You can’t get heat and your troubleshooting skills (hopefully learned at a Stromquist & Company training class) have lead you to the conclusion that your gas valve will have to be replaced. Being the great technician that you are, you write down all the information and part numbers of the furnace or heater you are working on and head off to see Bob, Jerry, or Mark at the Stromquist counter to get a new valve.
After driving across town you are less than happy when you are told that the replacement gas valve cannot be determined by the furnace or heater number. Although there are hundreds of gas heater and furnace manufacturers, there are only three major controls companies that make gas valves for these companies: Honeywell, White Rodgers, and Robertshaw. What makes it tricky is that these three companies will make and sell these valves as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts for all these different heater companies and will put different part numbers on them. In some cases, the valves even function differently.
Why would a manufacturer want a different part number? For one thing it makes it very difficult for you to get a replacement valve at your local distributor. Think about it, these companies are in business to make money and if you have to come back to them for your replacement parts, they are able to sell more products. The problem with this is that very few of them have local inventory, and since they are manufacturers instead of wholesalers, quick shipping is usually not one of their skill sets. So you have to wait, which is usually not an option when your heat is not working. In a few cases the valve is built differently and you have no choice but to go back to the manufacturer, which usually results in you paying higher prices and dealing with longer lead times.
The good news is that with the right information, your local distributors like Stromquist & Company can provide you with the right gas valve at the right price. To make sure you get the right valve, either take the bad valve out and bring it into your local distributor or use your camera and take pictures of the valve, making sure to get the part numbers in the picture. Make sure to watch Mark’s video, Replacing Gas Valves On Furnances and Hot Water Heaters.