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Chad Fabry
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This was a funky set up in series, two different heaters, two brands, two sizes.

They are plumbed in series but the gas piping and flue arrangement have me a little perplexed. Hopefully the photo quality is good enough for you guys to get a handle on this and advise me. Two gas pipes run from a the main gas line, and between the two pipes is another H assembly..is this to ensure equal pressure to both units? The other thing is we now have a 35k Btu wh, a 40k Btu water heater and a 50k Btu furnace all on the same vent. Please observe and advise. Thanks ... Oh and tell me if the the NM cable can be fastened to the return for the furnace?..you can see it in the photos. It all looks crude and crowded to me.

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Chad,

It looks like a jimmy rigged set up. If my eyes don't deceive me the flue connector for the 2 water heaters is too small (requires area of larger + 50% of smaller) It looks like 2-4"? At the juncture the flue connector needs to increase in size. I will also bet if the calcs are run the gas pipe is not properly sized either. It looks to me like they simply added the larger heater as an after thought utilizing the existing gas and flue piping. Is that a tin can in the flue connector? A union in the gas line?

I would call it for the POS it is and defer the entire installation.

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In addition to the above, what about the (apparently) single wall flue in contact w/ combustibles in the wall cavity? Even if it's a B vent, you still need minimum 1" clearance to combustible, & it doesn't look like you have it.

Nasty setup; buncha wrong stuff.

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· If they’re plumbed in series, there’s no problem with using different sizes & brands of water heaters.

· Is there enough combustion air in the room for all this crap?

· The single wall vent connectors need 6 inches of clearance to combustibles. That includes the Romex and the refrigerant line set insulation. If that’s a B-vent that they lead to, it needs 1 inch of clearance to both the wood framing and the drywall.

· The sizing of the vent connectors looks wrong. As Crusty pointed out, there should be an increase at the tee. (Which would work better if it were a wye, by the way.) Venting multiples is tricky. Remember that the vent has to draw well with all three appliances running as well as with the single smallest one running alone. The tables are in NFPA 54. Have fun.

· With the exception of that weird “Hâ€

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Thanks folks,

This house is the third POS that this poor couple has hired me to inspect. I'd really like to find nice things to say about the place because I'm starting to feel bad about taking their money because they don't have much.

All the homes were built in the eighties with crap for materials. This one has that sponge-like composite siding made out of old cardboard boxes and while it's freshly painted and has nice curb appeal, it's failed. So have all the rotted single pane windows and the re-roof that's a year old has about another year to reach the end of its useful service life.

I'm still new to this profession and I just can't get over the lack of workmanship, the poor "engineering" and the basic ignorance of the fact that water flows downhill.

Thanks for the excellent comments,

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Just a few other items...

When feeding two appliances with one gas line the main run should be larger and then stepping down as it feeds the devices. God only know why they put the jumper in line. Are you sure both lines are main feeds and they just didn't use the jumper as a feeder for one or the other lines? I have an old plumbers manual, from East Ohio Gas, that has charts on proper gas line sizing. If you don't have something like this Chad I can scan & send you a copy.

One heater looks like it has a copper drain line for the TPRV & the other has plastic. It may be nit picking but I like to see copper on the drain lines.

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FWIW Chad. Unless you want to go through the exercise of sizing the gas pipes as a learning experience, there is enough wrong here to note the concerns and defer the entire 3 appliance installation citing the improper addition (no doubt performed without the benefit of permits and inspection) of the newer water heater. Sizing gas lines is well beyond the scope of a property inspection IMO.

By the way. This looks like a garage installation and the big one appears to be sitting on the floor. That in itself is enough to defer the installation for further evaluation by a qualified licensed plumber.

Steve

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Originally posted by crusty

FWIW Chad. Unless you want to go through the exercise of sizing the gas pipes as a learning experience, there is enough wrong here to note the concerns and defer the entire 3 appliance installation citing the improper addition (no doubt performed without the benefit of permits and inspection) of the newer water heater. Sizing gas lines is well beyond the scope of a property inspection IMO.

By the way. This looks like a garage installation and the big one appears to be sitting on the floor. That in itself is enough to defer the installation for further evaluation by a qualified licensed plumber.

Steve

Steve:

No doubt that sizing gas lines is beyond the scope of a normal home inspection however, learning about proper piping methods and a general knowledge of gas line sizing will help you spot potential problems such as an undersized feed for multiple appliances. This is what makes us professionals.

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It's a basement install. It bothers me some that all three pilot lights are in the same 8x12 room, and I had concerns about combustion air as well.

The gas piping to my eye is adequate for the total draw, there's a one inch main and the appliance piping is 3/4 inch.

Terry, I'd like that sizing chart because I'm about to install 170k Btu demand water heater, and want to make sure it's OK to plumb off a 1 inch main w/ the 145kBtu furnace.

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

It's a basement install. It bothers me some that all three pilot lights are in the same 8x12 room, and I had concerns about combustion air as well.

The gas piping to my eye is adequate for the total draw, there's a one inch main and the appliance piping is 3/4 inch.

Terry, I'd like that sizing chart because I'm about to install 170k Btu demand water heater, and want to make sure it's OK to plumb off a 1 inch main w/ the 145kBtu furnace.

Chad:

PM me with your address and I'll send you the book. I spoke with one of my buds, that worked for the same contractor I use to, and he has a spare one that he'll give me.

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

I'm still new to this profession and I just can't get over the lack of workmanship, the poor "engineering" and the basic ignorance of the fact that water flows downhill.

Look on the bright side, that's job security you're looking at. Plus it really makes you appreciate the good ones.

Brian G.

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

Originally posted by crusty

FWIW Chad. Unless you want to go through the exercise of sizing the gas pipes as a learning experience, there is enough wrong here to note the concerns and defer the entire 3 appliance installation citing the improper addition (no doubt performed without the benefit of permits and inspection) of the newer water heater. Sizing gas lines is well beyond the scope of a property inspection IMO.

By the way. This looks like a garage installation and the big one appears to be sitting on the floor. That in itself is enough to defer the installation for further evaluation by a qualified licensed plumber.

Steve

Steve:

No doubt that sizing gas lines is beyond the scope of a normal home inspection however, learning about proper piping methods and a general knowledge of gas line sizing will help you spot potential problems such as an undersized feed for multiple appliances. This is what makes us professionals.

I couldn't agree more Terrence.

st

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Chad,

You have quite a puzzle here!

Although the gas lines 'look' convoluted I wouldn't concern myself with it. I see drip legs of different lenghts that may indicate the quality of the gas fitter and the state of his truck and supplies arrangement..etc. I think you will relate to this as you are a tradesman yourself, the impression I get from your shop photos.

Photo No. 1

I see the setting knob set at an extreme.

Was it set at minimum or maximum?

I suspect this tank is the secondary in the series, what temperature did you record at

the faucets?

I sense both tanks were set at maximum.

Photo No. 2 bleeds with infractions.

1. T connection - not allowed

2. Small section - seam pointing wrong way

3. Insufficient fasteners at connections-three screw EVENLY SPACED around the clock (not at 3, 6 and 8 o'clock, thank you!)

Photo No. 3 Bells- They are a ringing

1. Clearance to combustibles (as previously mentioned)- the base T' is of concern here and tells me that no inspection was conducted on this project.

2. Suction line insulation proximity to the 375 degree vent- unprotected.....

2. The 45 degree boot is questionable. Did you squeeze it to ensure that is was C' vent material? I'll bet a beer it's a duct fitting.

3. The 4" cap is not fully seated into the base.

I'll bet you another beer there is only two screw at the joint.

Photo No. 4 My favorite

1. Unsupported vent connector

2. Unprotected conductors (below 5' here).

3. Dedicated furnace switch tapped.

4. AND most importantly-

This is where you have to send the children to bed and keep the women from reading this

'FAT GIRLS AT THE BOTTOM' or

The largest (BTU) appliance is always at the bottom of the flue or chimney.

The installation is parallel and not proper.

Photo No 5.

You mentioned, this is a basement

The TPR discharge pipes are directed inside.

So, why do we have a condensate pump?

OR

Is it necessary where you are?

AND

The whole thing apppears to be in an enclosed room as evidenced by the door jamb and stricker plate.

Do we have sufficient combustion air provision?

I have a few more questions........but I forgot

Something to do with the tank shut off valves on the hot side and not on the cold side.

I hope you wear steel toed boots on your inspections. .......I would.

BTW

I was most impressed with your CA post

Don't leave it in the rain........please

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whistles quietly while I copy Rob's post to my report.

As for the CA, I admit there have been two times I could have used it since its been finished and I've opted for other equipment rather than get it dirty. Sometime after the first scratch or dent it'll go back to a work life.

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I see in my rush, I wasn't quite specific with the temperature note.

Whenever I see two water heaters in series I immediately check the temp setting knob on both of them. That tells me lots.

This is the way I design them (actually my plumber's design). The first (primary) tank is set at 90 degree F and the second at 125 degree F, for this reason.

As cold water is warmed in the primary tank, minerals will flocculate and settle to the bottom. This is what 'kills' a heater, over time mineral buildup interferes with the heating process and eventually leaks occur etc..

The second tank is there to finish the heating process and sees mainly 'clean' water. In other words, the secondary tank is on vacation, the primary tank is the one that does most of the work - heating water from approx 38 to 90 degree F or a 50 degree temperature difference.

Here is a gas line chart, (sorry about the quality, it's a scan, another unfinished project)

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Rob,

I don't understand the benefit of your setup. Your first tank heats the water about 50 degrees, the second tank heats the water 30 degrees. How is that better than a parallel setup? I figure that the only reason for installing two tanks is for a large demand. Two 40 gallon tanks piped in parallel gives you 80 gallons of hot water on demand. Piping them as you described gives you 40 gallons of hot water (albeit with super quick recovery), so why not simply install one tank?

Also, I want to thank you for giving me a stellar idea. If my dream of an all-home-inspector rock and roll band comes true one day, we will be called: "The Flocculators". All resumes should be sent to me care of this web site.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Also, I want to thank you for giving me a stellar idea. If my dream of an all-home-inspector rock and roll band comes true one day, we will be called: "The Flocculators". All resumes should be sent to me care of this web site.

I can play a few mean riffs on a voltage sniffer! I use to play the freon leak detector but had to spend a few weeks in rehab with Steven Tyler. Those were dark days. I'm much better now.

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Interesting,

I would have thought my fat girl commend would have earned me a tongue lashing.

I've debated the parallel vs series issue more that once with various trades and it really come down to preference.

Here is my take on it,

Series:

Primary tank heats water to 90 degrees F

Secondary tank heats to 125 degree F ie. you don't have two tanks at 125 degree F.

The advantage is the economy of fuel

and the secondary (vacation) tank last longer, supposedly!

Parallel:

Both tanks MUST be adjusted at the same temperature and kept balanced or one will temper the other.

As to the which system lasts longer than the other, I really don't know???

Perhaps, from a landlord point of view, the series domestic system doesn't blow up all at once.

Series is my preference- I have suites and a particular tenant who loves hot water. I've never had complaints.

Here is the bill for ya,

GET DOWN id="size5">

with the

FLOCCULATORS

Featuring-

The Alum Brothers

I'll be the guy playing the radio

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