Robertshaw Unitrol Gas water heater control valve R110RCTS-PC

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I have a US Craftmaster water heater (gas) that was installed in February 2004. At the time I was a renter in the home I now own. The water heater was installed by a tech hired by the then-owner.It is a model MHG1F3031T3NV serial 0346123071 (where 0346 is the year/week code).The heater has a Robertshaw R110RCTS-PC gas valve with a date code of 0345. Even though by date and model this valve falls outside of CPSC’s published Robertshaw R110 recall, there has always been a just faintly detectable scent of gas near the heater, and with the help of a TIF 8800 leak detector it has now been shown that all of the piping is good and leak-tight and the leak is clearly around the control knob at the top of the gas valve itself.On the Association of Certified Home Inspectors forum there are other reports of Robertshaw R110 gas valves being leaky even with manufacture dates outside of the published recall: photos and descriptions posted there exactly match the location where my gas valve leaks. One of the inspectors reported detecting gas at 40% to 50% of these valves tested, even though outside of the published recall. I hoped that some of those inspectors would have passed their findings along to CPSC, but there was no mention of that in the forum, and I have searched CPSC without finding anything about the R110 except the already mentioned limited recall.I had wondered whether I should just accept slight leakage at the valve as normal, but the TIF 8800 gives no reading at all for any of the other appliances or fittings in my house. Somehow everything else manages to be gastight but the R110 valve does not. I notice in the forum thread linked above that the inspectors also consider the R110 leak rate remarkably high compared to other valves they test.At 9 AM EST on 5 March 2013 I spoke with [REDACTED] at the Robertshaw recall hotline, who told me (as expected) that my valve falls outside the recall date range and would not be replaced. I asked whether he was aware of any tendency for valves outside that date range to be found leaky. He said one can always leak, there’s a gasket there (quote from memory) but that he was not aware of a pattern. [REDACTED] at Craftmaster/American Water Heater also declined to replace the valve, as the heater is by now beyond the warranty period. It looks like I will be on my own to buy a replacement valve, which is ok, but I still wanted to make sure CPSC is aware of a problem that seems to extend beyond the originally recalled date range, because after seeing those inspectors’ findings I do not think my own issue is an isolated one.

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