Venting for Gas Water Heater?

I have a gas water heater located in a utility/laundry room in the house. In addition to the normal vent pipe coming out of the top of the water heater, there are two 6" diameter vent pipes coming from the attic into the utility room adjacent to the water heater. One pipe comes down 24" from the ceiling and the other pipe is 71. I've never seen anything like this, but I'm assuming it provides some type of venting.
Is this arrangement necessary? If it is necessary is there some other way that I can vent the area? The room is fairly small and I need a couple of inches to fit our washer and dryer in the utility room.
Thanks, Jim
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Its called combustion air.

Yes.
Your local code inspection official can tell you. Change it, and you might play hell when it comes time to sell, or you MIGHT create an unsafe condition. Thats just the way code is...

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They are required to provide combustion air and ventilation in the room. You might be able to relocate them and/or use rectangular ducts to get the room you need.
Don Young

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Jim Myers wrote:

You would really like mine. You need a source of air near the top (think mine says within 18" of the ceiling) and a source near the floor. Well, the clods that installed mine cut a hole in the floor to the crawl space without much thinking about floor integrity and put a grate over it and then cut a hole in the ceiling to the attic and put a grate there. They just pushed the attic insulation back, but the inspector made them install a metal collar to hold the insulation back. I didn't like air from the crawlspace getting into the house (the water heater space is in a little cove with the washing machine but open to the rest of house). And I didn't like hot air going from the house into the attic. So I looked in the book that came with the water heater to find out the options and the size of openings that I needed. Then I put two aluminum tubes down from the ceiling hole (maximum 18 inches from the ceiling (to reduce hot air flowing out) and 18 inches from the floor to replace the floor opening. In fact, I did not close the floor opening and it is not necessary but decided to leave it and to put a high quality filter in the cutout. I now plan on enclosing the space with a quick remove pannel
As to your questions, there are various options for getting air depending on if you take air from the outside, or the rest of the house. See if you can read a book that goes with a gas water heater (one of the BORGs or an appliance seller might let you read one) to find out the opening sizes you need. You probably need to leave teh short tube, but you may be able to change or get rid of the long tube depending on your floor plan.
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