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Thread: Having plumber coming tomorrow to replace 3" flue with 4"

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Default Having plumber coming tomorrow to replace 3" flue with 4"

    Have been having a terrible problem with a new Kenmore Power Miser 9 40 gallon Short Gas Water heater. Ever since it has been installed it has not been venting properly and I can smell combustion smells I guess? I have 3 or 4 CO detectors in the house with 2 of them in the basement near the water heater. No readings on any of them

    Before this water heater there was a Vanguard 40 gallon tank that never gave me any exhaust issues. The venting setup is not ideal but given my space requirements it is my only option.

    With a ruler on the top of the tank it goes up 8 inches into an elbow and the makes a left hand turn horizontal run of about 6 feet before it turns up and runs maybe 2 feet and then turns about 1/2 foot into a T and up a dedicated chimney

    I know a total mess

    If these guys tear it out and put the 4 inch in maybe eliminating some of the turns should this help?


    Why would me 20 year old water heater have no issue with this setup but the new water heater does??


    Dude
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    Last edited by vtxdude; 11-29-2009 at 12:52 PM.

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    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtxdude View Post
    Have been having a terrible problem with a new Kenmore Power Miser 9 40 gallon Short Gas Water heater. Ever since it has been installed it has not been venting properly and I can smell combustion smells I guess? I have 3 or 4 CO detectors in the house with 2 of them in the basement near the water heater. No readings on any of them

    Before this water heater there was a Vanguard 40 gallon tank that never gave me any exhaust issues. The venting setup is not ideal but given my space requirements it is my only option.

    With a ruler on the top of the tank it goes up 8 inches into an elbow and the makes a left hand turn horizontal run of about 6 feet before it turns up and runs maybe 2 feet and then turns about 1/2 foot into a T and up a dedicated chimney

    I know a total mess

    If these guys tear it out and put the 4 inch in maybe eliminating some of the turns should this help?


    Why would me 20 year old water heater have no issue with this setup but the new water heater does??


    Dude
    A gas appliance that is burning properly doesn't product Carbon Monoxide.

    The venting is wrong only because of the 2 90's right before the tee (when it goes up and over into the tee). The 3" doesn't help ofcourse but it may not be bad as you think. A larger vent is not always better! But I just don't like 3" regardless and it's now code (up here in BC) that all appliances that are natural draft appliances should be vented through a min. of 4". But you are still allowed to use 3" if you're doing a refit.

    The vent riser (part coming off the top of the HWT) needs to rise up higher so that you have a straight shot over into the tee. Ofcourse the horizontal piece running over to the tee should be graded as to allow the hot products of combustion to rise.

    Sometimes it takes up to 5 mins for a vent to heat up. Until it does you aren't going to have proper venting and may have some flu gas spillage.
    Last edited by Doherty Plumbing; 11-29-2009 at 01:03 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    What is directly above the hwt?

    For the experts: is it okay to have the expansion tank just hanging there? Personally I'd like to see it supported somehow.

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Thank you for your reply. I wont be able to get a straight shot to the tee because as you can see in the pic that pipe needs to shoot behind the furnace with like zero clearance...so I will still need the first bend and then another bend to get going in the right direction

    That flue pipe heats up REAL quick I cant touch it all the way up to the Tee but suprisingly I can touch it at the chimney part...what's up with that?


    I imagine that these plumbers are competent and will know what to do..I'm just so worried about the exhaust smell that fills my basement when the heater is on for a bit...actually over near the heater it is not too bad, it is when you get going towards the stairs and in the stairwell where it is the worst


    Dude

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    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlarrivee View Post
    What is directly above the hwt?

    For the experts: is it okay to have the expansion tank just hanging there? Personally I'd like to see it supported somehow.
    I'd support it as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by vtxdude View Post
    Thank you for your reply. I wont be able to get a straight shot to the tee because as you can see in the pic that pipe needs to shoot behind the furnace with like zero clearance...so I will still need the first bend and then another bend to get going in the right direction

    That flue pipe heats up REAL quick I cant touch it all the way up to the Tee but suprisingly I can touch it at the chimney part...what's up with that?


    I imagine that these plumbers are competent and will know what to do..I'm just so worried about the exhaust smell that fills my basement when the heater is on for a bit...actually over near the heater it is not too bad, it is when you get going towards the stairs and in the stairwell where it is the worst


    Dude

    1. If you don't get rid of the over up and over bit you're always going to have problems there is no doubt about that. Basically what you have in the venting there with a cold chimney is a thermal trap. The hot flue gases have to push there way through the thermal trap and up into the chimney until everything is heated up.

    2. The portion right above the HWT will always get hot right away. When I speak of the vent heating up I'm referring to the whole thing. The hotter the vent/chimney is the better drafting you will get. So this is what's happening for you (IMO).... It's taking longer then it should to heat up the vent/chimney and you're getting excess spillage.

    3. The reason you can't touch the venting off the hot water tank but you can touch the chimney is because the HWT venting is c-vent (single wall galvanized) and the other stuff is b-vent which is double walled venting with a layer of air in between layers to act as insulation.

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Ok what are my options given that is the only way out? I'm hoping the plumber knows


    Why would my old water heater be so much different and work fine???????

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doherty Plumbing View Post
    A gas appliance that is burning properly doesn't product Carbon Monoxide.

    When you say is burning properly....if exhaust isn't venting properly and has spillage isn't that CO? What are the fumes I am smelling? I know CO is oderless but can't it be contained in what I am smelling? As I said 2 CO detectors in basement 3 feet from WH and no readings

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Sears is Junk

    Its not the vent , its the lint

    What I see wrong is the dryer sitting right next to this junkey sears water heater....

    the lint has probably clogged up the bottom of the unit already... that is probably the problem

    if you look at you hood vent you will notice that it is
    restricted down to 3 inch comming off the top of the heater...
    adding a 4 inch flu off the
    3 inch reducer will not change anything...

    other things I see wrong
    it should be in a pan...
    the thermal expansion tank should have a
    copper 3/4 leg on it supported down to the floor..

    the t+p drain pipe ought to be ran to the washing machine drain...


    here is a link to complaints about your SEARS----a.o.Smith---- heater
    and I already saw a few very similar to your situation about a dozen times over
    with how they finally remedied the problem..


    I am sorry, but they are junk,
    but I hope that this helps you either way

    http://baheyeldin.com/technology-in-...er.html?page=1

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark View Post
    Its not the vent , its the lint

    What I see wrong is the dryer sitting right next to this junkey sears water heater....

    the lint has probably clogged up the bottom of the unit already... that is probably the problem

    if you look at you hood vent you will notice that it is
    restricted down to 3 inch comming off the top of the heater...
    adding a 4 inch flu off the
    3 inch reducer will not change anything...

    other things I see wrong
    it should be in a pan...
    the thermal expansion tank should have a
    copper 3/4 leg on it supported down to the floor..

    the t+p drain pipe ought to be ran to the washing machine drain...


    here is a link to complaints about your SEARS----a.o.Smith---- heater
    and I already saw a few very similar to your situation about a dozen times over
    with how they finally remedied the problem..


    I am sorry, but they are junk,
    but I hope that this helps you either way

    http://baheyeldin.com/technology-in-...er.html?page=1

    I understand from other posts that you do not like Kenmore's mark


    It is not a.o smith heater, it is a State made in the US but I think I've read that you do not like them either. What can explain the exhaust smell? Is it because it is a Kenmore? Would a Bradford White with the same venting perform better? Also aren't most WH vented for 3" for the draft hood?

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    One other question..will the plumber be able to use Type B 4" venting pipe on the horizontal run or does it have to be single wall?


    Thank you


    Dude

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    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtxdude View Post
    When you say is burning properly....if exhaust isn't venting properly and has spillage isn't that CO? What are the fumes I am smelling? I know CO is oderless but can't it be contained in what I am smelling? As I said 2 CO detectors in basement 3 feet from WH and no readings
    No that's not CO. CO is produced when the gas is improperly burned. The spillage of the flue gases doesn't mean it's not burning properly it means it's not venting properly.

    The lint has nothing to do with how well the appliance vents. If the primary air intake on the appliance is plugged up you could be producing CO because the gas might not be getting enough air for complete combustion. But this won't effect it's ability to vent. The combustion process should still pull in secondary air and finally dilution air once it hits the draft hood.

    I already explained how to fix your situation. There isn't any 2 ways around it. The venting is goofy and needs to be fixed.

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doherty Plumbing View Post
    No that's not CO. CO is produced when the gas is improperly burned. The spillage of the flue gases doesn't mean it's not burning properly it means it's not venting properly.

    The lint has nothing to do with how well the appliance vents. If the primary air intake on the appliance is plugged up you could be producing CO because the gas might not be getting enough air for complete combustion. But this won't effect it's ability to vent. The combustion process should still pull in secondary air and finally dilution air once it hits the draft hood.

    I already explained how to fix your situation. There isn't any 2 ways around it. The venting is goofy and needs to be fixed.
    I appreciate your response, it is very helpful...I know it is goofy but above you said that the venting is only wrong because of the 2 90's right before the Tee.....so even though it comes up at the elbow and then hangs a left before the horizontal that is ok? Not ideal but ok? If you look at that pic you'll see I really don't have much option except maybe have a little more vertical at the beginning.


    Also can you use Type B for the horizontal run?

    Thanks so much I really apprciate your input




    Dude

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    From the picture, it LOOKS like the horizontal pipe is dropping downward. State and AO Smith, (along with Reliance and a couple of others), are the same heaters, just branded differently.

  14. #14
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking squirrel or crow in the chimmney?????

    Quote Originally Posted by vtxdude View Post
    I understand from other posts that you do not like Kenmore's mark


    It is not a.o smith heater, it is a State made in the US but I think I've read that you do not like them either. What can explain the exhaust smell? Is it because it is a Kenmore? Would a Bradford White with the same venting perform better? Also aren't most WH vented for 3" for the draft hood?
    A.O.Smith makes State, kenmore, and now owns american water heaters....

    they are basically all the same....


    I assume that you have checked to see if you have draw up the
    chimmney by takeing a match or cigarette or burning paper
    and putting it near the chimmney to see if it goes up???


    also, you could have something as simple as a bird or
    squirrel burnt up in the chimmney which will also make the place
    stink like hell......I have had that with a Bradford before...




    that chimney is not really goofey looking to me
    ....it looks pretty common to me, single wall vent
    going over to a double wall b-vent out the roof...

    although you could take out the last elbow going
    into the heater and simply drop the arm down about
    5 inches to give it more upward rise...



    this is a process of elimination,
    after the chimmney is changed out, then let me know the results...



    I hope it dont cost you too much



    here is the bottom screen of a Whirlpool heater



    here is a new Smith gas heater which is no better in design

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    DIY Senior Member vtxdude's Avatar
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    Thanks guys..Mark I need that elbow coming out of the heater to move it over so it runs behind the furnace...chimney changed out? You mean the flue pipe right?


    Also can anyone tell me if the plumber can use Type B piping for the run rather than the single wall pipe?


    Thanks!!


    Dude

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