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Thread: Add on draft inducer

  1. #1
    Union plumber/pipefitter-self employed Garydaplummer's Avatar
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    Question Add on draft inducer

    Have a customer with an LP gas water heater sidewall vented through a draft inducer added to the horizontal flue piping. He wants me to replace the water heater and wants to continue to use the draft inducer. There are two "switches" screwed to the hood on top of the water heater with wires. I believe these are to detect excess flue heat in the event the blower fails and shut the water heater down. A guy from the gas company was there before me and red tagged the water heater (long story) and those wires are just hanging alongside the water heater, still attached to the "swithches" on the flue hood. We are not sure if he disconnected them or not. Where do they connect? They had push on wire terminal ends but I cannot find a place where they connect at the water heater. I have only seen this installation once before and that one had the wires plugging into another control on the gas line if I remmeber right. This system was in when they bought the home and they're not sure those wires were ever hooked to anything. The blower does work fine as soon as the water heater fires.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Default

    What is the make/model of the water heater?

  3. #3
    Union plumber/pipefitter-self employed Garydaplummer's Avatar
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    Smile State

    It's a State and the customer believes it is 15 years old or so? Not sure the model number, it's a standard vented water heater though with an added power vent that is connected to the horizontal flue piping right where it exits the basement

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Oh forget it! No wonder they red tagged it!
    You will never get them to sign off on a mogrul like that!

    Just rip it out and put in a new one!

  5. #5
    Union plumber/pipefitter-self employed Garydaplummer's Avatar
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    Talking That's the plan

    I didn't get into all the gory details of this beauty. The previous "contractor" put two 40 gallon LPs side by side and connected them to the one draft inducer that exits under the deck behind the house. The flue pipes go vertical from the hood about a foot then 90 towards each other, connecting in the ends of a tee laying "on it's back" going up another foot to a 90 headed outside. They are connected to the cpvc water lines by 3/4 galvanized nipples 12" long threaded directly into the water heaters, hot & cold ports. The plan is to replace them with one 40 gallon Rheem, but the homeowner still wants it to utilize the draft inducer and exit where it does. I'll be sure to skip the galvanized piping, though. Any thoughts on the flue hood sensors?

  6. #6
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Yea, they tied into some control circuits that ran to a solenoid on the gas valve that would allow the valve to turn on when the draft inducer proved itself.

    None of that exists now and its not going to fly with the gas man!

    Set him up with a nice new power vent and protect your hide!
    If this guy won't buy that run don't walk away from this one.
    You will read about this guy and his family in the paper when this "Rube Goldberg" set up craps out and kills a house full of people.

    Darwin was right!
    Last edited by Redwood; 07-01-2008 at 05:33 AM.

  7. #7
    Union plumber/pipefitter-self employed Garydaplummer's Avatar
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    Smile Couldn't agree more

    Your response confirms what I thought from the first and only other time I've seen this on a water heater. I vaguely remembered those wires connecting to termonals somewhere on the gas piping. It also tells me these wires were never hooked to anything just left dangling alongside the water heater because they came with the draft inducer kit. There is absoulutely no place for connection on either of these water heaters or their piping, no solenoid valve installed. The customer was under the impression they were carbon monoxide detectors?! Thanks for your replies.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default wires

    They probably had a terminal block between the thermocouple and the gas valve. When the inducer deactivated the switch breaking the thermocouple circuit the gas valve shut it down.

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