Christmas morning with hot water heater

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Looks like my electric hot water heater has sprung a leak near the bottom next to the threaded hole for the drain. If I drained the thing and unscrewed the drain pipe I could probably reach in and daub something on the leak, but I'm guessing that wouldn't last and isn't worth the bother.
...So I want to replace this electric with a gas water heater. I'm guessing that means going to the county and pulling a permit so that an inspector can check my work? I have a gas furnace and I'm tired of having a $20 minimum gas bill every month all Spring, Summer and Fall for nothing.
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This is a simple appliance replacement. In many jurisdictions that does not require a permit. If you ask, don't go overboard with details. It only confuses some bureaucrats. Start now collecting the right tools and materials, black iron pipe, pipe cutter, threading dies (Harbor Freight is decent, Ridgid if you intend to do it for a living). Also pipe dope (Teflon type), clips and anchors, street ells, tees, ells, unions, nipples, caps and plugs. Lay out a plan and figure out exactly what you will need, maybe add a plugged tee for a future back yard barbecue. Box store pipe is OK, but being Chinese it is not always perfectly round and will be harder to start a thread than American made. A small mounted pipe vise is cheap handy accessory, too. The plastic covered SS corrugated gas pipe is under fire now for problems, so avoid that until they get the situation resolved. HTH
Joe
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Check with your AHJ. I know that around here, all gas work must be done by a licensed contractor. Not that I'd really do it myself anyway. It's not *hard,* mind you, but the consequences of getting it wrong are really, really bad.
nate
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Davej wrote:

You may not need a permit - it depends on how much your county wants to rip off its residents. Plus, if you start the bureacratic ball rolling, they may insist that the work be done by a licensed and blessed plumber. Best to call them and ask. Anonymously.
I don't think you'll need a bunch of pipe tools - dies, etc. Standard lengths from the box store should get you close enough to the new water heater such that a flexible pipe, three feet or so, can complete the connection.
I'm with you on saving money. I live in a duplex - converted to single family - and hooked the two gas supplies together. Then I had the gas company shut off service to one side. Saved $18.00/month.
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does your home have a convenient vent for the new gas water heater chimney? thats essential
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This 50 yo house still has the chimney that was used for the original oil furnace so I am thinking I can use that for the hot water heater. The current gas furnace has the PVC pipe scheme so the old chimney has been unused and capped off. If I position the water heater next to the furnace I shouldn't need to add more than a minimal amount of gas pipe.
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On 12/25/2011 1:47 PM, Davej wrote:

if that old 'chimney' is brick or pipe bigger than 5" diameter, you'll want to line the thing with a stainless or alumnimum liner to prevent condensation and insure proper draft. Just sticking a 3" line into an old chimney is done all the time, but is FAR from good.
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Steve Barker
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On 12/25/2011 5:32 PM, Steve Barker wrote:

There are also "direct vent" (two pvc pipes) and Power vent (one pvc pipe) units that will vent sideways through the wall with 2" pvc. But they are pricy.
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wrote:

Mine is 6 feet from the chimney. My daughter's is about 10 feet. Neither one is a forced vent.
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On 12/25/2011 7:18 PM, bob haller wrote:

It's not been an issue w/ an 8" square here in 60-some years.
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5" flue should be OK. I just ran a 4" liner for a water heater. That was because the flue was sized for a furnace and way oversize, probably abot 8 x 8". If it were 5" round I probably would have left it alone. Also depends on the climate. If it's FL I would not worry about condensation. If it's MN, then it's another thing.
Also, if poor draft were an issue, how do all the water heaters out there that are on larger shared chimneys with furnaces work in summer? Mine was on that big old chimney and worked fine for 27 years.
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Agree. The situation above usually comes up when an old furnace and water heater share the same chimney. The furnace is replaced with a direct vent one, leaving an orphaned water heater. The old chimney was sized for both. In the winter the furnace provided heat to keep the chimney hot enough so water vapor would not condense inside. With just the water heater, the large chimeny will now allow water to condense. Being acidic, over time it will destroy the chimney. Solution is the chimney liner. You can get away without one if the entire chimney is surrounded by heated home space, but that is usually not the case.
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wrote:

You will need a chimney insert (liner) for the flue to meet code - and for good reason. Put one in.
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On Dec 26, 12:02am, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

How do you know what the specific code is where he lives? I would think a 5" flue is perfectly fine in many municipalities.
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a old unused chimney should be camera inspected by pros before reuse
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On Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:30:00 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

I'd start here http://www.checkthishouse.com/49/water-heater-vent-pipe.html?utm_source=BlogGlue_network&utm_medium=BlogGlue_Plugin
http://www.inspectapedia.com/chimneys/Chimney_Flue_Size.htm The 1992 GAMA vent sizing tables for single-wall metal vent connectors attached to a tile lined masonry chimney uses Table 8. The result of those calculation using a 38,000 BTU water heater with a 3" draft hood and a 37,500 BTU boiler with a 4" draft hood connected to a 20' high chimney is to use a common flue with an area of 28 square inches or a 6" flue vs a 5" flue in the previous examples.
These tables also indicate that a 3" vent is not capable of venting the 38,000 BTU water heater. A 4" would be required. Also the flow area of the chimney must not be more that 7 times the area of the smallest vent area. Therefore, 7 x 7.065 = 49.455 vs 28, a 6 inch flue pipe is ok. The maximum size flue that could be used is 8 inch at 50.3.
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Wow, so they say the 5" size is fine. I just need to watch for condensation and if I see any consider a 4" aluminum liner. Thanks.
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Interesting question about the condensation. I agree you should be fine with a 5" flue as long as it's sound and condensation should not be an issue. But how are you going to watch for it? It would seem to me the condensation would just run down inside the chimney and you'd never see it. Unless you sent an inspection camera down the chimney on a cold winter day. Or had some inspection port you could access, etc.
That's one of the problems with condensation in a chimney. You don't know it's occuring and no easy way to see the damage that it causes.
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On Tue, 27 Dec 2011 12:22:44 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

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On Dec 27, 3:39pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

What cleanout open? My chimney doesn't have any cleanout opening.
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