Sawdust and gas water heater

My workshop/garage contains a gas fired water heater. This makes me a bit uncomfortable as I don't know if this is a fire hazard with the sawdust in the air. Should I be concerned? Is there anything I can do, short of replacing the water heater with an electic unit?
Otto (Master Maker of -really- expensive firewood, and I don't even have a fireplace)
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Otto Hoel wrote:

Mine does too, and a gas furnace.

My house is still standing after operating this way for about 30 years... 'course I don't worry about my dust collector exploding either.

If you're really concerned shut the water heater off while you're creating dust.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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I'm guessing you already know this, but you should really worry about fumes from finishes, glues, solvents, and such. As for dust, I am NOT an expert, but if you can stand to breathe in the shop you probably don't have a high enough concentration for an explosion. I would be concerned about dust building up within the WH firebox and the WH enclosure.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.bill.pounds.net/woodshop

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Otto,
I can't address the danger of your gas heater since we don't know if the gas burner uses the inside air, or like mine, is an enclosed unit that draws all its air from outside and vents (obviously) to the outside. Besides, I'm no expert on the subject but like everyone else, here's an opinion and it's worth everything you paid.
If the burner and pilot light (if it has one) are clearly exposed and use the inside air, I don't think I would be as worried about a saw dust explosion or fire as much as I would be concerned about volatile fumes from finishing materials (oil based products) as being an explosion/fire danger. You need a pretty heavy concentration of fine saw dust particles in the air before they'll ignite according to the articles I've read on static electricity causing fires in dust collectors.
Converting to an electric hot water heater is probably not to expensive for the hardware and installation but the monthly cost of electricity for that thing can eat your lunch and that's the reason I switched to gas. But if its the only viable thing to do and you feel safer.. then that's what you should do.
Bob S.

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Well, opinions are why we're here, right? :)
Yes, it has a pilot light, and yes, it uses inside air. And what I didn't think of, probably because it is hardly ever on here in Florida, is that I also have a gas furnace. But I will not worry about the sawdust, since y'all tell me that it is not a problem.
But I sure will take note of the other thing I didn't think about; finishing. I can open the garage door and/or use exhaust fans when I need to work with such things.
Thanks for all your input. It's what makes the wreck worth reading.
Otto

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How much trouble would it be to enclose the WH & Heater? If it's next to or close to an outside wall you could put in a vent for intake (combustion) air.
Erik

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