Does the need to vent a gas water heater get factored into the
equation? Having learned a bit about water heaters in the last few
days, I see that the vent from my current heater (4") goes off to the
chimney. But, unlike the one from my furnace, this one has nothing to
stop warm air from exiting all the time. (The furnace has a shield
that opens and closes as the furnace cycles. In fact, one cold winter
day I found out that the furnace wouldn't fire because a bird had
flown into and blocked that mechanism. I soon had that cage thing
installed on the top of the chimney.)
Since the vent is not sealed to the water heater but sort of sits on
top with an opening of about an inch around it, it seems that warm
house air is free to move out and cold air is free to come in.
I'm guessing that the air movement is pretty static unless the heater
is on. The vent is at the bottom of the chimney and so is protected
from direct winds. Still, after insulating everything in the house to
hold down heating costs, a direct passage in and out is a little
As an aside, I'm putting in a Carbon Monoxide detector. I never
bothered before because the furnace has an automatic CO shutoff and I
didn't think of the water heater as a potential source for CO; I
thought of it more as the vent from the electric dryer. That thinking
has changed. Obviously it is no where near as dangerous as the
furnace, but not to be taken lightly either.
Hmm. There is another thought. I wonder if I'd save money by
installing a gas dryer rather than an electric one? Probably not
enough to justify replacing a working dryer for over $600.
Sure, its a vailid factor. Of course, it depends where the WH is
located. If it's in a basement, which is more typical, then this is
less of an issue than if it's in a living space. How big of an issue
is questionable. In any house, you want some air exchange and most
rely on some leakage, as opposed to using a heat exchanger.
Along the same lines, what about the air that moves up through the
water heater even when its not burning? I would think that's one of
the major standby heat losses, unless the flue up the middle is
insulated from the tank around it?
The solution, of course is one of the new high efficiency WH that are
In most areas, gas is cheaper as a fuel than electric. But for a
typical family, I wouldn't replace a working AC one with gas with the
idea that it's going to pay off.
Working on my water heater recently, I think the losses are higher than just
room air. It seems to me that the vent is actually carrying away air heated by
the internal heat exchange surfaces of the heater, thereby cooling the heated
water. Stick your fingers in there when the burner is off. On mine, there is
significant warm air coming up inside the heater.
This is an OT reply. I really mean it, Off Topic, way out in Left Field.
You don't have to read this if you have blood pressure problems. Honest.
If one lives in Suburban Mid-West, your home and the land that your home is
on is most likely yours. If a DIY really messes up with NG, Propane,
Venting, CO poising, then only the family involved is, well, ah, involved.
But in many major cities, NYC in this thread, a home owner is just as likely
to be a "Condo" owner. That is really an apartment building that was
converted into a "Condo". Yes, the owner's home is his' / her's / their's
but the potential is more than one home is involved if the DIYer screws up.
A natural gas fire in one home will just as likely affect more than one
other Condo home.
NYC is NOT known though out Western Civilization as having too few lawyers,
nor having a population reluctant to phone a lawyer with little or no cause.
The issues of a high density population living in a very high cost of living
environment creates issues of municipal oversight that is
incomprehensionable to many of my neighbor in suburban Detroit. And I only
lived in Baltimore, which was a lot lower population density than a some of
the Boroughs of NYC.
Simple example: the chimney that a Hot Water Tank vents to. Is this chimney
dedicated to that home only? Is it a converted fireplace chimney? Is
there a problem with the "cold air column" of an outside wall chimney during
winter? If the water tank's T&P valve pops, is the drainage water going to
affect any other home owner in the Condo?
If the OP was living out on Long Island in one of them Levittown places, I
would very much encourage him to DIY the hot water tank. He will need the
knowledge and the confidence building from doing so for later in life
(This is just IMHO, from my experience in Baltimore) But if He is living in
a condo situation inside NYC-- There is a risk (outside chance) a neighbor
might call a lawyer to demand that the installation be halted, and wait for
a licensed plumber and inspector to do the installation correctly before
the gas burner could be turned on... well that is a risk in lawyer packed
NYC. Plus, and this could be worse, I think the neighbor just might be
able to force the OP to pay for the Lawyer on top of going without hot water
when his wife returns.
Anyway just my OT opinions. Anyone may ignore my rant if you choose.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to find some plate steel for my butt when
the flaming starts.
On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 17:03:37 -0400, "Phil-In-Mich."
Good answer, not OT and worth thinking about. Not a condo but close
enough to other homes to affect them. There was a brownstone that blew
up a year back or so that did significant damage to other homes. The
guy responsible didn't care though because he died as I recall. BUt
there was more to that story, there was some love gone bad story and I
think he intentionally blew it up.
Hazardous amounts of CO are NOT generated in a properly functioning gas
flame. The chances of a gas water heater flame being deprived of sufficient
oxygen such that it produces untoward quantities of CO instead of CO2 is
I, for example, grew up in a home with gas space heaters. Aside from a
reluctance to remove my shirt in public or expose my tongue, I'm okay.
You will almost certainly save money.
Washers and dryers can be found for free on Craigslist.
during one of my remodels, i had them put in a new gas, energy efficient
water heater..................(it vents to the outside)
loudest damn thing i have ever heard(sounds like a rocket taking
off)...............................wish i could get my money back!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.