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Thread: FVIR: comparing brands

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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    Default FVIR: comparing brands

    What is FVIR?
    Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistance is a technology developed for gas-fired water heaters that resists ignition of flammable vapors that may occur outside and in close proximity to a water heater as a result of the mishandling of flammable products.
    This ongoing, voluntary industry-approach to developing FVIR technologies calls for manufacturers to invest their own resources in new product designs and the methods to test them. The resulting efforts capitalize on the industry's extensive product and applications expertise.
    From Bradford-White website

    So, each manufacturer has their own system. From what I can gather its:

    Rheem/Ruud/Vanguard/Richmond/GE
    Whirlpools/U.S. Craftmaster/State/A.O. Smiths
    Bradford-White

    I read a post that said that if the FVIR activates on them it can destroy (some part?) which must then be installed by qualified technicians only.
    I also read that B-W makes a heater that can be reset rather than replacing parts.
    Are either of these things true?

    I need to know because I need to replace the 40 gal gas in my 2-garage. Its on a pedistal. I also refinish wood on a workbench about 10 feet away. If I spill mineral spirits, stain, acetone, etc on the workbench would it activate the FVIR?

    Which water heaters

    Water Heater Ratings
    Last edited by Terry; 03-15-2010 at 02:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Brad White its a no-brainer.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    It will activate the FVIR, if the fumes get to the water heater and ignite inside the combustion chamber. i have not had any one activate their FVIR so far, so I am not sure which ones are repairable and which require a new water heater.

  4. #4
    DIY Member dargo's Avatar
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    Funny, I have yet to have any FVIR work in my house...don't ask since I wanted to try. I also know many people that have no had issues with the brands above...Key for any unit is keeping it clean...you know like proper maintaince on a car, washer, dish washer, furnace.....

    I personally have had GE, AO smith and Rheem. I own two homes and I like AO smith up here in northeast Rheem down south (limited supply I feel).

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The only FVIR problem I have personally seen was a customer who had an American with the non resettable FVIR which failed, but not because of a combustion issue. He fixed that with the retrofix kit from American. But I have not had any issue with any of the various brand heaters, i.e., BW, AO Smith, Ruud/Rheem, American, I have installed.
    Last edited by hj; 03-21-2010 at 07:53 AM.

  6. #6
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Rheem originally stated that if an "event" occurred, meaning the internal mini explosion which shuts the damper, then the WH must be replaced. With their design, this would never happen except when a real flammable vapor event occurred, and that is extremely rare. I am not sure, but I think now after 7 years exerience, they may offer to repair the unit rather than replace.

    Rheems and BW's do not have design problems which cause thermocouple failures, failure of pilot to stay lit, etc, which have plaqued AO Smith ( US Craftmaster ,Whirlpool, Kemmore, American, State, et al.)


    As far as " If I spill mineral spirits, stain, acetone, etc on the workbench would it activate the FVIR" :
    First, you should nevetr be using those materials in the vicinity of a gas burning appliance. The fact thay you and millions of us DO that, is the reason that drove the FVIR legislation. Most organic vapor fumes concentrate at floor level ( heavier than air). Something on your work bench, by the time the fumes wafted down, they may become dilute enough to not ignite.

    Mineral spirits and stains are somewhat less volitile, but acetone is very volitile and using that near a gas burning appliance is a bad idea!
    Last edited by jimbo; 03-21-2010 at 08:20 AM.

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