Rheem Tankless Water Heater Flame Rod Cleaning

Rheem Tankless Water Heater Flame Rod Cleaning

Flame sensor rod senses the flame. If it fails to detect the flame, the unit will go to the shut-off mode and throw the error code 12. So, keeping the flame sensor rod clean is a must to let the water heater operate to its maximum level. 

And this guide on Rheem Tankless Water Heater Flame Rod Cleaning will walk you through 7 simple steps to clean that component like a charm. 

So, let’s dive in. 

Rheem Tankless Water Heater Flame Rod Cleaning [7 Simple Steps]

1. Unplug the power cord of the water heater so no electricity will go to the unit. Then, take the panel cover off by removing the nuts that keep the panel cover in place. 

2. Let’s look for the burners. If you follow your gas line up and around, you can see the little black bar, which is manifold, and behind there, everything you see is the burner. 

3. Now, you need to discover the single wire going to the sensor. If you keep your eyes on the following picture, you will notice there are three options. Those are all next to the burner. 

And this one has one wire, which is our flame sensor rod. 

The other two things are igniters that help the ignition process. 

4. Once you locate the flame sensor rod, remove the electric connector attached to the flame sensor. To do so, use your hand to pull off the connector. 

5. After disconnecting the electric connector, you can see a single nut right there. You can use either a quarter-inch drive or a flat-head screwdriver to remove that bolt. 

6. Now, it’s time to take out the flame sensor. Remember, you shouldn’t touch the top of the flame sensor rod. Just remove it carefully. And this is what the flame sensor rod looks like: 

7. Next, go forward to clean the dirty flame sensor rod. Use something fine. For example, you can use steel wool to clean off the soot from the flame sensor.

Once you clean the flame sensor evenly, re-install the flame sensor rod and secure it with the nut. Then, reattach the electric connector to the nut. Finally, replace the panel cover. 


1. Where is the flame sensor on a Rheem tankless water heater?

The flame sensor rod on a Rheem Tankless Water Heater is next to the burner. Specifically, you can find it at the top left side of the burner. To access it, remove the access panel and locate the burner. Once you locate the burner, look for the single wire bolted to the flame sensor. Follow the wire and remove the electric connector. Then, pull out the single bolt and gently remove the flame sensor.

2. Can I clean the flame sensor with sandpaper?

No, you can’t use sandpaper to clean the flame sensor. The sandpaper is a bit abrasive, which will damage the flame sensor as this component is very delicate. You can use soft steel wool to clean the flame sensor. 

3. What is the best material to clean a flame sensor?

Soft steel wool is the best material to clean the flame sensor. It’s very delicate and will help you clean the carbon buildup forms on the flame sensor. Just use it to rub the flame sensor gently, and all the buildup will go away. 


Follow the 7 easy steps I mentioned and clean the flame sensor rod like a pro. It will help your tankless water heater operate to its maximum level. Good Luck!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *