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  • Water heater problem

    My daughter just called me with a strange water heater problem. The two plastic flanges around the inlet and outlet pipes on the top of the heater are melting! Heater is natural gas. Anyone have any idea of cause? Solution?

  • #2
    Re: Water heater problem

    Maybe partially blocked exhaust vent causing backdraft onto the top of the heater?
    Poor Planning On Your Part Does Not Constitute An Emergency On My Part!!
    You can fire me...but you can't tell me what to do!

    Derek

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    • #3
      Re: Water heater problem

      ...YIKES!!! HOW HOT IS THE WATER??

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      • #4
        BIRD NEST in the vent.

        Hope that she also has carbon monoxide alarms.
        I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
        It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
        "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

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        • #5
          Re: BIRD NEST in the vent.

          Flue is back drafting. Shut it down.
          No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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          • #6
            Re: BIRD NEST in the vent.

            Back pressure, not back draft.

            Chimney is blocked somewhere pipestone.

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            • #7
              Re: BIRD NEST in the vent.

              I like the thought of the congested venting. The way we used to check for this condition was to turn on the hot water for a plumbing fixture until the heater fired back up.
              We would then wait several minutes just to make sure all was venting and take some matches and light them. By putting the match in the open space between the the bottom of the draft diverter and the heater you should notice that the flame on the match is being pulled towards the vent which would indicate that the vent is drawing properly. Or will notice that the match is being blown out from exhaust gasses escaping from the bottom of the diverter which would indicate that something could be congesting the vent. It could be something as simple as a collapsed vent cap.
              The only oddity about performing this test is that when vent piping is cold such as an initial start up of a brand new heater, the vent will sometimes not draw the exhaust gasses up until it gets warm. You may have to wait 15 minutes to get the proper results.

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              • #8
                Re: BIRD NEST in the vent.

                Thanks for all the replies. We have someone on it (plumber) and I will let you know what we find. FYI the heater is only about 2 years old and was installed by a licensed plumber. (longtime friend of my son-in-law)

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                • #9
                  Re: BIRD NEST in the vent.

                  You might find the chimney is clear and getting a downdraft when the dryer and/or exhaust fan are on. Check for gaps in the return duct plenum. Dirty air filters also will contribute to this.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Newly-built BIRD NEST in the vent.

                    Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                    You might find the chimney is clear and getting a downdraft when the dryer and/or exhaust fan are on. ...
                    When a vacuum in the house overcomes a convective draft, usually the hot combustion gasses are diluted by the air drawn down the chimney and cannot melt anything.
                    At this time of year a blockage from a newly-built nest is likely.
                    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
                    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
                    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

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                    • #11
                      Re: Newly-built BIRD NEST in the vent.

                      Originally posted by Robert Gift View Post
                      When a vacuum in the house overcomes a convective draft, usually the hot combustion gasses are diluted by the air drawn down the chimney and cannot melt anything.
                      At this time of year a blockage from a newly-built nest is likely.
                      It's not about pulling the gases that are already in the chimney but the hot gases coming horizontally out of the top of the heater through the diverter.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Newly-built BIRD NEST in the vent.

                        UPDATE: Daughter bought another detector for safety sake and put it right in the furnace room near the heater. It has a digital readout and it is at zero. The flue was cheked and is clear. However, last September they had some one check the house for heat loss areas and some extra insulation etc. At that time they discovered a partial block (collapsed cap) and replaced it. She doesn't know when the plastic rings melted and right now we think it was when the flue was partially blocked. I am going there today (200 miles away) and will do further checks around the return air , the match test etc. Thanks for the help.
                        Jim

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