I came home late last night to find that my GE gas water heater's cold water hose had burst and was spraying water every which way for what I only assume was several hours (by the inches of water that surround it and what had traveled/flooded into the surrounding rooms). It then took me a while to get the water turned off as the handles on the tank and the main line were somewhat frozen. I replaced the hose today but I still have no hot water hours later. I took off the pilot cover and the window has a LOT of condensation and the insulation is soaking wet -- I am afraid to try and light it while it's wet -- how long should I wait to try? The tank didn't sit in flood water so it should be ok -- but did get VERY wet.

P.s. When I was up on a stool changing the hose I noticed that the plastic blue and red washers on the pipes next to the vent had melted a bit (what looks like a while ago) so there seems to be some back drafting going on.

  • Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? If not get one. If you are having back drafts or any problem exhausting the fumes from the burner it can lead to your death. You should have the tank checked out by a professional, but getting a new tank in might be faster.
    – crip659
    Jun 11, 2023 at 10:31
  • 1
    Your water heater has a hose?
    – Huesmann
    Jun 11, 2023 at 12:40
  • Hose probably = flexible waterline. Fairly common on modern water heater installs. Reduce leaks from pipe breaks where there's seismic motion, but if not well made can be problematic in themselves.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 11, 2023 at 13:09
  • Use some sort of small blower to circulate air through the burner chamber, in order to dry things out.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 11, 2023 at 14:25
  • Does the pilot light have any electronics? It may, even if the heater had no plug. If there is an LED or any wires that's a clue, and the electronics may be ruined. But there's no reason not to try lighting it. Just get a CO detector first in case the flooding affected the draft.
    – jay613
    Jun 11, 2023 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


Lighting it while it's wet is not too concerning. It will dry out faster if hot, and it's gas, not electric, so you're not looking at a shock potential.

Lighting it if the venting is problematic is very concerning, to the point of potential death. That should be investigated and solved.

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