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Water heater vent


Mark P
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Okay, I have a lot of questions today after spending 6 hours on yesterday afternoon's inspection. This is the first, well maybe not so much a question, as just a second opinion and sharing something different.

There are two water heaters (and yes one of them is older then the young lady buying the house, 1978). Take a look out how they are vented. I have never seen this and am not sure what to think of the set up, especially the big muffler looking thing in the middle. There is no pitch except for the short section in the back. Can anyone offer any insight.

Regarding the venting I'm thinking I'm going to keep it simple and write "Water heaters vent pipes are pitched improperly - there must be a minimum of ¼ inch upward slope per foot up towards the chimney with no dips or sags - recommend qualified contractor repair as necessary"

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Originally posted by randynavarro

Why 6 hours?

Geez, this house was just plain hard. Nothing was simple at all. It had been a 1890 single family changed to a duplex. Two boilers, two water heaters, two kitchens, multiple panel boxes, all kinds of crazy movement in: basement floor, garage walls, and get a load of this chimney. It was so high I'd have to have a chopper to get a look down it and I was not about to lean my ladder against it. I don't know if you can see in the pic but it was all kinds of crooked.

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Mark, take this with a grain of salt!

There is way more wrong here than the venting. In fact, I likely would not have gotten too excited about the venting. The flue liner may be an issue, if the brick chimney is an interior one and it does not look that way from the second photo. The flue plenum is ok, if the reducers going into it are equal and the units are equal btu's. The pressure valve on the left unit is not at all acceptable. There is no evidence of backdraft and a little evidence of condensation on the right unit. Neither unit looks to be a 1970's, but I wasn't there.

The photo shows every type of pipe known to mankind, except pvc and abs. Kinda cool!

I would write it, but would not give any prescriptive advice. "Water heaters are improperly installed" Whenever possible, don't tell them how to fix. Most inspectors get carried away telling folks everything that is wrong and how to fix. That is why I am not a fan of code inspections.

We try to keep everything very short and present a reason or two why it is wrong and never allude to a "complete" repair. By the way - repair will be more than a newer better heater.

Also, I have spent more than six hours with a young good looking woman doing an inspection. So what that she was my wife!

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Speaking of water heater vents; over at Inspection News, lots of people are making the statement that there must be a 12 length of straight vent at the draft hood. I have asked several times to point me in the right direction (code wise) but no one has answered.

So, is this HI folklore or can someone here cite a source (hopefully code or manufactures requirements) about this 12 inches.

Thank you,

Thank you very much,

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

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Originally posted by AHIS

Originally posted by randynavarro

Why 6 hours?

Geez, this house was just plain hard. Nothing was simple at all. It had been a 1890 single family changed to a duplex. Two boilers, two water heaters, two kitchens, multiple panel boxes, all kinds of crazy movement in: basement floor, garage walls, and get a load of this chimney. It was so high I'd have to have a chopper to get a look down it and I was not about to lean my ladder against it. I don't know if you can see in the pic but it was all kinds of crooked.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif chimney.jpg

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6 hours is about right, without report time. Welcome to my world.

If your concerned about laddering up to a leaning chimney, you might consider lowering your carbs and get a little more exercise. [;)]

2007522175947_chimlean.JPG%20

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Originally posted by Darren

Speaking of water heater vents; over at Inspection News, lots of people are making the statement that there must be a 12 length of straight vent at the draft hood. I have asked several times to point me in the right direction (code wise) but no one has answered.

So, is this HI folklore or can someone here cite a source (hopefully code or manufactures requirements) about this 12 inches.

Thank you,

Thank you very much,

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

I've only heard that once, and not from a HI. The chimney guy, that spoke at my chapter's most recent seminar, stated that it is required. I've never seen it in writing and most of the water heaters installed in old, short basements have very little vertical pipe above the hood.

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Hi,

Maybe they got it confused with the requirement for a gas vent entering a masonry stack to be not less than 12" above the bottom of the chimneystack flue. If you read it in CodeCheck and don't think about it for a second, you can get the impression that "the bottom" means the bottom of the connector at the draft diverter, when it actually means at the bottom of the stack.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Darren

Speaking of water heater vents; over at Inspection News, lots of people are making the statement that there must be a 12 length of straight vent at the draft hood. I have asked several times to point me in the right direction (code wise) but no one has answered.

So, is this HI folklore or can someone here cite a source (hopefully code or manufactures requirements) about this 12 inches.

Why not ask the folks who are doing the claiming?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I sent A.O Smith an e-mail questioning the validity of what some HI's are calling out as in need of repairs, this is their reply:

DISCUSSION THREAD

Response (Brandon Freeman) 05/23/2007 08:59 AM

Darren,

Thank you for contacting us. If you are referring to standard atmospheric venting water heaters, then a straight vent run is not a requirement before a bend, although we do recommend it as it allows for better venting. The main thing to insure is that any horizontal run is on an appropriate rise and that the total horizontal is less than 75% of the vertical. Please let us know if we can assist you further.

Sincerely,

Brandon

Hope this sets it straight.

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

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Originally posted by Darren

I sent A.O Smith an e-mail questioning the validity of what some HI's are calling out as in need of repairs, this is their reply:

DISCUSSION THREAD

Response (Brandon Freeman) 05/23/2007 08:59 AM

Darren,

Thank you for contacting us. If you are referring to standard atmospheric venting water heaters, then a straight vent run is not a requirement before a bend, although we do recommend it as it allows for better venting. The main thing to insure is that any horizontal run is on an appropriate rise and that the total horizontal is less than 75% of the vertical. Please let us know if we can assist you further.

Sincerely,

Brandon

Well, that makes sense. I can certainly see the benefit of a 12-inch "head start" for the draft.

So are you now going to also write to American and Bradford White?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

Was looking at the B vent installation instructions from a topic posted in 2005 and noticed a 12" connector rise requirement.

Not sure if this applies

https://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum ... 20Vent.pdf

(page 4 #8)

I'll bet that's the source of the information.

Curiously, Metalfab and Amerivent do not have a similar requirement -- at least I don't see in on their installation instructions.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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OK,

This is the 'discussion' I'm having with Jerry Peck on IN; he pulled up that same PDF.

That installation guide states "plan on"; another manufacture states "whenever possible".

They do not say, "a 12 inch straight pipe MUST be installed prior to any bends.

It's that same As A.O Smith; under ideal conditions, it would make for a better job, however, it's not REQUIRED.

WJ always said you need back-up; if push came to shove, a plumber can come and dispute your call because it's not required.

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

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Originally posted by Darren

OK,

This is the 'discussion' I'm having with Jerry Peck on IN; he pulled up that same PDF.

That installation guide states "plan on"; another manufacture states "whenever possible".

They do not say, "a 12 inch straight pipe MUST be installed prior to any bends.

It's that same As A.O Smith; under ideal conditions, it would make for a better job, however, it's not REQUIRED.

WJ always said you need back-up; if push came to shove, a plumber can come and dispute your call because it's not required.

Darren

You've got to understand that Jerry lives for that kind of confrontation. He's famous for weaving a three-piece suit from a single piece of thread.

Everyone has to find their own comfort zone with this stuff.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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"The main thing to insure is that any horizontal run is on an appropriate rise and that the total horizontal is less than 75% of the vertical."

If I'm reading this right it would be pretty much impossible to do otherwise. To get from the center of a standard water heater to a chimney flu your going to use at least one & a half feet of horizontal pipe, likely more. To have that be less then 75% of the vertical your going to have to use at least twelve inches of vertical.

I agree with others, best practice yes... required, to get proper draft in some situations, yes... Code required, never heard of it and see it that way less then without. I wouldn't lose sleep over this.

AHIS - 6 hours on a house of that age = good thorogh inspection, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I tell the realtors "I don't dictate how long the inspection takes, the house does"

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Uh,

Beggin' yer pardon, Sir, but unless I've fallen off of a pumpkin truck, I believe the less than 75% of vertical references the total horizontal run of pipe vs. the total vertical rise of pipe. If they've got 15-20ft. of chimneystack and flue from the point where that enters the chimney, that little 2ft. isn't going to be anything to worry about.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Uh,

Beggin' yer pardon, Sir, but unless I've fallen off of a pumpkin truck, I believe the less than 75% of vertical references the total horizontal run of pipe vs. the total vertical rise of pipe. If they've got 15-20ft. of chimneystack and flue from the point where that enters the chimney, that little 2ft. isn't going to be anything to worry about.

OT - OF!!!

M.

You West coast guys... We use turnip trucks out here! [^]

I'm by no means sure what its trying to say. Does the vertical include the actual chimney flu? I'm reading it as the metal flu leading to the chimney...I'd say your way would make more sense. I should probably shut up now, you've got three hours on me, it's late here.

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