HomeResetting the #$%@!!* Honeywell Gas Valve on a Water Heater


Resetting the #$%@!!* Honeywell Gas Valve on a Water Heater — 205 Comments

  1. I am getting the 7 flashes 3 second pause

    does this mean I have to replace the entire valve?

    • This may help all. I took the circuit board completely out of the unit and let it sit for about an hour. I re installed it and got the 7 flashes instead of the four flashes. The pilot would light and I let it sit for a few minutes running on pilot. I then turned the gas valve to hot and it lit and ran. After about ten minutes the flashes changed back to the normal one flash operation. We shall see how long this lasts. I think the Board discharged and thus reset the memory allowing it to operate again. Maybe……I also shook chicken bones over it and chanted.

      • Well, how’s your repair going? Still working after these few months? I did the same thing but it immediately returned to four flashes.

        • As I mention in the article, in bold red text, you have to make sure whatever caused the overheat is also fixed. Especially, drain the sediment from the tank.

          • Well it died for good. The new gas valve arrived and after inspecting it I see they redesigned the probe that sets the 4 flash code with a stainless shield. Apparently the probe was too sensitive to heat caused by sediment build up. Draining your tank yearly may have prevented this but who the hell does that. The sediment can build up and surround the stock probe and retains heat insulating the probe and causing the 4 flash situation. I have set a reminder in outlook to drain my tank once a year from now on. I guess Water heaters are now interactive devices requiring yearly maintenance.

      • I removed the circuit board as you expanded. I shorted every connection on the board to the only connection marked GND rather than wait the hour.
        Once reinstalled, it went into the 7 flash mode, but the pilot lit, and when set to HIGH it fired right off.
        Within a couple minutes it reverted to 1 flash, and is working fine.
        Definitely will be draining sediment as a preventive measure later this week.
        Thank you for your terrific post.

      • I may have gotten lucky too. With 4 flashes, I unplugged the little cable for about 10 minutes and replugged in and got 7 flashes, but after another 10 minutes or so, it reverted to 1 flash and fired up.

        I also drained a small amount of sediment from the bottom of the tank, which was mostly brown water.

        • I had a similar experience on a WV8840B1059 getting the 4 flashes. After reading many of the comments rather than short anything on the circuit board I just unplugged the red and white input power and waited about 1 hour. After I reconnected got 7 flashes instead of 4 flashes and the gas valve opened properly. About 5-10 minutes the 7 flashes reverted back to a single flash, maybe got lucky. Going to researching flushing and cleaning the tank for good maintenance. Glad I found this post.

      • i am walking thru all theses steps…working on the circuit board now…drained refilled and this is last effort before calling…circuit board …battery?? not understanding this. detail describe please. and cannot get circuit board out…theres a screw of some sort and and something that looks like glass attached before it will let go?


      • how do i get the circuit board completely out? step by step please for dummies

      • Praise GOD. Your expert advice was successful. Followed your procedure to a T.


    • I called GE because Honeywell said to. I have a GE water heater with a blower motor on top. The new honeywell gas valve is completely electronic. There is no pilot, it just ignites completely as needed with electronic ignitor. The GE people walked me through a reset process over the phone and it fired right up. Turns out painting and cleaning the basement tripped a code “7 flashes”. They said call anytime and they can help. ( P.S. I had to be transferred to water heater division and wait on hold a while but it was well worth it.)

    • I bought the rheem propane water heater6 months ago now it’s giving me problem 2 blinks every 3 seconds…THERMOPILE voltage low. HELP, what step to go.

  2. Keith, the manual says 7 flashes means “Gas Control electronic fault
    detected.” That doesn’t sound to me like a physical problem with the valve’s connection to the gas line, so I see no reason the Frankenvalve operation wouldn’t work here also.

    • I agree but the cheapest I have found a valve is $199.00 plus shipping and tax. I don’t think it is cost effective. I am thinking about replacing it with a propane tankless. Do you know if the Rinnai is any better than the Jaccuzi? The Jaccuzi is available at Lowes.

      • DO NOT buy a water heater from Lowes. Get a contractor model. Preferably one that doesn’t use that stupid Honeywell valve. Tankless sounds good to me, but I’m not an expert — just another hapless victim who has learned from experience one more thing not to do.

    • Taking out the circuit board and shorting across the pins (on back side of board) of what I believe is a capacitor**, worked to get the 7 flashes and then unit would light. I also drained some water then flushed a lot.

      BTW I wouldn’t try to “short everything in sight” to GND, because the board and components are conformally coated to seal out moisture, so you don’t want to damage the coating.

      Regarding “7 flashes means “Gas Control electronic fault
      detected”: When this happens after the four flashes, it seems like this is saying something like, “There has been a fault detected, and there is no fault any more.” In other words, there was a fault and it went away.
      My unit is a Kenmore, bought at OSH New Year’s day 2012.
      ** sorry, I took no pictures; the capacitor is round, about 1/2″ diameter, about 1/2″ tall, dark color. Its two pins go through the board.

      • Some designers use what’s called a “super cap” instead of a battery to preserve data for short periods of time. That’s what this sounds like and shorting across it is perfectly OK.

      • I just bought a Rheem unit that has a Honeywell WV8840C1605 control valve.  So far, so good but was looking up things that could go wrong and found this page. I haven’t opened the valve yet out of curiosity but from what I read here, the Capacitor sounds like a good culprit. It is likely a “Super Cap” of 1 farad or more used for short term memory retention. (day job of electrical engineer). If that is the case, recommend that you do not short the leads as it can cause internal damage. Rather, drain it at a slower rate with a 1K ohm resistor.

        • Apparently the WV8840 valves designations are followed by a revision letter. The valve in my heater is a revision C and has a blue status LED for normal. This changes to red flash code when there is an abnormal condition. This may be rather new as Honeywell does not even have a WV8840C listed yet (or it may be an OEM spec valve which is proprietary and not published. They do have technical PDFs for the revision A and B valves thought those sheets do not have Un-fubar information listed.

      • okay at this point with circuit board…have no clue..please step by step for dummies please…cannot remove it from whitish housing.appears a screw of some sort and also something that looks like glass attaching to it…?

      • Found three capacitors (bigger one in the middle and the other two towards one of the corners, each is mainly silver with a black small/minor segment ) and shorted all three, replaced unit and relit the pilot light, but 4 flashes still the problem.

        Pulled off the cover with the dial still on pilot position – the pilot light died and the light didn’t flash. Then connected one end of wire to the metal frame of the valve and randomly shorted numerous positions on the bottom of the circuit board.. i.e. the side you see when it the board is in place.  After refitting the cover  and  lighting the pilot again, this resulted in the 7 flashes as mentioned in another post. This changed to normal flashing within a few minutes. Turned the dial to low and it started heating,


    • Is it flashing at you? Count the number of flashes and look it up in the manual. If the flashes don’t indicate a problem, look for a reset button somewhere other than on the valve, especially on the plate that covers the heating chamber. If the heating chamber gets too hot, the button pops out and the pilot will never light until you push it back in.

    • (I realize this is way after the fact but just adding some personal experience)
      If you can’t get the pilot lit, the thermopile that generates the .75 volt power to the controller will not be generating any power either. Check closely to see if you have a spark.  I am not sure if holding the temperature button in is electronic or mechanically acts on the pilot valve (would hope the latter).  I had worked on a water heater that was in a flooded basement and had to open up the sealed combustion chamber, remove the burner/pilot/ignitor/thermopile assembly and dry out the ignitor with a hair dryer for about 15 minutes before it was capable of showing a spark again. Put it all back together and re-sealed the gasket with red (high temperature) RTV gasket sealer. Started right back up.

  3. I have the exact electronic gas valve unit on my Whirlpool water heater I purchased 3 years ago. It is a Honeywell Reliance 9007884 Series 300. Last December, I was forced to replace the valve after I got the four flashes. Two days ago, the replacement unit also died. A plumber I know told me he has replaced dozens of these exact same units. I am convinced there is a design problem with this product and this item should be recalled.

    • I spoke with Whirlpool (Honeywell gas valve) and they sent me a new valve. I had to pay $30 overnight shipping. I told them I had four flashes and the serial number. They didn’t ask any questions or ask for the old one to be returned. I received the new valve and noticed a few differences. The Temperature probe is a different design. It has a stainless steel protective cover. Can’t see internally if it is different. It installed easily. I completely drained the tank and had a little sediment, not much since I have a whole house filter on the incoming supply. You may notice little beads of clear gooey looking stuff that appears to be gelatin. This is actually minerals and should be drained. I also flushed the tank out twice by turning the supply on with the drain open. I installed the new valve and cleaned up the mess. It took right off and has been working fine. Instead of a red flashing light it has a White flashing light. Other than that it looks the same from the exterior. I also examined the circuit board and noticed a few minor differences, but I think the real problem was in the design and components. I have advised my friends to call and tell them they have four flashes and get the gas valve now whether or not it has died. It will die eventually and it would be nice to have the gas valve ready to go.

      • This is huge – the most important post. What number did you call? Clearly the valve controller is mis-designed. I am so happy that the company replaced it for you. I would like to pursue the same solution (get a replacement).

  4. Holy Shite….I’m at the end of my gas heater nightmare with one thing left to do…replace the whole valve and i’m back and running…was researching whether to do it myself, then ran into this article about the dreaded four flashes…already had the valve, and presto, in 10 minutes I had a working water heater…I love the Internet…and Tyler, you are my new hero

  5. I just frankenvalved my unit last night and it is working like a charm! Appreciate the guidance. Super easy.

  6. Honeywell has a scam going, I paid over $500,00 for my water heater and several hundred to have it installed, since day one I have had nothing but trouble with the Honeywell thermostat,gas valve. Its a Reliant water heater, but at Menards. You cannot find the old fashion w/heaters that you could lite and forget it. I am beyond pissed, Reliant has a warrantee but it don’t cover parts!!! Can you believe this crap! I have to buy parts, shipping and all. F– I’m so mad I want to shoot the prick who cornered the market on Honeywells crap.

    • Did you call Honeywell directly? The valve is known to be defective and maybe they will help ?

  7. I don’t know if I ever got the red lights flashing. Just came home one day and the pilot light was out (this is the second time). The first time a friend was able to turn the pilot light back on with no problem. This time I followed the directions and got it back on myself(after 3 tries) but it won’t remain on. I just found this article. My question is….do I flush out the tank 1st before I do anything else….I have no idea on make and model…it’s raining here and I can’t check on it since its on the outside of my home…I want to see if I can fix it myself before I need to pay or just all out replace it…
    It’s not more than 3yrs old.

    • Flushing the tank regularly prevents many problems. If you haven’t done it in a while, there’s a very good chance that it will help solve whatever’s going on.

      When the pilot won’t light and there are no flashes, the problem is generally that the heating chamber got too hot and tripped the safety interlock. This suggests that the burner was on for a long time but just couldn’t heat the water enough to satisfy the thermostat. So either the thermostat is faulty, or somehow there’s something preventing heat transfer from the heating chamber and the water in the tank. Could sediment do this? I don’t know, but I do know you need to get the sediment out of there in any case, so you might as well try it.

      What your friend did to fix your problem temporarily, was press the reset button on the safety interlock — probably located on the access cover of the heating chamber. You can get the pilot to light by pressing this button, but unless you address the underlying problem, the chamber will overheat and the breaker will trip again.

      Again, not a water heater expert, just saying based on my own experiences with the ones in my home.

  8. great write up, but I cant find this part anywhere. A link in your article would have been nice.

    • Generally, if you’re covered under warranty, you would get the part from the MFR of the water heater. If not, you can still try the MFR, but a web search for “honeywell water heater valve” also turned up several vendors. I don’t buy enough plumbing parts to make a vendor recommendation, thank god. I suggest, like anything else you want to buy online, among those sellers with good reviews, choose the one with the best price.

  9. First off, thank you for this article and thread. Although the “Frankinvalving” wasn’t an option/didn’t work, it did show me what I was up against, introduced me to others who have had the same problem and what everyone’s resolution was. After going through this ordeal, I had the pretty much the same experience as ColdShowerMan…

    One morning I woke up to find no lights on the Gas Valve panel. I ignited the pilot and set the temperature but then got the 4 Flash code.

    I called toll-free number on side of tank (877-817-6750), described my issue and gave a serial number. The customer service representative explained to me that I needed a new Gas Valve and that if there was a store around me that had the Gas Valve, I could buy there (Menards, etc.) and submit my receipt for them to reimburse the cost (up to $153). Since I don’t have a location near me and have a demanding household for hot water, I opted for the $30 overnight shipping option. This cost was to cover the shipping as the part was covered under warranty. She did say they were including a return label if I would be so kind to return the faulty part so they could examine why these are giving out so quickly. I told her I would, but more I think about it, “F” that! I have a water heater that is 18 months old and I’m already repairing it? And I’m paying $30 for a part I shouldn’t be replacing? No, I’m not participating. I got pretty bitter there thinking about it.

    Anyhow, the next day I got the part. Now understand, I’m a DIYer, but by no means am I a professional in plumbing, gas, electric or heating/cooling… I’m a computer guy that does home projects from time to time. That said, I decided to tackle this replacement as I wasn’t going to shell out a couple hundred for someone to come in and do it. The entire process from start to finish, including 2 stops to Lowes (once for tools, second for piping) and draining/refilling tank took over 2 hours. I read the included instructions to a “T” and had a successful replacement!

    So a few notes to help those that are experiencing the same thing:

    1. READ THEIR INSTRUCTIONS A FEW TIMES OVER! The instructions are short, but they have very helpful tips and information. Opening hot valve of nearby sink, opening air release valve on top of tank, using 4″ inlet pipe to use as a wrench lever to remove the Gas Valve assembly were a few minor but helpful things.

    2. As ColdShowerMan noted, there are differences in the new design they sent me. While most of it looks similar, I think the subtle differences incorporate a long(er) term fix. I also had a aluminum shield over the thermostat that is inserted into the tank. My light is now white instead of red and the electronic board appears slightly different. Because of these differences, I would recommend NOT to only replace the board, but to replace everything!

    3. Expect difficulties. The 5″ inlet pipe would NOT separate from the Gas Valve assembly, so I had to run up to Lowe’s and get a new inlet pipe (5 1/2″) to connect to the new assembly.

    4. Again, because I’m somewhat inexperienced at this stuff, I found that there is a different teflon tape used for Gas than in plumbing. Be sure to get the “Yellow” gas rated teflon tape and/or no. 5 gas rated pipe sealant. I was told that you can use the yellow teflon and sealant for gas and water, but the water products do not work on gas. Good to know! So… while they said just use the sealant through out, I actually used a combination of both. I used sealant on all the piping going into the valve assembly however I used teflon tape for the screwing portion of the assembly that goes into the tank and touches water. I didn’t want the sealant to contaminate my water. Guess that part is personal preference but I thought I’d share.

    5. Test all joints after install for leaks! While I didn’t have any leaks, I was sweating bullets during the testing and first fire up of the furnace. Contemplated telling my wife and child to go take a ride around the block while I finished it up, but was confident everything was solid and ready.

    Not sure if these links will come thru, however I took a few pictures of my replacement. Maybe they will help others:


    Hope this information helps! Have fun boys!

  10. I bought a Rheem water heater from Home Depot, it had this Honeywell valve on it. The water heater would not work properly right out of the box. The pilot would lite, the main burner would come on and it would run for awhile. The main burner would go out without being up to temp (it may of been shutting off on the high limit ?) and then it might come back on or not. The pilot would stay lit for a while and then go out with a code 2 blink. The final straw while talking to Rheem tech support the main burner lit for 1 second, went out, and relit 2 seconds later. Rheem next day shipped me a new Honeywell control valve. The new valve seemed to act the same way except without the main burner lite, out , and relite. The pilot stays lit. I think this Honeywell valve is pretty flakey. Rheem gets my congrats for the great support and fast shipping. Rheems quality control gets low marks for the initial failure.

  11. How to un-fault a controller –
    Basically the Honeywell Electronic Gas Water Heater Controllers are crap (so far). If it finds a fault, it will shutdown. It will not attempt to clear its own fault after it faults. This is how you can un-fault the Controller or make it check for a fault again (and clear the fault). First, the Pilot has to be able to stay lit on its own and a fault blinks on the controller to continue. Please do this at your own risk.
    Look at a site like http://hometips.me/Mar/How-to-test-and-replace-Honeywell-gas-control-valve.pdf on how to remove the Controller circuit board (one screw and 3 tabs) and black control knob ( lean it to the side and it will pop out. Do not loose the spring under it!)and insert the circuit board back onto the 3 Valve body pins as it normally would be (circuit components showing) without the cover attached. Make sure the thermostat wires are plugged in to the top of the board. Connect the RED and WHITE power wires back on the two connections on the circuit board. (White on the right and RED on the left as they would be with the cover on). So now it is connected up as it would be normally but without the cover attached.
    You will need two clip leads about 2 feet long each(like from Radio Shack – I used a black lead for negative (-) and red lead for positive(+)) and be able to clip onto a 1.5 volt battery (I used a weak rechargeable battery with tabs ( you only need about .5 volt DC actually).
    Look at where the Valve body pins connect to the circuit board. It is a V pattern. The bottom pin is ground ((-) on the battery)Connect the (-) negative of the battery there with a clip lead. Start the pilot by moving the knob to 6 o’clock and press it in to start the gas and press the piezo starter button on the cover (you have to press the button between two fingers so it will not pop out of the cover – it is possible to get shocked so maybe use a glove) several times until it lights. Keep the knob pressed in until the Pilot valve opens (a click sound and the status light starts blinking on the circuit board). You can now release the knob and the pilot should stay on. Be sure the pilot stays on before continuing. Turn the knob to 9 or 10 o’clock- since your controller is faulted, nothing should happen.
    Looking at the V of the Valve body pins, the left top pin is the pilot valve. The Right top Pin is the main gas valve. What you will do next is connect the (+) positive of the battery to the right top pin so your battery is across the bottom pin (-) and top right pin (+) – you should hear the click of the main valve opening. The main gas valve will open and the burner will fire up (If is does not fire up, it means the pilot was not lit and you should disconnect the battery and start over when the gas clears). The Water heater will appear to be working now, but in a several seconds it will figure out that something is wrong, and it will shutdown the pilot valve and the fire will shut off. Disconnect the battery from the Right top pin. You will now need to restart the Pilot as before.
    Now when the pilot starts and the pilot valve pulls in, and the status light starts blinking, look at the code. It may show now the normal 1 code or it may show a 7 or maybe a 2. Rotate the knob to 9 o’clock to see if it will fire up on its own. If it does, the fault should clear in a few seconds. If it has now cleared. Wait a minute to be sure, then turn the knob to off, and disconnect (the RED and WHITE power leads first) everything and reassemble the controller normally and start it back up. The fault should stay cleared. The Controller should now work normally for a few days to months before it may fault again. This should at least get you hot water and time to get another controller from like Amazon.
    If it does not start up on its own after the shutdown, then you may have to reconnect the battery to the right top pin and go through the above procedure again and it will shutdown again. The most I have had to do this is twice before the fault cleared.
    I have not found a procedure to un-fault a Honeywell Electronic gas controller on any web site, so I think I am the only one to do this. I hope it helps someone.

    • That sounds reasonable. I wish I had known this a few months ago. I copied and pasted your instructions into word and saved the file. I replaced my gas valve and only had to pay the shipping and smell bad for two days. Whirlpool sent me the upgraded replacement. I don’t have faith in this product and may need your instructions at a later date. Thank you for posting this !

      • Great writeup! This worked for me! I tried the other methods to discharge the caps etc… Those Methods did not work. THIS METHOD WORKS!!!

        BONUS!!! I have a slight modification to make it even easier!!!

        The only material needed is one short jumper or piece of wire.

        You don’t need the battery at all. The Thermopile already supplies the current necessary to open the gas valve! Just install the board with the cover removed as outlined. I left the piezo starter installed in the plastic cover. Just plug the starter lead back into the connector to the ignitor and place the back (brass colored) end of the starter against a metal part of the water heater. (For me it was the the inlet gas pipe on the valve.) this will also help the starter get a good ground to make a proper spark. this makes it quite easy to press the starter.

        Once you have the pilot lit and the pilot valve on, (faint click can be heard) all that is necessary to open the main valve is to jump (connect) the top left pin to the top right pin. This will supply current to the main valve and the main valve will open. If it does not open then that means the pilot did not stay on. Now there is no danger of releasing gas. In this case relight the pilot and try again. Everything else worked as previously described.

        This is the second time I have had the dreaded four blink failure in a 30 Gal. Kenmore water heater purchased at OSH in 2012. I had the first valve replaced under the one year warranty but sears will not replace the valve under the six year warranty. I have drained the tank twice and in both cases I got virtually NO SEDIMENT out of my water heater.

        In other words Sediment problem = B.S.!!

        If this problem happens again I plan on wiring a small push-button to the two top terminals and mount it the plastic cover for an easy reset switch!

        Thanks again for the excellent post!

        • Not much of a DIY’er am i but after reading about this “scam” Honeywell has going on about these modules i had to try this and besides how many more cold showers can one man take..My results? OMG!! I cant believe this actually worked!!! thank u CT. U and DB are $$ savers…for now anyway..LOL!

        • I tried taking off the cover, disconnecting everything, and letting it sit for 8 hours. When I put it back together, it still flashed 4 lights and only the pilot would light. Here is the simple fix. I opened the cover again, left everything plugged in, took a piece of speaker wire with the plastic off of the ends, and held the wire ends to the top left pin and the top right pin for a few seconds. I saw that the light went out and the pilot had gone out. I closed the cover again and lit the pilot again. Now the light changed from flashing 4 times to flashing 7 times. This time I left the knob in the pilot position for 10 minutes. When I came back to check the water heater, I saw that the light was flashing normally. I turned the knob to just the Hot setting and it fired up !

            THANKS & GOD BLESS

          • Too good buddy, the solution you proposed works like charm, all working now !

          • I tried all the solutions that people had suggested and still had the 4 blink problem. I did the upper left/upper right. The light went out. (no blinks, no pilot) Turned it around and clipped it back in and went through the lighting the pilot light. started getting 7 blinks, felt hopeful, turned it to hot and heard the burner come on. Getting some hugs and kisses from the wife. Also had flushed out the tank. Thanks that was a big help and a $$ saver. Think I am out of my warrantee point but I will call and see if I can get a freebee. SUPER FIX< SUPER POST

          • What top left and right pins, can you show a picture. I have a water heater only 13 months old and it is not working.

          • What is ” top left pin and the top right pin ” you are referring to, while holding circuit board still inside the controller assembly and facing towards me which corner are you referring to, can you please give me some details or a picture that would be great. 


          • What is ” top left pin and the top right pin ” you are referring to, while holding circuit board still inside the controller assembly and facing towards me which corner are you referring to, can you please give me some details or a picture that would be great. HELP !!


          • This worked well. Thanks to the website and posters for saving me a lot of trouble. The screw on the back of the control board is a Torx T-15 size.

          • followed your instructions for shorting the 2 pins and re-light worked just like you said. I initially did unplug everything and flushed the tank there was some residue and sediment not a ton but apparently enough to confound the sensor. Thanks to all of you!!

        • I am extremely grateful for this information!

          If you’re ever in Fort Wayne Indiana, I’ll treat you to a steak dinner/sushi/(or your preference)!

        • Hey just wanted to say a BIG thank you to you guys for the reboot reset  tips the jumper wire to all points worked best for me! Took the board out and just touched everything with the cross wire and let it sit. reinstalled later in the day and it went to one blink clicked the pilot on and turned to hot and presto! the wife is happy again. I did order free replacement the part and went for the free ground ship to Calif  as well as i had faith in you guys that the tips would   work  before the part got here. My hat is off to all of you. THANK YOU!

    • Holy Crap DB! This WORKS! THANK YOU! I woke up on a Saturday morning to this issue and used your “Fault Clear” instructions and they WORKED! Should save this to a word file…But hopefully I wont ever need them again..My water heater is 2 years old and has a 6 year warranty on parts..I called Monday morning and spoke to a Johnathon (real nice fella) and he shipped me the whole thermostat assembly. He gave me the $30 overnight speech but I opted for the $10 and some change shipping…Got it 2 days later! So in my opinion, WAIT the extra day and save yourself the $20….One thing Johnathon DID request was I send the old one back and that he would place a return label in the package…Well I live 23 miles from town and not going to do a rush job for that…AND I kinda put the replacement on “standby” and like DB said…Clearing the fault it may last for days or MONTHS before it does it again! Anyways DB’s method DOES WORK! Atleast it did for me. DB….THANK YOU kind sir for sharing this! God Bless you! And if you are atheist? TOUGH! God Bless you anyway! (PS…Flushing the tank as other’s have posted is sound advice to)

    • Thanks for the info. New controller on the way but hot water is now flowing. I will clean up the old unit when removed and keep as spare. I will now start flushing sediment every quarter instead of annually. I fitted the WH with a cheap garden hose when I installed it last year and ran the hose permanently to outdoors for convenience. I have well water.

    • Worked like a charm with an old AA battery & a couple of bread ties, thanks for for sharing the knowledge!

    • DB,

      tried several rimes, will not stay lit. I have 4 blinking lights. any suggestions ?

      • The older controllers will reset this way. The newer ones have been “Fixed” so they will not reset. My old controller has a red blinking LED that I can reset. My new controller has a white blinking LED that will not reset.

    • My hat is off to you David, I followed you instruction and it clear the fault and is now heating my water. I must say the internet is a life saver for problems like these. Thanks for you insight

    • David,

      Thank you for the excellent instructions, they worked on the first try. Since my valve is under warranty, I will be replacing it. Thanks to your solution I will have hot water until the replacement value arrives. If the reset procedure needs to be repeated, I figure it can easily be done in less than 10 minutes. One note, since I did not have any clip leads I just used a rubber band to hold two pieces of speaker wire to a AA battery and held the wires on the pins with my index fingers. I did put a piece of electrical tape near the end of the ground wire given my tendency to reverse things.

    • Wow it worked great. I had to do it 2 times, but it is now making hot water again. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    • Here is what worked for me.

      I had a power outage at my house and coincidentally (?) my water heater pilot light went out. My Kenmore water heater is controlled by the Honeywell Gas Valve (part # 9007884), which contains the WV8840 Communication Port.

      The water heater wouldn’t re-light, but I noticed that the indicator was blinking four times in succession. That signaled an error code for a fatal flaw in the water heater gas valve. The water heater had supposedly over heated, even though I had never had it set to anything but “low” in the 3 years I have had it. By the way, the 3 year warranty expired 3 week ago.

      The manual, and Sears parts deptartment, told me I needed a new control valve at $150. That was their only solution. They said there was no way to re-set the board.

      I researched the internet (many hours!) and found a guy that removed the board allowing the capacitors to discharge fully, (just by removing the board). I ended up doing this and it worked like magic.

      Although, the first time I did it, I only let it sit for about a half hour like he did, and I still got the 4 blinks and it wouldn’t light. So, I decided to let it sit overnight and that did the trick for me. When I put it back in it blinked 7 times. I lit the pilot, and the indicator returned to 1 regular blink (the sign of normal function) as the gas flowed to the burner and ignited.

      There is no need to completely remove the board from the plastic control valve cover. It is held in by one “T-15 tork screw” that would be uncommon for most folks. Just make sure you label (or cell phone picture) where the wires go, to be able to return them, and then disconnect all the wires. This will insure that the board will not be getting any electrostatic signals from the water heater. It’s not very complicated, really.

      The cover on the Water Heater’s gas valve is removed by a single flat head screw at the bottom. And two finger-pressable connectors at the top. You don’t have to drain the tank or disconnect any gas lines. Although, it wouldn’t hurt to turn the gas off at the water heater line by twisting the valve into the horizontal position.

      I thought you might want to add this info to your “do-it-yourself” site. It saved me $150. Honeywell and Sears/Home Depot/etc. would encourage you to waste the money on a new part.

    • Amazing! It works!
      I did the trick with a AA battery and some cheap speaker wire. My wife thinks I’m brilliant.

      Thank You

    • Great writeup! This worked for me! I tried the other methods to discharge the caps etc… Those Methods did not work. THIS METHOD WORKS!!!

      BONUS!!! I have a slight modification to make it even easier!!!

      The only material needed is one short jumper or piece of wire.

      You don’t need the battery at all. The Thermopile already supplies the current necessary to open the gas valve! Just install the board with the cover removed as outlined. I left the piezo starter installed in the plastic cover. Just plug the starter lead back into the connector to the ignitor and place the back (brass colored) end of the starter against a metal part of the water heater. (For me it was the the inlet gas pipe on the valve.) this will also help the starter get a good ground to make a proper spark. this makes it quite easy to press the starter.

      Once you have the pilot lit and the pilot valve on, (faint click can be heard) all that is necessary to open the main valve is to jump (connect) the top left pin to the top right pin. This will supply current to the main valve and the main valve will open. If it does not open then that means the pilot did not stay on. Now there is no danger of releasing gas. In this case relight the pilot and try again. Everything else worked as previously described.

      This is the second time I have had the dreaded four blink failure in a 30 Gal. Kenmore water heater purchased at OSH in 2012. I had the first valve replaced under the one year warranty but sears will not replace the valve under the six year warranty. I have drained the tank twice and in both cases I got virtually NO SEDIMENT out of my water heater.

      In other words Sediment problem = B.S.!!

      If this problem happens again I plan on wiring a small push-button to the two top terminals and mount it the plastic cover for an easy reset switch!

      Thanks again for the excellent post!

      • Thank you Cranky Tenants and Dave Boone!  One small jumper wire is all that’s needed!  Got a back-up valve for free since mine was under warranty.  It’s been a week since I reset the valve and everything seems to be working fine and I did not drain the tank.  My unit was only 3 years old!

    • David Boone I Love You. My Family thanks you for the tip to reset the Honeywell Gas control valve.

      Greatly Appreciated,

      Craig Duquette

    • Thanks to this blog and everyone’s exploits with the Frankenvalve Here’s what worked so far for me on a neighbors unit:
      Make a jumper out of phone wire about 10″ long. On one end make two tiny wraps to fit over the left and right pins on the valve under the cover like described elsewhere. Remove cover, put wraps on the two posts and replace cover. Ignite pilot then rotate to hot. Twist the phone wires together, the burner lit for about 20 seconds then shut off. Untwist wires and relight pilot. I believe I was getting 7 flashes until turning burner on and in a short time the flashes went to normal 1 flash. No battery, no removing of circuit board, just a short jumper wire. Thanks to all the posts here!!! Cheers.

      • The two 10 inch jumpers wrapped around the left and right pins was the method that worked for me. Bought my Whirlpool at Lowes. Went back to buy a new thermostat. Nothing on the shelf that looked like the Honeywell. Asked the associate, he said they are all interchangeable. Nope! I had looked at it at 5am it was 7pm by the time I got to Lowes, thought he was wrong but trusted his input! I didn’t think it would work, live and learn. Started looking on line for a replacement and came across this site. So to all of you, thank you!

    • Well, tried this with TWO circuit boards (one was original w/red LED, the second was replacement w/white LED). Neither worked, the second board is now dead. The first continues the 4-blinks after multiple reset attempts.

      This is really bad! I’m looking for a replacement LPG gas control in Mexico (I’m close to the border). Maybe I can purchase one with the G-D F@*CK*! US Government safety features. That’s the problem, not Honeywell — they just build a piece of crap (in China). The government mandates all this crap that fails! We really need to tell the government to BUTT OUT of our lives, Big Brother wants to be my mommy and save me from myself. I really don’t need those (collective) idiots telling me what is safe and what is not. This crap adds $15,000+ to our new automobiles. No, No, No!

    • This procedure worked like a charm.  I did however, use the no battery option submitted by Cranky Tenants which is a little easier.  Thanks for the submission.

    • This is an excellent solution. Nothing else worked for me. I was ready to take the circuit board into work and try to reprogram it through what appears to be a serial port (TX RX pins). Thank you for you detailed instructions.

    • I have to say that thhis is amazing. Speaker wire. 20 minutes and the above solution of shorting it to correct the error worked magic. I want to send you a gift…..paypal??

    • Wow, you are the man, I used old speaker wires, a double A and masking tape, I don’t have any clips, followed your instructions about five times, nothing happening, at one point I did touch the left pin with the positive and heard a click, after that the next three tries it all worked like you said. Thank you sooo much and my daughter thanks you, hot water is a must for her.  Tom

  12. David Boone-you are a godsend.
    i called whirlpool(1877-817-6750), they are sending me the valve free of charge, but its gonna take a couple days to get here. i followed your instructions and bingo! burners are on. thank you so much.

  13. I am getting NO Flash from the led light. Pilot light will come on but wont stay on after releasing the button.

  14. here’s what i did… take off the cover on the valve and disconnect the 3 wire connector. reattach the front cover with the wires still unplugged and light your pilot. you will get a 7 flash error. shut off the pilot and reconnect the 3 wire plug and but the cover back on. light the pilot and you still get the 7 flashes; however the water heater kicks back on and gets back up to temperature and shuts off as normal and you will see that your light now only flashes 1 time every 3 or 4 seconds. worked for me…

    • Charles,
      I followed your instructions to clear the fault and they worked fine. Can you let me know if your WH is still working? I am trying to get an idea of how reliable the soluton is. I did flush the system and I lowered the thermostat to between a and b. and it has been running fine for 2 days.

    • Unfortunately, Charles, your fix did not work for me. Maybe the situation was wrong, maybe I just didn’t hold my tongue the right way. I’m keeping your method in my hip pocket, though, because it is much simpler.

  15. I’ve been reading the above posts with great interest. The pilot on my waterheater went out over night. It lights easily, but won’t stay lit. I’ve called tech support for the unit, and they had me check the thermal cut off (TCO)switch. It did not need to be reset (zero resistance across the terminals). I checked the voltage from the thermopile: 750 millivolts with pilot light lit while holding in the button. But, the light on the control never starts flashing. Checked the wiring. Everything is good. I pay $30 for overnight shipping for a replacement unit. Installed it today. It, too, does not get any flashes after the pilot is lit. (Held the pilot open manually for 10 minutes. Still no flashes.) Tried removing the cover, unplugging 3 wire plug, and then lighting pilot again. Still no flashes. I can’t believe they sent me a dud. Any ideas?

    • If you are getting 750 millivolts at the RED and WHITE connections, then I would think it is a dud. There is a thermo-breaker in series with the thermopile attached to the plate opposite the sight window that may need to be reset or could be bad – just another thought.

    • What is the easiest way to mimic the thermopile 750 milli volt so I can get the brains working without the pilot on. How long does the pilot need to be held on for the thermopile to get to operational mode. Does the brains look at the voltage from thermopile to check for over heating or underheating?

  16. DB: Instructions are clear and hope to follow this to override the Honeywell piece of crap Gas Control Thermostat on my 2.5 year old 50gal tank. All, I called Whirlpool and they didn’t hesitate to send a replacement which I need overnight because of my work schedule, so the $30 is worth it. But get this… They now want owners to drain and flush their tanks every 6 months so calcium will not build up on the sensors! We have a drought in CA and losing 100 gallons (2 TANKS) of water every six months isn’t backbreaking, but it sure is a pain that should not be in the design. DO NOT RECOMMEND WHIRLPOOL HOT WATER HEATERS WITH HONEYWELL GAS CONTROL VALVES! DON’T BUY THEM. Let people know on FB and other places that these tanks are equipped with a flawed Gas Control Valve.

    • Normally, you just need to dump a gallon or two at the most to get the sentiment out of the bottom of the tank. It should not be necessary to completely empty the tank unless it is just full of sediment and you have never tried to flush it out before.
      Note that sometimes it can be hard to get the valve closed completely if this was the first time and you had never done it before in years of use. The note is just a comment – I know it really does not apply to your situation.
      Another comment – when I finally got a replacement from Amazon, the LED light was White in color, not RED as my last two. So far, this one has continued to work for a while – I can not tell yet if they have actually fixed them though. Time will tell.

      • The replacement valve I received also has a white sensor light instead of red, and it has a metal capped sensor instead of black plastic. I suspect it is modified by Honeywell to be less sensitive to the issue because of complaints. If I had just changed out the circuit boards on the old control valve I’d not have gained the better sensor. I suggest going all the way and getting rid of the old plastic sensor. When drained completely,the bottom held a white goo that had a slimy feel with crystals. I suspect it to be calcium and salts. It was very difficult to flush out and I ended removing it by use of a shop-vac and small hose modified to get through the valve hole. It took a while but I hope it is sufficient to extend the life of the valve. Never had this problem with old fashioned hot water heaters. Whirlpool did not improve their product going to this control valve thermostat.

  17. Well I’ve been hit by this same thing…

    Going to talk to Whirlpool and have them ship out the replacement. Going to try the “reset” steps pointed out earlier and see if that will get me by for a little while until the new one gets here.

    With the new unit, since it goes into the water tank itself, do you need to drain all the water from the tank before replacing it?

    Thanks everyone for all the useful info!

    • Yes. You need to drain the tank completely because the valve “sensor” is about one inch diameter probe that screws into the side of the tank from the back of the valve. While you have the old valve out, be sure to probe inside to see if you have gunk/sediment and/or crystals/salts. These things foul the sensor causing the 4 blink death light pattern. Be sure the tank is flushed as much as possible. Good luck, and be sure to write Whirlpool and tell them their tank design valve is a piece of crap. NEVER TO BE PURCHASED AGAIN.

  18. Thanks all and internet! I’m an Innkeeper with few local options for help or assistance and will be following some great advice here. Page bookmarked!

  19. I had the “four blink” Water too hot issue. This is the fourth time in 3 years the control has died. I decided to try the “How to un-fault a controller” instructions above by David Boone as a first resort since it is easy to do. It takes a T-15 screwdriver to remove the cover. My control has an additional wire plugged into the bottom of the controller (I’m not certain what it does). After removing the controller board and the wires, I had to reattach it to light the pilot light. Now, instead of the “4-blink” I had a seven blink. I set the temperature control to just below hot and the burner came on. The seven blink disappeared shortly after that. Now it is one-blinking again. Fixed? If I don’t update this entry, assume it is (for now).

    The previous water-heater was never flushed in its 20 year life (the tank started leaking). This tank was flushed six months ago to install the current control valve. This house is on city water with a water-softener – it shouldn’t need flushing very often.

  20. + One for DB’s repair procedure. After spending a day shopping for a replacement – nowhere to be found for same day repair, and after 2 freezing cold morning showers, I followed DB’s instructions and voila! Back in business again. I’ll call for the replacement to have on hand and keep the instructions. Thank you thank you! Right, my tank is just over 2 years old… the number of posts here, Honeywell would do well to consider a recall and redesign. For sure they’re going to have a lot of unhappy customers.

  21. Just to let everyone know, the above fix by DB works! Now, I urge CAUTION when performing this fix as, without a working pilot, you could accumulate an appreciable amount of gas and risk an explosion. Only the technically adept or handy should do attempt this. As he indicated, YOU DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

    Now, for the praise! An extremely tense situation with 2 women in the house, Monday morning (Wife and daughter) and no hot water was avoided by the above fix. I am deeply in the debt of David Boone and would offer to buy you lunch should we ever meet. Thanks!

  22. Obviously we’ve all had our issues with the apparently worthless Honeywell controller. I am now one of the afflicted and would not like to have to go through this every 18 months. Is there any non-Honeywell valve that we can use in place of the Edsel we have now?

  23. UPDATE: David Boone’s method worked great for me, exactly as described. It’s definitely a hassle rigging up the battery setup, but I cannot complain with the results. If this becomes a regular issue, I might solder a pigtail to each of the terminals and get a battery holder from Radio Shack with quick disconnect terminals.

    • I’ve also decided that, every year, I’m going to file a warranty claim on this piece of crap valve/circuit board setup. At least then I’ll have a stockpile when the water heater is out of warranty.

    • i was still under warranty so the valve was free less $30 overnight shipping. I was told to flush the water heater 2x’s a year with vinegar to remove sediment, which i did have ALOT..Thanks

  24. Had a 7 blinking light. Water heater runs both water AND heating in the home – 0 degrees in Denver right now! Called and set appointment. Could only see me in the evening…Reading about what you guys have done. Rebooted the pilot and set to just below HOT. Few minutes later, gave me the all clear…Thermostat requiring heat (No faults). Cheers very much, Tyler and y’all!!

  25. Regarding these Honeywell 9007884 Reliance 300 Series gas valves, the manual states that the HOT setting is 120F and the VAC (vacation) setting is 55F, but what temperature setpoint is the LOW setting? This does not seem to be documented anywhere. Also, is the setpoint continuously variable as the dial is turned, or are the labeled settings “stepped” and all there are? -thanks

    • I’m pretty sure the temp is infinitely adjustable, the marks are there as a reference.

    • I don’t know this for a fact but the low setting should be somewhere around 100ºF. I have another place with a Rheem Propane Tankless where the lowest normal setting is 100ºF. It is interesting to note that 106ºF is normally just about as hot as you can stand in the shower. The comfort range is very small. Setting this one at hot results in about 120ºF as noted elsewhere, which is hotter than one can stand for continuous exposure.

      • Thanks Randy. My tank is fed solar preheated water, and so far, that water has been warm enough that the main propane burner has never fired with the thermostat set to LOW, so I was just curious. The pilot light alone is keeping the solar water warm all night at about 120F. My installation uses a tempering valve to keep water to the home closer to 110F no matter what the solar temperature is (which can be up to ~140F in summers).

  26. Well my tank is 15 months old and it is giving the 4 flash death sign, called everywhere for parts, can only get from Whirlpool and 3 days later. Cold water for 3 days in winter. I will never by anything that has anything Honeywell on it again. I would like to get my hands on the jerk that designed that piece of sh___.

  27. About to enter the fray and attempt the 4-blink DIY fix solution.

    Second water heater we’ve put into this location in 3 years, due to bad Honeywell controllers. Wish this had been up 2 years ago, when the previous unit failed.

  28. This whole thread is very interesting. I bet between all of us we could design a much better water heater…

    Anyway, I bought that same heater (2″ insulation) only a couple years ago. A few days ago I noticed that the combustion was very loud, like the flame was pulsating or something (I didn’t know I had a pulsejet at home). Worse, when the burner would start (first draw of hot water in the morning), it would start with a bang, literally “boom”, and then go on its pulsing merry way.

    Called Whirlpool, got the run-around everyone else is getting, called a few plumbers who were all in the $150+/hour. While still contemplating my options, this morning the heater quit altogether.

    No flashing lights, no pilot light, nothing. Dead as a door knob.

    I dismantled the gas valve, measure the thermopile, and can’t even get a few millivolts (granted, the pilot light isn’t on, so maybe it’s normal).

    Any ideas? Should I bootstrap the thing by supplying my own voltage of 750mv and try David Boone’s most excellent fault reset procedure?

  29. Let me step in line with all of you. Thank you Tyler and all the responses. I am now an expert at gas valves. My warrantied part is being overnighted. $30 plus tax and I will roll up my sleeves and attempt to do this-I CAN DO THIS (I think) In the mean time I will be stinky at work and my hair will serve as grease for deep frying. Wish me luck tomorrow!

  30. I just duplicated the steps that Charles on 29 July, 2014 took. The results are nearly identical except that when I hooked up the external wires and the three wire plug on the circuit board and reassembled with the pilot on, the codes were different. After reassembly and firing up the pilot there was a “4” code and a “5” code. (With the three wire plug OFF and the pilot on I was getting a “7” code only.) I released the pilot knob and advanced the setting to HOT and the main burner came on….. Yay…. After just a couple of minutes the code changed to “1” and now I have hot water.

    It is interesting to note that the water remained lukewarm with just the pilot lit over the past several days. It was enough “hot” for a fairly comfortable shower actually. Many, many thanks for the previous posters comments that led to this fairly simple fix. Having been working with systems at this level for nearly all my life I will say it looks like the micro-code in the controller goes away and hides when it gets that dreaded “4” code. When that gets combined with another situation it can then escape the tight loop it appears to be in and in effect resets itself. Many thousands of these units replaced unneccessarily because of this coding error and the fact so few regularly do the tank flush. Lessons learned eh?

  31. Thanks for at least giving me some temporary hope (how to reset the white button) on my stubborn heater and for making me smile while you did it.

  32. Fix – Bypass with a 15k, 2 watt resistor, and no problem. I’m 67, and have somehow managed not to blow myself up without a FV sensor by not keeping flammable stuff by open flames, like water heaters and furnaces. Problem solved. Rheem, to their credit, is overnight shipping a new sensor to replace the bad one in the new Home Depot Rheem that I installed yesterday.

  33. I can’t think of how many brands of water heaters use the same honeywell gas valve. I have a state water heater (which are made by A.O. smith), the gas valve went bad so I had to replace it. Right after I was done and moved on to light the pilot, the damn thing started flashing 7 times, which means gas control valve failure, right out of the box !!!! I waited to see if the pilot would go off, but about 3 minutes later it started flashing normal, once every 3 seconds. I turned the knob to the on position and the burner kicked on. So far it’s been working fine. I called my father-in-law and told him about it, he is a plumber and replaces this kind of valves all the time but he said he has never seen one that flashes any codes other than normal right out of the box… Go figure!!!

  34. I too thought no big deal to turn my water heater up ONE NOTCH!!! Just one stinking notch! and now I got myself a huge repair issue, what the hell is wrong with kenmore and Honeywell to make a dial that allows you to raise the temp up to A,B,C AND VERY HOT and just by putting it up to “A” now I get 4 blinking lights and have to pay a repair technician to come give me a diagnostic! This was purchased in July 2013 and this is the first time I clicked it up a notch to get a warmer water temp and now it stops working! What a pile of JUNK!!! Something a major of an appliance like this can’t barely go a year without working. I will never buy anything from Kenmore or Honeywell! and I am spreading the word

    • i bought 2 water heaters for 2 rentals from homedepo with the honeywell (status poop valve), i have no idea how one hasn’t blown, (1) 1st. day installed it i had bad problems to lite, i called Co. they asked if a professional installed it, i told tech iv’e installed over 15 water heaters & never had this type of trouble, he kind of said that since im not a pro-with licence thats why its not lighting, i told him i didnt like this valve sytem & all 15 water with the old school red dial out lasted the 9 yr some worked till 12 years & why would i ever give $400 to install something i could do & i do know what I’m doing just that this system not working at all, i got it 3 years & I got one of the lucky ones, the (2nd one)was built 07/20/2015 i got a call Fri 29th,16 my tenant said water heater stopped working & i had showed him how tom lite it in case im not around & it turns off, he tried many times, depress 1 1/2, 2 min, 3 min & nothing, i got a chance to look into it & i had assumed E-Z fix 5 min ill have it & running, wrong spent hour doing everything instructions had, i asked my tennat at what temp he had it on, he said a lil past the letyter (A) when i installed it i had told him never pass (A) i remember a friend who owns several homes (7) & he told me many nitemare stories of the Honeywell Valve status lite (poop)he was dealing with 7 faulty valves had to pay hotel 3-5 days while they ship parts, even then the water heater co. diagnosed problem wrong, he said a couple times they told him it was the thermopile that was causing pilot lite not to stay on, he waited for part, ordered the Valve although it had warranty but it didn’t cover the wasted time, days & hotel for his tenants, but he some how found on his own that setting those types pass the letter (A) the water heater will over heat, that’s whats going on with me, i checked everything spark good, pilot lights well but doesn’t stay on & the status lite doesn’t come on at all, its like its dead, so i called Co. tech guy told me “oh that’s an E-Z one & no brainner” its your thermopile well let me tell my tenants 4 adults 3 teenagers of how E-Z they’ll have it for 4 days without hot water you certified (DA=dumb ass)i still didn’t feel good about that, i called my friend & my friend said i’ll bet you a $100 its going to be the thermo pile, call m back & have them send you new Valve & get on YouTube & sites to get help, these sites are extremely helpful, you save money, time, days waiting for part & most likely you’ll get wrong diagnosed, so I’m gearing up & ready to get hot water for my tenants, its a rotten dirty shame that so many people have gotten ripped off by honeywell & no law suits for intentionally selling they’re valves to the water heater makers they too are at fault, at least those of us that can tinker with things are able to FIY i feel for the people who have get a licence person to install, then several months later have the valve burn out, call Co. then pro to install wrong part, wait more days for correct one ? water heater $500-$800, pro lic installer $400 $30-$$60 shipping cost for Valve. Honeywell stinks & has caused lots of trouble for me. Thank you all for helping out the FIY

  35. I had a failing honeywell on my AOS smith water heater this morning. The dreaded 4 red flashes. Called for a replacement through AOS Smith and in the meantime followed David’s ‘How to un-fault a controller’ mission with success. At least it works again and I’ll have the replacement ready if it ever fails again. I did do a full drain and it was mostly small white particles which is probably from my water softener. No brown or other weird looking water.

  36. My Honeywell WV8860B1309 failed after 2 years. The water heater is a Kenmore and I called Sears but they only wanted to send out a service worker for $79 to diagnosis the water heater – although I explained numberous times that the water heater is OK… It is the controller that failed. They said they couldn’t do anything about that. They would have to diagnosis the water heater and then order the part, and then come back again to install at an additonal service price. I understand that the Honeywell product is in recall. But they knew nothing about that.
    All that Sears tried to do was sell me a warranty extension for $199. Plus the cost of the above repairs. Add Sears to Lowes of where not to buy a product.

  37. On 21 November, 2014 I performed the fix that “Charles” described on 29 July, 2014. My water heater is still working fine. I keep flushing the tank through a short piece of hose every week or so and the water out looks pretty clean now so I’ll only do it once every six months or so to keep it clean. Flushing the tank briefly seems to be a pre-requisite for this “fix”, so do that first….

    From this thread it is not true that the “4 flash fault” is fatal. There have been several of us who have successfully brought this Honeywell water heater controller back to life. I even suspect there is a simpler method to do it than the one I’ll now detail. I think you could reset the controller by taking off the two leads to the thermocouple and short the two connecter tabs on the bottom right of the controller together for a couple of minutes. This would do the same as pulling the connector off the board and relighting the pilot momentarily. But—- I haven’t tried it so go with this method.

    Let me reiterate the steps Charles and I did so it will be on the end of the thread and readily visible.

    Take the front cover off. Pull the three wire connector off the circuit board by pulling it straight out. Put the cover back on temporarily with the connector still disconnected. Light the pilot. Note the LED flash sequence. Should be some code or combination of codes, possibly including a “7”. Shut off the pilot, remove the cover and reconnect the three wire connector to the circuit board. Reinstall the cover. Light the pilot as before. Note the code flashes from the LED which indicates the pilot is lit. Move the control to “Hot” and the Water Heater main burner should come on. After a minute or so the flashes should change to just one flash every three seconds or so.

    Jolie, even you can do this. Takes one screw driver to unscrew the one screw on the bottom of the controller. The single wire to the rectangular connector just on the left bottom side is the lead to the pilot ignitor so if that’s taken off, please remember to re-attach it. The two wires to the controller on the bottom right are the two leads to the thermocouple which provides power to the controller and also senses when the pilot is lit. Those two must also be connected which ever method is selected to correct the problem.

    • Randy- you da man. I tried this simple solution you provided and it worked awesome. Thanks so much.

  38. By the way, while searching for more information when this first came up for me, I found one website which had these controllers for sale for $99.00. Most others had it for from $200.00. This is if the controller just will not cooperate.

    One other thing I could mention and that is there is likely more to this story than what is apparent. Some of us had moved the controller dial through it’s full range and subsequently the controller failed with the “4” code. I know I did this while trying to figure out why no hot water. So I’m thinking that a dirty or intermittent pot could momentarily go open and the controller could see that as a “fatal” error which could not usually be recovered from. If that is true then there could be a case where the manufacturer has just been a little too cute in their programming.

    In any event, my thanks to all of you who suggested steps to take in this matter. Much obliged.

  39. I have the 50 gallon model of the Whirlpool water heater from Lowe’s that has the Honeywell controller on a Bradford White valve. My model doesn’t have a pilot that is lit and stays on all of the time, but rather an electronic ignitor. It does have all of the same issues and the dreaded “4 flashes of death”.
    Mine quit working last Wednesday (Christmas Eve), with a house full of company. I was getting the 8-3 flashing code which said to replace the Gas Control Valve. So I called and paid the $30 to get a new one delivered the day after Christmas. I replaced it in a couple of hours and we were back in business. Well, a couple of hours ago, (New Years Eve), my wife ended up in a cold bath again, so I went down and checked and this time it was the 4 flash code. I got right on the phone to service again and the first person said they would send out another Gas Control Valve, this time no charge for the shipping. She then told me that she would have to transfer me to someone else to finish up because my unit has the power exhaust flap and that was a different group. The next guy I talked to was very surprised that the Valve would be bad again so quickly so he had me go through a reset procedure. This is what he had me do:
    1. Slide the power switch off.
    2. Turn the temp knob down to VAC (lowest setting for vacation)
    3. Unplug the power cord for 20 seconds
    4. Plug the cord back in
    5. Slide the power switch on
    6. Turn the temp knob all the way to High, down to VAC, up to High, down to VAC and then to HOT
    At this point the flashing light went to the “Heartbeat” flash (call for heat), the exhaust flap opened and the ignitor lit the burner.

    I reset the temp to my standard setting and it heated up fine. I just ran enough hot water out to get it to call for heat again and it lit fine on it’s own. Apparently cutting the power and going through the high-low setting twice is a reset procedure.
    I hope this helps others!

    • Well the “throw away ” attitude has caught up with water heaters. I will miss 7 -10 years of worry free
      hot water until the water heater rusts out, explodes, leaks or just plain gives out and you just get another one. I’ve had my Rheem 7 months . We had a power outage and the codes are switching from the 4 beat to the 7 beat to the heartbeat . I’ve tried everything trying to reset it , although it seems the flame is on . I will
      contact customer service and see ……. To be continued

    • rdamitall

      I do not think you have the same honeywell control that this website is discussing, there is no power switch or power cord. Glad you got it back going.

  40. I, too, experienced the dreaded 4-flash-of-death failure after about 8 months of use, was given the replacement valve, did the complete flush of the tank only to discover no sediment issues and, as with most of the rest of you, received a valve with a different color indicator light.

    Some points to consider: 1. The valve location is high enough on the tank that sediment likely won’t interfere with its temperature sensing ability; 2. Sediment in the bottom of a tank reduces efficient heat transfer from the heat source (gas or electric) to the water by putting a layer of less conductive minerals between the two. That SHOULD simply cause the heat source to have to stay on longer to heat water, not get the water too hot; 3. Mineral buildup on the valve’s temp tensor cap – the metal part that sticks into the tank – could cause the high limit situation by delaying the rate at which true water temperature reaches the thermal sensor. Basically, the minerals heat less efficiently than the water, so the water has to get hotter than necessary. It’s not the likely culprit, but possible. My replacement valve had the same stainless steel cap as the old one, so will likely develop the same scaling. Maybe it should be Teflon coated if that interaction is suspect?; 4. Since waaaay too many folks have experienced this failure, and since it seems to be “electronics” related, and since Honeywell is sending out replacements willy nilly and asking for return of the defective valves, I suggest that the true culprit may be that some bonehead just programmed the software at too low a “critical” temperature. Maybe a result of their desire to protect themselves against scald claims and the programmer’s misunderstanding of high hot might have to be to deliver hot at a faucet that is 75 feet from the tank and serviced by uninsulated lines? I my case, I need to deliver about 130 degrees to get a high enough temp at my faucets. That’s just over the “Hot” setting on their valve.

    If people’s replacement valves with the white indicator lights don’t fail about the same rate as the old ones, maybe Honeywell has resolved the issue. If they do fail, at least now, thanks to all your advice, I’ll at least have a workaround to use while I fight with them for another replacement. I’ll let you know in a year!

  41. my brand new kenmore water heater has a weird smell coming from it, its not really a gas smell ,at least I don’t think it is ,anyways my question is.. Is it supposed to smell the first few days or should I b worried?

  42. Worked for me waiting to see if burner shuts off
    Thanks, wife thinks I am a genious.
    But we know different

  43. Sounds like a lot of us are having the some problem:
    The same issues and the dreaded “4 flashes of death”. My Honeywell WV8860B1309 failed after 2 years. The water heater is a Kenmore and I called Sears but they only wanted to send out a service worker for $79/$90 to diagnosis the water heater – although I explained numberous times that the water heater is OK… It is the controller that failed. They said they couldn’t do anything about that. They would have to diagnosis the water heater and then order the part, and then come back again to install at an additonal service price. I understand that the Honeywell product is in recall. But they knew nothing about that.
    All that Sears tried to do was sell me a warranty extension for $199. Plus the cost of the above repairs. Add Sears to Lowes of where not to buy a product.here’s

    what i did… take off the cover on the valve and disconnect the 3 wire connector. reattach the front cover with the wires still unplugged and light your pilot. you will get a 7 flash error. shut off the pilot and reconnect the 3 wire plug and but the cover back on. light the pilot and you still get the 7 flashes; however the water heater kicks back on and gets back up to temperature and shuts off as normal and you will see that your light now only flashes 1 time every 3 or 4 seconds. worked for me…

    Thanks to the post comments I read.

    • To RaulDLC’s 3/25/2015 post:
      I followed the last paragraph instructions (“what i did… take off the cover….”) and everything seems to be in working order again with one caveat: when I reattached the front cover with the 3-wire connector unplugged and lit the pilot, I got a 5-flash error (indicating that there was a sensor failure) rather than the 7-flash error. I followed the the rest of the instructions and got my 1-flash Normal Operation going and the heater is working properly now.

      My background issue: The heater would simply stop working every once in a while, with no lights flashing whatsoever. On all of the occasions that this happened I was able to reignite the pilot and get the heater going again simply by turning the valve controller to “off,” waiting ten to fifteen minutes, and then re-lighting the pilot following normal instructions.

      This last time, that did not work which led me to this posting and Raul’s simple fix. I’m going to take everyone else’s lead and call for a replacement valve.

  44. Land lord got a hot water heater last week because my old one was leaking. On Thursday plubmer came over to install the worthless Whirlpool 40 gallon piece of junk water heater. It refused to even start. The thermal switch on the hot water heater was broken. I have not had hot water since Thursday night. Why won’t the cops shut Whirlpool down?

  45. I have a white LED and my code of 4 flashing lights won’t reset. I tried several times, and flushed the tank. Should I replace the Temperature sensor? This piece of junk is only 13 months old.

  46. I have the same set up as rdarnitall on 31 December 2014 at 7:28 pm and I just wanted to say thanks for that reset procedure, it worked for me. I really did not want to mess with wires inside so extremely glad this works for this controller. Thank again.

  47. Thanks for the above suggestions. Maybe I can avoid the $120 labor charge the next time it breaks. My story–After two years my Honeywell WV8860B1310 gas control valve failed. Honewell sent a new one for free, excl Fed ex cost of $35. For two years I would drain out 5 gallons of water every two months to remove sediment. When the first unit failed, I drained out most of the water, sediment appeared minimal. I had the unit replaced. Two months later I drained out about 5-8 gallons, saw minimal sediment. At just 3 months old the second unit failed! Honeywell said it is my fault because I failed to drain the sediment. Hogwash!! This unit is a P.O.S.! Honeywell covered the replacement unit cost including shipping. Of course I am out $120 (twice!) for labor. My plumber advised he has been seeing A LOT of these units fail. He said do not put the setting any higher than the HOT setting. Even though there are 4 higher settings! I have NEVER had a thermostat unit fail in 35 years of owning houses. Now I have two fail in 27 months. DO NOT BUY THIS THERMOSTAT! This seems like a part that needs to be recalled and a Class Action Lawsuit filed.

  48. I have a red knob with green LED, and white cover. Model U1######## water heater natural gas, 30 gallon. Last year the Pilot light kept going out by itself. After days re-seating all the wires I found that cleaning the lint out of the cage where the main gas flex tube enters an air tunnel leading to the main burner about 6 inches below the white cover fixed it.

    Then This year the pilot went out and I tried to re-light by pressing the red knob pointed at “PILOT” and pressing the square igniter button. After the pilot heats the thermopile, and the LED blinks, I released the Red knob but the pilot would not stay on. I dis-assembled the cover and the circuit board, then tested the actual gas valve by itself using a AA battery and jumper wires (mentioned elsewhere above earlier) ( negative (-) to the bottom of V and positive to left upper pin of V. So I got no click (but supposed to get a click).
    The next steps may void the warranty, and Now DISCLAIMER: Do not try this at home:
    Days Later after reading further I turned the main gas off, and removed the gas valve and the Torx security screws ( that have a pin to prevent regular Torx from entering the screw head). There is also a White or clear silicone rubber gasket that is entangled with pins and solenoid wires. The two upper pins of V push out of the cover and have doughnut shaped gaskets to seal gases. The pins have very thin (about 28-30 gauge) wires that are going to electromagnetic solenoid that has a metal armature that covers a hole. That is the valve mechanism. And so the very thin wires (at point where wire became tinned or soldered) became brittle and had broken. The wires for the main burner valve solenoid had not broken.
    So thanks to commenters earlier, before, and above.
    So I would recommend to you ( with Valve off the water heater and no gas applied, to test the pilot valve (left pin to (+))with the AA battery, and test the main valve (Right pin to (-)), and each individually should click.

  49. This Honeywell gas control has been intermittent every few months, but i was always able to restart until this week. Only 18 month old water heater and I too had the four flashes of death, with working pilot light. After reading most of this string I found a small piece of wire between the pilot light pin and main valve pin after pilot light was on did clear the code after relighting the pilot again to flashing 7 which normalized to one flash shortly after. I do believe I will call for my warranty replacement anyway as it is likely needed.

  50. Removal of the 3 pin wire to the control board and pilot restart did Not work for me with the Honeywell White Light Gas Valve. The original red light gas valve broke after 2 years. They charged me $30 to ship a new white light control valve and i installed it. This one broke after less that 1 year. Tried the reset a bunch of times but could not get it to stop the 4 flashes. This time they are sending me a new gas valve for free overnight. Will most likely do the control board swap.

    Would appreciate any info on fixing the WHITE Light Gas valve. Thanks E

  51. Update : Tried all the reset methods and none worked for me for the white light control valve. Was sent a new one with a bad (stuck) push button sparker. I replaced the bad push button with the old one and did the Franken valve face switch. All working fine now. I did call Whirlpool and told them that the new valve they sent was broken and they did send another replacement free overnight. Will keep this for next year when it breaks again. Thanks for creating this site!

  52. Wow, amazing! The combo of using the battery trick as well as just running wires from the posts rather than unscrewing the module worked perfectly. Fixed it last night and still have hot water this morning. Big thanks from MN!


  53. My house is going into escrow and it worked on my red light control board and saved me from buying a new control board or WH! I didn’t use a battery and just jumped upper left and upper right pegs. Got a 7 blink code which cleared to a 1 blink normal code after a few minutes.  Awesome! Thanks guys!!!

  54. Thanks to everyone that posted with this problem.  I got the dreaded 4 blink on a 3 year old water heater that had to have the control module replaced after the first year.  Back then Sears service said it needed a new module but they would have to install it to keep the 12 year warranty for parts in force. Of course I would have to pay for service.  I told them BS, that I was going to install it myself.  After a lot of back and forth they sent me the module which was a breeze to install.  Now the replacement goes on the fritz.  So, again Sears says they need to send a repair guy out.  I said BS, send me a new module.  They said it needs to be assessed by a factory authorized repairman.  For $75 they’ll come out to asses.  I pay for labor and after much debate they agreed to pay for parts.  Like they’re doing me a favor even though I reminded them that it has a 12 year warranty on parts.  They could not find that in their records.  What a cluster outfit.  So, I set out to see if I could do a reset of some sort by scouring the internet.  Thank goodness I found this site.  I tried a few things and finally did a pilot light start up with everything attached, took the front cover of the module off with the lights blinking X4, the pilot went out and the blinking stopped.  I shorted the 2 pins on top of the module base for maybe 30 seconds.  I put the cover back on and the light flashed 7 times as I put the heat dial to “hot”.  The light started the “all is good” single blink and the furnace fired up.  I got my first shower in after 2 days.  I did read here that a service man said to not go above “hot” setting.  I have always had it at one above on “A”.  I don’t know if this will last or not but it got us a reprieve as we’re hosting my daughters wedding shower in 2 days.  Hot water is a good thing!!  Thanks again to all….

  55. And everybody wonders why plumbers charge what they do. Remember these guys deal with this everyday. Their knowledge and expertise has a value.

  56. After reading all these comments I thought I would give it a shot. Let the pilot without the chip wires plugged in then turned it off. Then plugged them in and lit pilot. Went from four blinks to seven. Then once it started running went to one blink. Thank you all for your help.

  57. My 83 year old dads water heater went out. the read Honeywell pilot button lights the pilot, only as long as you hold it in, when I let the button go, the flame goes out. I replaced the Assy Unit thermocouple with the pilot light…NOW it flashes 7 times with 3 second pause. Bear with me guys, 🙂 but I’ve been whacked in the mellon for over 16 years, and am blessed that I can actually type, and am a little bit mechanically inclined…a little. I was reading how you guys help one another and just thought AWESOME! I’d rather spend money at some local cage, or boxing matches here in So. Cal. then buying parts, or paying for those appreciated plumbers…All help, is appreciated! Ernie

  58. After less than 4 yrs of having the Whirlpool water heater, I got 4 flashes. Regardless what I tried, it was still 4 flashes. I called Whirlpool customer service, got the replacement valve for $30 cost of the shipment. Got it the next day, installed it. When I screw the gas adapter, just half way in the screw, the housing cracked. I called Whirlpool again, they agreed to ship a new replacement for $30 shipment again! I didn’t mind to pay for the shipping cost, but, what I minded was the device was poorly made. Quality was very bad.

    It is sad to see big companies are not really care about the quality and safety of the consumers. We are dealing with possible gas leak & explosion here guys!


  59. Hi I have a Honeywell gas valve and the pilot button popped off. I was wondering if anyone knew if this part is replaceable? Thanks in advance. I tried to call Honeywell just to ask and they won’t give me any info because I didn’t have the model number on me. I guess I will try tomorrow but I would appreciate any help anyone can offer me.

  60. So this is the only site I could find regarding this stupid gas valve!!!

    Of Course I am here because I got a call from my mother in-law that they had no hot water on the their brand new Water Heater. The thing is less then a week old!!

    I am calling the plumber who installed it.

    Is there a replacement gas valve that people have had success with? Maybe a model or serial number?



  61. My problem may

    be similar to what’s being discussed here, except my Whirlpool has electronic ignition and a flue damper that opens and closes. When it calls for heat the damper opens and the pilot ignites but the main burner will not activate. Whirlpool send me a new igniter/flame sensor and it does the same thing. I cleaned burner and vents as well. They don’t want to send any more parts until I pay someone to come look at it. I hear a click when the pilot tube opens but no 2nd click for the main tube. Can a control valve partially fail like this? The pilot (the flame is definitely more than a pilot) does stay on and slowly heats and with the therm set pretty low it will eventually satisfy demand and shut off, and repeat next time it needs heat.

  62. Forgot to add one more important bit of information…I do not have any error codes, the red light blinks for standby mode and shows a heartbeat while the pilot light is on and continues despite the burner failing to ignite.

  63. Thank you , thank you, thank you all in particular thank you David Boone.    For anyone who encounters valve control failure, as long as the problem relates to this particular Honeywell valve controller model (mine was model NU50T61-403),  I suggest to go straight to David Boone’s instruction in this thread for resetting the fault.   Don’t take this for granted,  make sure you do your part of manufacturer’s suggested periodic maintenance such as tank drainage, Anode rod inspection, etc… to prevent future faults.

  64. Thanks to this thread and bigger thanks to David Boone and the follow on info from CrankyTenants, after 10+ days without hot water and zero expense my water heater is now performing as intended again. Before I go on I want to point out that patience is a requirement in this repair, as it may take more than a couple of tries with these methods before results occur.  So don’t give up, it does work and I’m guessing that these methods will work on 100% of the failed controllers if you follow the steps to a “T” with the knowledge that you may have to do it more than one or two times before it “takes” and clears the fault code.

    “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…”

    I was successful in clearing the fault code from my Honeywell WV8840B1109 Supply Valve Controller simply by utilizing the single jumper wire method as described in the post from CrankyTenants.  Interestingly though, I tried this method two times and each time it didn’t appear to have worked as I continued to receive a 4 flash fault code.  After reading through everything in both Cranky and DB’s posts a couple more times, finding a 9v battery and making a second jumper wire to try the battery procedure described in DB’s post, I went back to the unit, turned the gas supply back on and re-lit the pilot, when BINGO! as the faint click was heard and the flashing light reappeared, it was now only blinking once!  I nervously turned the controller dial to the 9 o’clock position, the burner burst to life, and today I have hot water again.  Its funny how a grown man can get so excited in satisfaction from getting this $%&)%^ing thing working again…if anyone would have seen me they may have thought I just won the lottery with all the fist pumping and rants of “YES!!” coming from me!

    An honorable mention here needs to go to Bob Robeson, who posted here as well, but it was his original post I found on waterheatertimer.org that set me onto a pathway of searching for another option after I was thoroughly disgusted with Sears/Kenmore Service, which would be more accurately described as Sales based on their approach to my concern.  My contacts with them left me in complete distrust, with the feeling that their solution failed to provide any real value, and my belief that while they may get my water heater working again, I’d be left lighter in the wallet after being taken for an unpleasant ride that I could have (and did!) taken care of on my own…

  65. Brilliant!!!  After spending 51 minutes with Sears customer non-service the problem was resolved within 20 minutes following David’s instructions.  Genius.

    As for Kenmore and Sears… they would send a replacement part our for $185.00 and 2-5 days delivery or since the part is under warranty I could pay $79.00 and wait for a service appointment, then wait for the replacement part to be shipped for me to install.  Give me a break.  Either solution is unacceptable.

    Looking for a new appliance retailer who values its’ customers.


  66. We have a Whirlpool from Lowe’s. NEVER AGAIN! I have dealt with the dreaded 4 blinks three times. in about 3 years. The first time they sent us a new valve for free and my husband installed it. The next two times we dealt with it in in a very non-technical way. I turn the switch to off. I let the water sit until the water in it is no longer hot–the last shower usually takes care of that. When I turn the dail on I IMMEDIATELY turn the dial all the way up to the highest setting and back to the lowest repeatedly–I did it 7 times in quick succession. I then end up on the “Low” setting. The water heater turns on and hubby and I live happily ever after.

  67. The methods that describe jumping the “top left and top right” .. what exactly are we talking about here? On the board? Mine is the 1109 and has no posts. Top left is a small dot and top right is a post. Could someone make a diagram or snap a pic and circle what posts to jumper?

  68. I had to do it again so I’ll detail what seems to have worked form me.

    1: Remove the cover (it just snaps on & off with out tools on mine)

    2: Unplug the three wire connector on the top-back of the circuit-board (no need to remove it from the cover so no tools required)

    3: Snap the cover back onto the heater (so you can light the pilot-light).

    4:Follow directions to lite the pilot-light.

    5: Wait for the status light to start to blink (Mine alternated between 4 blinks and 5 blinks).

    6: Remove the cover and re-install the 3-wire plug (it will only fit one way)

    7:Snap the cover back on and light the pilot light again.

    8: Once the status is blinking, set the temperature to desired level.  At this point mine lit the main burner and blinked 7 a few times then blinked 1 – 1 – 1 – 1.

    If no updates – this worked for me. Do this at your own risk, your mileage may vary.


  69. I had issues let the unit sit and drain. I took the battery idea and did a minor mod.

    I put a speaker wire on the positive  then put the board and on the water heater. did the light and turn the unit to hot and touched the other end of the speaker wire to the right upper of the V it fired up and reset. the gas did shut off but it was drained for a vinegar cleaning.



  70. There is also a little white switch in the middle with wires attached on each side of the thermocoupler that is a reset button. Push for 5 seconds then light fixed mine. Yeah!!!!

  71. So is there now way to reset the white light model?

    Well, I am having issues again and think I may have just screwed myself…

    Last year I had the blinks. Did the reset and got a replacement valve on the way. Since the old value was working again I just left it in there. It has lasted about a year then gave the 4 blink code again. I reset it and it worked again for a few days. Then I came down later when I felt the barely warm water. No lights at all this time… I couldn’t even get it to do any lights when trying to light the pilot light.

    Troubleshooting (just to make sure it wasn’t the thermal switch or something) I took the board only out of the new valve they sent and put it on there. Lit right up. Switched back to the old board and still couldn’t get it to work. I’m assuming that the old board just completely died…

    Since the new board (white light) worked, I slapped it on there and fired it up so we could have water for showers for work, etc. My plan was to fix it Saturday and replace the entire unit with the new one.

    Tonight I came home to the 4 blink code again… No problem – I’ll just reset it one more time to get us through showers tonight and replace it tomorrow.

    But, I didn’t know that the new board (white light) had been ‘fixed’ so it seemingly can’t be reset… So I think I just screwed myself trying to cut corners and buy a few extra days…

    So I’m going to drain the tank and replace the valve tomorrow as planned and call them and see how soon they can get me yet another unit.

    But I just wanted to confirm – is there no way to reset the 4 blink code for a newer, white light, unit?

  72. Pingback: Home Tips: How Do I Remove A Stubborn Element From A Water Heater?. Remove, Element, Stubborn. ~ diy-home-tips.vwx.info

  73. my light is not blinking the pilot will light but the burner won’t come on so i called whirlpool; and they said i had on warranty as  we had stated on the warranty that we put it in the bathroom the heater is just now 3 years old,,, so i told her that it was not in the bathroom it was outside and that it had been installed in a shed that got storm damaged so we had to remove the shed and that my husband being 70 had had some medical issues and he had not been able to get the new shed over it but that had put a small cover around it but that wasn’t real worried about the warranty i just want to fix it. they refused to sell me a new control///

    i will not buy a whirlpool; any thing again////////////

    • I have a 2 yr old whirlpool 30 gal gas model with the Honeywell valve unit. I came home from a 10hr workday Wednesday to a cold shower!  When I checked  the water heater the status light was not blinking at all.  On relighting, I got the dreaded 4 blinks. After a lot of Internet searching (and some unsuccessful attempts at repairing) I finally came upon this site after another 10hr work day Thursday night! I tried to jump the posts a few times (Using twist tie wire, no battery) but kept getting the 4 blinks. I finally decided I would remove the burner unit & give it a thorough cleaning (blow, brush & vacuum the screen) in the morning. Even though it did not appear excessively dirty or clogged there was some soot present on top of the screen and a small amount of dust under the burner (& one dead ladybug). Apparently that is the key…keep it clean!!!  After re-installing the burner and reattaching all the wires, it started up with the 7 blinks & eventually went to normal 1 blink. I will be calling the Whirlpool number to see if I can get a replacement valve unit before this one goes out for good!

      Thank you so much Tyler for this website & Dan for the awesome reset solution & others who contributed their variations of that!  Looks like you guys have saved a lot of people a lot of $$!

      BTW To those who are confused about the posts…they are not on the circuit board or between the board & cover. The posts are located on the valve unit that remains attached to the heater after you remove the cover. They are the 3 thin metal posts that stick out beyond everything else in an upside down triangular V pattern. I just wrapped a twist tie around the 2 posts on the right & replaced the cover to restart the pilot then removed it when all was well & done.

      Feeling clean & grateful for hot water!  🙂


  74. This one honeywell water heater thermostat is completely a lemon..

    OK just replace with newer updated green computer board without the sensor.. New ones don’t have Sensor clip or wire. Get it from e-bay, just look at picture to make sure it only has red & white wires to the right and  NO wire to left side under COM..


  75. Got the same 4 blinking lights Saturday . Read all these posts Sunday and tried the unplugging of the board then relighting pilot. Didn’t work first time but tried it again and let board set for 10 minutes unplugged before relighting pilot. Got 7 blinking lights burner came on and back to 1 blinking light. Still working so far. Wife called whirlpool Monday. My heater approximately 3 years old. Lady on phone said they weren’t aware of any “problems” but our heater still under warranty and would send us a new valve. Said any time they shipped something it would be 10, 20, or 30 dollar charge. Wife took the 10 dollar shipping. Wednesday morning early looked on porch for another package I was expecting and found the new control valve. Had to have come Tuesday. Next day shipping for 10 bucks? Think I’ll leave my old one on till it goes out again then replace with new one. Thanks a lot guys for these posts. Only 1 day without hot water thanks to you. Also, if a capacitor is all that is stopping the board from resetting it can be discharged by placing 1 leg to ground. Do this at work sometimes before shipping a job we tested with a charged capacitor. Thanks again.

  76. Thanks alot guys got mine up and running as well after taking the electronic crap out. The question now is for how long? Does anybody know of an other brand that could replace this crap of a unit? It is obvious that they are making a killing on money selling this to just about every water heater brand out there.

  77. Pingback: Home Projects: Is It A Problem That I Have Two Of Each Color Wires On My Honeywell Thermostat?. ~ diy-home-projects.vwx.info

  78. Pingback: Home Projects: How Do I Remove This Exterior Water Valve Cap?. ~ diy-home-projects.vwx.info

  79. Yes my 20 month old envirotemp gas water (purchased from lowes) heater quit and is displaying 4 flashes of death . Called the company  and basically was told yes we can send a new thermostat/gas control valve for $185.00 + tax +shipping and it may not solve the problem Have a nice day and go for yourself …..what bs . I did the jumper wire and at least heated enough water for my wife and I to shower .what to replace it with ???  when I drained it I observed no sediment !

  80. The CrankyTenants worked for me. Had to do it twice for it to reset.  Thanks for the site…..

  81. Guys, this is a great post Thanks I FIXED IT but, make it EASY FOR DUMMIES after spending hours reading this I FOUND the EASIEST WAY to fix the 4 blink issue Just lit the pilot take out the plastic cover with the pilot on, do not disconnect any cords, use a “flat-bladed screwdriver.” just short (touch) the top 2 left pins( there is a set of 4 pins together use the 2 on the left) and the led light will go off and the pilot will shut off too, put the plastic cover back to the unit and DONE!! Just lit the pilot again and set the temperature!! ENJOY    

  82. After turning the heater off and shutting off the gas to the unit.  I now have no indicator lights at all and when I try to relight the pilot it does not appear that the gas valve is opening for pilot flow at all.

    I don’t seem to see a little white reset button. Where is it located exactly?

    New valve on the way from Whirlpool.  Is replacing just the inner board still a valid option? Other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.

  83. Mine got here today, won’t be changing it. I pulled the cover yesterday , left every thing hooked up. Took a wire and touched the two pins where the thermo plugs in. I touched the two top ones. Working fine. If I had found this earlier I would have saved the next day shipping and done the $10 one. This is the second time mine has gone out in 27 months.

  84. I have gone through several failures with this type of water heater (with the Hon. controller). First, do NOT buy any water heater with this type of controller (you can zoom in on the ad pic. and see what the thermostat looks like).

    Next, there are at least two variations of this unit. One has a red mode indicator (the older one) and a white one. The red one, I found, CAN be reset using above methods. I found the most reliable one is to install the parts without the cover and short the top two pins that go to the pilot light (left) and the main burner (right) and running it for a while. Error clears.

    Now the white one does NOT clear, in my experience, by the posted “this will clear the 4-blips of death error.” I am digging out the old board I have positioned for disposal.

    Folks, here is the problem with this controller design. If one uses a slow supply of hot water (like rinsing a lot of dishes), then the heater stays on making VERY hot water until it triggers a non-resetable error. Intelligent designers would program a fault reset capability after the water temperature drops to a safe point, like say 170 degrees. Instead, the tank becomes unusable. Far out.

    A good business would be to offer a replacement board that has been restored for use to customers blessed with this hunk of junk!

    Lastly, be VERY careful when ordering your replacement unit, in that one has a square COM plug with four pin slots. The later version has a board-edge trace for accepting another type of slip-on connector. They are not interchangeable.

    • oops – I pressed the wrong key: not 170, but 70 degrees. Also, the white light version has NO COM connector.

  85. Hi guys!

    Franken valve worked!  Got the ominous 4 flash a couple days ago after turning heat up too high.  Probably had sediment on bottom and overworked it.  Called phone number on the tank and they overnighted a new valve.  Had to pay 30.00 shipping.  Emptied tank and there wasn’t much sediment.

    Tried disconnecting the old board for an hour.  No luck.  Still four flashes.  Wish I’d read deeper in the thread to try jumping the valve with wire.

    Removed the old cover and board and replaced it with the new one.  Important to note, new wires were different colors!  BUT, the adapter for the wire harness only goes into the new board one way.  I was afraid of cooking the old board.  Any way, the pilot fired up rather quickly and flashed one time every three seconds!  This option is great because it saves you a lot of plumbing and headaches replacing the old valve.

    I too will never buy another hot water heater with a Honeywell valve!  As a side note, the light on the new valve is white.

    As info only for the less mechanical people out there, if you lay down on your back and look through the sight glass window, it makes lighting your pilot very easy.

  86. Ok my turn…

    Like everyone else here I HAD the same issue yesterday.  Here is what I did with pictures to solve this issue.

    1.  Light the pilot light as normal.  4 Blinks will still happen.

    2.  Using a flat tip screwdriver remove the bottom screw that holds the housing on.  Picture: here

    3.  Use a flat tip screwdriver and remove the housing by putting the blade into the two top tabs and depressing slightly.  Gently wiggle out the housing.  Picture: here

    4.  This is a picture of what it looks like with all the wires attached and the actual valve pins in the “V” formation (on the right side of the picture).  Picture: here

    5. Taking your screwdriver and hold it against the upper right pin and the lower pin for about 3 seconds.  The led light will go off and the pilot will shut off as well.

    6. Put the cover back on and relight the pilot and set your heat temperature.  The unit will go to 7 blinks initially, but the burners will kick on and after a bit will revert to 1 blink every few seconds (normal operation).


    Just for reference THIS picture shows the wire that attaches to the control board.  With my method you do not need to remove it, but sometimes it’s hard to visualize what everyone is talking about if you have never seen it before.

    Tyler, I will be buying a copy of your book to show support for you hosting this thread and helping to save people a LOT of $$

    • Oh and THIS is what it looks like in the little window when your BURNERS are running (water heater is heating).  When the pilot is lit, it will only glow blue, and not look this intense.

    • i did just what you described and my water heater is finally on. thanks for all the details you put in it.

  87. Lore leaf, Great post! Wish I’d had it before I Paid the 30.00 shipping for the new board. Oh well, hope your post saves people a lot of time and frustration.

  88. Okay….   I have a newer version.  Heater is only 7 months old.  WV4262E1107 it has a much larger board and connects a bit different.  any help????

  89. Thank you Tyler for starting this thread. Thank you David Boone for your excellent instructions in your, “How to un-fault a controller” post. I used your method with Crankytenants jumper wire modification; thanks to crankytenants, as well. I tried letting the circuit board sit, unplugged, for an hour and a half but that did not clear the four flash code. Whirlpool owners are fortunate that the company is sending them replacement valves. Sears is charging $181.64. Although the part is covered under warranty, they will not just send a replacement. They require that a service technician come to check it out out first for a charge of $95.00. That visit it’s no guarantee that they will give you a new valve. They may just reset it, then charge again for the next time it needs resetting.

  90. Thanks for sharing this info!

    I have 2 bad Gas valves that i tried this on. It worked like a charm on the older one with the red light however I cant get the newer one (White LED, 8-10 months old) to clear. It will stay on once i jump the top left and right pins but it wont clear the code.

    Any suggestions?


  91. Got up this morning,  no hot water.

    I’ve been reading through all this information, but other than learning the honeywell unit is a POS, I haven’t figured out my problem.  I have no status light.  Tried taking the cover off, unplugging connectors, pushing the pilot button with the connector plugged in, not plugged in, still got nothing.  Suggestions?   One big question.  What powers the light?  is there a small battery? any help would be welcome.  Thanks

    • The light and the whole board is powered by a Thermo-electric generator powered by the pilot light.

      It only puts out about 0.5 volts, but it is enough energy to operate everything.


    • The two wires (red/white) pluged to the honeywell box front rightside, power the box, make sure the wires are not loose, refer to diagram, mine were loose had to reattach  with tiny plyers.

  92. Thx loreleaf for the post and pics.  Wish you had shown a pic of the screwdriver touching the 2 posts.  Some people said touching the 2 top posts and you said top right and bottom one.  I had put a piece of wire between the 2 top ones, not sure if it did anything.  After trying multiple things mentioned here I finally unplugged the wires to the board only, tried to ignite then left it for a while and then plugged it in and it lit!  Now WH is working fine.  Mine is 3 1/2 years old.  Hope this doesn’t keep happening.  I did follow the advise of flushing the tank.  I saw some white crystals come out but not that bad.  In the meantime I figured the shutoff valve to the WH was not working then started to leak!  Great just what I needed, obviously the plumber who installed the WH did not change the 30 yr old shut off valve at the same time!  So I changed that out for a 1/4 turn one, much easier.  So since my controller is under warranty I will get a new one, may pay $10 for shipping or try and find one in town where they charge Honeywell directly, they gave me a special number to give to the store.  So that is an option for those that want one straight away in town, or they will reimburse you.  This controller issue is a serious concern for me as I often leave for weeks at a time with the rest of the family to tend to the fort, but they would not know what to do, so I shall have to give specific instructions with pics etc.  The reason I got a new WH was so there would be no problems!

  93. Good info here, had 4 flashes, remove white valve cover after lighting pilot, place a jumper wire across two posts that were right side top , pilot quit, waited, relit pilot, turn gas control to low, main burner lit.  Also remove heat sensor to check possible problem, no issue.  Drain a few gallons, a little scale.  Turner up temp control to hot, all is well.   Thank you “Pioneers”



  94. Thank you Tyler. I used the short across the top left and right connectors while everything was still connected method as my problem was a straight 7 flash error. Loosened cover, shorted the connections, refitted cover and fired the pilot until the 7 flashes appeared again, left dial in pilot position even though it had not lit and then left it for 10 minutes. Came back and it fired right up.

  95. Loreleaf’s procedure (5 January 2016) worked for me – remove cover and short 2 pins with a screwdriver. This is the second time in a year that I got the 4-flash-overheat failure. Both times there was VERY LITTLE sludge in the bottom of the water heater. The first time I paid Sears their blood money. This time I turned to this forum. I suspect that shorting the posts is the way the Sears tech did it the first time. He removed the cover but did not remove any wires (he fixed it very quickly). NOTE: the 7-flash error seemed to last for quite awhile but eventually went to a normal single flash. A huge thank you to Tyler, Loreleaf and everyone who has contributed here.

  96. Took the whole circuit board out and shorted the back of the capistor. It is now running with no problems thank you for saving me 125$ plus shipping.

  97. Thank you Tyler… and all the great contributors on this thread. I would like to add my experience with this hoping it may shed some light. Although the majority on this thread are dealing with Whirlpool heaters and the infamous 4 flashes of death, my heater is a brand new Rheem, installed just a couple weeks ago. 40 gal, nat gas, no external attachments. The gas valve is a Honeywell WV8840C1406, red led which changes to blue, 1 flash, when everything is working right. However, I started getting a 5-flash code (water temperature sensor failure) shortly after install. I first noticed it a few days after install and immediately freaked and went to get the manual. By the time I returned (maybe 30 minutes later), the led had returned to its ‘normal’ blue 1-flash mode. This happened again a day or 2 later and again, after a short while, the status led reverted back from the 5-flash red to the 1-flash blue. As the days moved on, it continued happening more frequently and each time the red 5-flash error condition persisted longer and longer before resetting itself. Finally this past week it was in the error mode and stayed there. This was when I discovered this thread and prepared to contact Rheem since the heater is brand new.

    On my initial contact with their tech support, they asked that I verify the gas pressure coming into the heater ( spec range is 5.5 – 10.5 inches water column). I had the local utility company come check it and the inlet pressure was right on the money. When I contacted Rheem again, without hesitation they said they were Fed-Exing me a new valve. It arrived today within 24 hours. What the gas pressure has to do with a faulty temperature sensor is a mystery to me, and perhaps just part of their damage control process to delay things. But the whole process raises a couple of questions in m y mind.

    A day or so after install, I did raise the temp just a tad to 130. As many others have suggested, perhaps this is the event which started the fail process?

    My install is brand new, so there is no connection to any sediment buildup causing any malfunction state.

    My error condition began with very short intervals of error which reset themselves without my doing anything. So the fault condition DID (initially) reset itself.

    However, the length and duration of self-correcting fault conditions rapidly grew more frequent and longer over a matter of days. Culminating in a permanent fault condition. I’ve been keeping an eye on the heater ever since installing, so I was able to notice this. Perhaps others with faulty valves may have begun their collapse in a similar fashion, but were not noticed until the hot water turned cold… people don’t usually babysit a water heater.

    I have not touched mine in any way, just been doing watchful observation until I have (and now do have) new valve in hand. When utilities came to check gas pressure, my gas was shut off and meter opened for half hour or so. When I relit the heater, it started up just fine and went into the normal 1-flash mode and still is, a day later. Although the reset procedures in this thread are obviously great and simple workarounds to the problem of resetting this damn valve, I also wonder if there may be some secondary interlock linked to the gas pressure which would cause the valve to retain an error condition as long as it is detecting gas pressure? I.E. no gas pressure would indicate the heater has been shut down and the error code is released? Something to consider.

    Thanks again to everyone’s input… you all are a life saver!