice any unusual burner operation, until you obtain qualified service assistance.
  • Turn off the power and water to the appliance if the water heater is to remain idle for an extended period of time. This helps conserve energy and prevent a build-up of dangerous hydrogen gas.
  • Chlorinate the water supply to minimize the smell of hydrogen sulfide or rotten eggs which happens as a result of the cathodic protection process with water containing a high sulfate.

Power vent water heater

  • Have a qualified service personnel conduct periodic inspection of the Combination Gas Control (Thermostat), relief valve, internal flue-way, burner, and vent and combustion air-inlet systems.
  • Establish and follow a routine preventative maintenance program.
  • Inspect the combustion air-inlet and vent systems. Make sure that all joints are secure and that all combustion air-inlet and vent pipe supports are all in place.
  • Check the outdoor combustion air-inlet and vent terminals to make sure that there are no obstructions, and that there is no damage nearby caused by condensate.
  • Periodically, lift and release the lever handle on the temperature pressure relief valve, located near the top of the water heater, to make sure the valve operates freely. Allow several gallons to flush through the discharge line to an open drain.
  • Drain a few quarts of water from the water heater’s tank every month to clean the tank of deposits.
  • The anode rod should be removed from the water heater’s tank periodically, for inspection. If there is more than 6” (15.2 cm) of core wire is exposed at either ends of the rod, replace the anode rod. When removing anode rode, first make sure the cold water supply is turned off.
  • Make sure the flammable vapor sensor is not blocked or obstructed. Do not expose the flammable vapor sensor to water, solvents or cleaning agents.
  • Inspect the combustion air-inlet and vent systems. Make sure that all joints are secure that combustion air-inlet and vent system supports are all in place. Also, check the outdoor combustion air-inlet and vent system terminals to make sure there are no obstructions, and that there is no damage nearby caused by condensate.
  • Visually inspect the hot surface ignitor and main burner periodically. Through the sight glass, inspect the hot surface ignitor with the main burner off and inspect the main burner while firing. Shut off the water heater if you notice any unusual burner operation, until you obtain qualified service assistance.
  • Turn off the power and water to the appliance if the water heater is to remain idle for an extended period of time. This helps conserve energy and prevent a build-up of dangerous hydrogen gas. Drain the water heater and piping if they might be subjected to freezing temperatures.
  • Chlorinate the water supply as a way to minimize the smell of hydrogen sulfide or rotten eggs which happens as a result of the cathodic protection process with water containing a high sulfate.

Oscar

In his spare time, Oscar loves tinkering with electronics. Solar panels, wiring, old TVs and sometimes DIY powerwalls. When he is not busy trying not to electrocute himself, you can find him in the garden tending to his vegetables and chickens.

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