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Thread: 3" flue for water heater failed inspection

  1. #1
    In the Trades plumbernj's Avatar
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    Default 3" flue for water heater failed inspection

    Original tank... a 40 gallon nat gas Bradford water heater with a 3" flue.

    Did a replacement with another 40 gal gas 3" flue, same 40,000 btu output...and it failed inspection because the inspector now wants a 4" flue to the chimney.
    Can soneone point me the the gas or mechanical code so this doesn't happen to me again?

    In NJ.

  2. #2
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    You're best asking the inspector who failed you for the code reference.

    Jason

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Most codes are based on, or invoke, the National Fuel Gas Code. A 3" flue for a 40,000 BTU WH would be typical in most installations. The WH manufacturer probably specifies a 3" but also refers to the above code. You said you are venting into a chimney, and so some combination of factors here is adding up to him wanting a 4" . He should be willing to explain.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    It's New Joisey! He was probably expecting something more than than a flue.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking 3 inch hood vent

    its interesting that they throw such a hissey fit over this....

    especially when the hood of the water heater actually
    comes off at 3 inch..anyway...........

    even if you increase it to 4 above the hood vent ,
    whats the benefit??? since its already been restriceted?

  6. #6
    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Default simple test

    turn the water heater up all the way so burner comes on.
    now take a butane gas log lighter or match and run the flame above the bonnet opening below flue. flame drawn in, good flame blown out bad. also run any additional appliances on the chimney at the same time.

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolaholic
    turn the water heater up all the way so burner comes on.
    now take a butane gas log lighter or match and run the flame above the bonnet opening below flue. flame drawn in, good flame blown out bad. also run any additional appliances on the chimney at the same time.
    This test, even if it turns out O.K., most likely, won't change the inspectors mind.

    Did you install it your self or did a plumber do it. If you pulled the permit and did it your self the inspector is just giving you a hard time because he doesn't like DIYers. Thats my guess.

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

    And it is one more reason why few water heater replacements are done with a permit.

  9. #9
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass
    Quote Originally Posted by toolaholic
    turn the water heater up all the way so burner comes on.
    now take a butane gas log lighter or match and run the flame above the bonnet opening below flue. flame drawn in, good flame blown out bad. also run any additional appliances on the chimney at the same time.
    This test, even if it turns out O.K., most likely, won't change the inspectors mind.

    Did you install it your self or did a plumber do it. If you pulled the permit and did it your self the inspector is just giving you a hard time because he doesn't like DIYers. Thats my guess.
    You'd also want to close all windows and doors, turn on the dryer, range vent, bathroom vent, etc and all other normal air discharge points in the house.

    Jason

  10. #10
    In the Trades plumbernj's Avatar
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    No, we are a plumbing company. This happenned in Barrington, NJ.

    Oh, and we had to get a permit. Homeowner wanted one.

  11. #11
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Since you are in a business where you probably must work with this inspector on a regular basis, you sure don't want to get on his bad side. I do think it would be fair for you to ask him what code he applied. Perhaps approaching him with a positive attitude explaining that you need to know so that you don't have a similar problem in the future. If you were to confront him in a manner that would put him on the defensive, you would get no where.

  12. #12
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking permits are a pain and unfair

    it really pisses me off that Lowes, Home Depot, ******* ect

    can sell you a water heater and let you do it yourself wether you know

    what you are doing or not......


    without you having to obtain any kind of permit what-so -ever and get away with it

    But a plumber who KNOWS what they are doing gets a permit and look at all

    the petty greif that comes your way..........

  13. #13
    DIY Member brianj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    it really pisses me off that Lowes, Home Depot, ******* ect

    can sell you a water heater and let you do it yourself wether you know

    what you are doing or not......


    without you having to obtain any kind of permit what-so -ever and get away with it

    But a plumber who KNOWS what they are doing gets a permit and look at all

    the petty greif that comes your way..........
    The plumber who installed mine didn't pull a permit. Neither did the guys who did the roof. As bassakward as this City is, I understand why they don't bother though...

  14. #14
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default vent

    Quote Originally Posted by Lakee911
    You'd also want to close all windows and doors, turn on the dryer, range vent, bathroom vent, etc and all other normal air discharge points in the house.

    Jason
    And how would a 4" flue instead of a 3" make any differnce in all that?

  15. #15
    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Default this simple test was done by a factory service rep

    years ago. i had just installed a new w. h. ,75 gal a.o. smith and it wouldn't lite off. i believe he replaced the burner assembly. the old 3" chimney wasen't large enough. i installed a 4 " right away. the flame moved away from the chimney. If you read my post ,you'll see I never stated this a fix
    for a new jersey inspector. My brother in law built his home there. the insp was a flamming a hole. I would have put his face on a milk carton

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