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LP water heater sooting up

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  • LP water heater sooting up

    I have had my water heater (LP gas) soot up twice. The first time, a bat was spread eagled across the flue at the top of the heater. This time, no bat or any other blockage. I did a thorough cleaning including removing the spiral flue liner and cleaning the flue (in the heater) and the burner etc. The flame is a beautiful blue with a small yellow tip (as the manual says it should be) Any one have an idea on what could have caused the sooting? Oh yes, I did the "smoke test" after cleaning to test for proper draft. TIA, Jim

  • #2
    Re: LP water heater sooting up

    Originally posted by Pipestone Kid View Post
    I have had my water heater (LP gas) soot up twice. The first time, a bat was spread eagled across the flue at the top of the heater. This time, no bat or any other blockage. I did a thorough cleaning including removing the spiral flue liner and cleaning the flue (in the heater) and the burner etc. The flame is a beautiful blue with a small yellow tip (as the manual says it should be) Any one have an idea on what could have caused the sooting? Oh yes, I did the "smoke test" after cleaning to test for proper draft. TIA, Jim
    ...is it STILL sooting up? if not perhaps you had a temporary 'block' on the chimney/exhaust pipe?

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    • #3
      Re: LP water heater sooting up

      Originally posted by Pipestone Kid View Post
      I have had my water heater (LP gas) soot up twice. The first time, a bat was spread eagled across the flue at the top of the heater. This time, no bat or any other blockage. I did a thorough cleaning including removing the spiral flue liner and cleaning the flue (in the heater) and the burner etc. The flame is a beautiful blue with a small yellow tip (as the manual says it should be) Any one have an idea on what could have caused the sooting? Oh yes, I did the "smoke test" after cleaning to test for proper draft. TIA, Jim

      Rick,

      I built a house in Connecticut and installed a State Censible water heater, which I converted from a natural gas setup to LP. I had the gas pressure correct at 11" wc, and the correct nozzles. The water heater sooted up on me twice as well but no creatures of the night were involved as I'm a child of the light.

      I had to remove the flue baffle which was a real pain due to overhead ductwork. I sold the house later ~ 1990 so don't know if it ever sooted up again. I lived there five years and it sooted up twice.

      Anyway, I had the manufacturer's rep over and he stated rather emphatically that the water heater was designed to be fired with natural gas and so there would always be some minor sooting if fired with LP. I found this answer to be less than satisfying. I called State twice and was on hold for so long I finally gave up. Ask me if I sell State water heaters.

      Soot is normally the result of the flame impinging on some relatively cold object or material which prevents complete combustion. FWIW: I did not observe the flame impinging on anything in my water heater.

      Probably not much help for you but that was my experience.
      Time flies like an arrow.

      Fruit flies like a banana.

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      • #4
        Re: LP water heater sooting up

        One of the causes of sooting up is lack of available combustable air for the burner. I have run into this several times where the combustable air vents are restricted or completely plugged up and quickly sooting up the flue and burner assembly. It may not always be obvious, but when the conditions are right the heater will soot up. What throws some people off is when they open the door to the heater the flame is bright blue, but when its closed, the problem starts all over again.

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        • #5
          Re: LP water heater sooting up

          Ihad a gas boiler once sooted a few times I found the problem to a bad burner found looking at burner with sunglasses or welding glasses on found the bad burner so try looking at the flame that way good luck

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          • #6
            Re: LP water heater sooting up

            Originally posted by jeff View Post
            Ihad a gas boiler once sooted a few times I found the problem to a bad burner found looking at burner with sunglasses or welding glasses on found the bad burner so try looking at the flame that way good luck
            Can you explain bad burner to me? do you mean the burner itself, or the flame when looking at it? Thanks.

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            • #7
              Re: LP water heater sooting up

              Originally posted by plumb4life View Post
              One of the causes of sooting up is lack of available combustable air for the burner. I have run into this several times where the combustable air vents are restricted or completely plugged up and quickly sooting up the flue and burner assembly. It may not always be obvious, but when the conditions are right the heater will soot up.
              Plumb4life: Exactly so. In my situation the furnace was located next to the water heater and never sooted up. It ran very clean, and believe me I checked. It was also a natural gas furnace which I converted to LP. That's why the State manufacturer's rep claim seemed convenient rather than true.
              Time flies like an arrow.

              Fruit flies like a banana.

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              • #8
                Re: LP water heater sooting up

                We had several State water heaters with bad pilot tubes soot up.

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