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  • side direct-vent allowing offset

    New member here ... I'm not a plumber (but an engineer) and I'm working on a small addition to my house. I'll have to re-locate my LP gas water-heater (or it'll vent into the addition, I'm thinking that *might* violate code :-). Since my existing one is 25 years old, it doesn't have much life left and I suspect moving it will make it start leaking. So I'm shopping for a new one. I'll have professional help installing the thing, but I'm trying to do the product research.

    So I'm looking for a side-venting direct-vent gas water heater that allows an offset. I need an offset, because in the new location, if I go straight out the way a regular direct-vent does, I'll miss the inside-corner clearance spec. Some models seem to want 12" (which I would meet, but to the centerline of the pipe, but I think they want it to the vent hood) and others want 18", which I can't come close to. So I think I need one with a flexible vent kit; and the instructions (the code defers to manufacturers' instructions) needs to say the flex kit is allowed a horizontal bend in addition to the 90-degree bend coming out the top of the tank (so the place where the pipe goes through the wall can be offset from the centerline of the tank, away from the inside corner).

    State's direct-vent line comes standard with a flexible vent now, and the offset is allowed:

    http://www.statewaterheaters.com/lit...186589-001.pdf

    ... see Figure 26 on Page 18.

    I'm impressed by State because my existing (going strong after 25 years one) is by them (a brand called Penfield) but I don't like that they have a pilot instead of electronic ignition.

    So looking for opinions on State, and suggestions of other brands that might fit my needs (Bradford White has a flexible side-vent, but the instructions don't seem to allow an offset).

  • #2
    Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

    Bradford White with flex vent offers great options and flexibility when installing. You can call up tech support with more particular questions while on the job.

    Don't expect anything to last that long without proper maintenance.
    Last edited by Gettinit; 07-11-2012, 05:15 PM.
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    • #3
      Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

      I think Bizzy Bee Plumbing services your area. He is also on this forum every now and again.
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      • #4
        Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

        Is there any particular reason to go with a direct-vent as opposed to venting through roof? I could see direct venting on a two story house or if your heater will be in the basement but otherwise, venting through the roof takes all the clearance issues away. Also, you could go with a power vent or a power direct vent in which both have no standing pilot. Then you could vent with PVC and have more options on where to terminate the vent. I would consider, since you are planning on moving the water, gas, etc. to consider tankless. May need help with sizing the unit and gas lines but is smaller and can even be put outside if needed. You should consult w/ your plumber about the best option especially with gas being involved, not only for the safety aspects but for the proper sizing of lines.

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        • #5
          Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

          Rusty, do you work for Brady Trane?
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          • #6
            Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

            Originally posted by Plumber26 View Post
            Is there any particular reason to go with a direct-vent as opposed to venting through roof? I could see direct venting on a two story house or if your heater will be in the basement but otherwise, venting through the roof takes all the clearance issues away.
            I was starting to second-guess my side-venting assumption. But I really want direct-vent (i.e. combustion air from outside) since my house is really tight. Are there direct-vent units that allow roof venting ?

            But even though the place where the water-heater will be installed is one-story, it's actually right next to a two-story part of the house (hence the inside-corner problem if side-venting). So to meet the spec (typical, it appears) that a roof-exit flue must go 2ft above any object within 10ft, it'd have to be VERY high, probably at least 10ft above the roof, possibly more like 20ft, because after clearing the lower end of the two-story gable it'd then have to clear its ridge. Plenty of draft though !

            Also, you could go with a power vent or a power direct vent in which both have no standing pilot.
            It'll be inside in a nook in the corner of my office, so I prefer to avoid the blower.

            I'm an engineer and mechanic and the guy helping me does maintenance of cryogenic systems. We'll be ok, but thanks for the warning.

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            • #7
              Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

              Originally posted by Gettinit View Post
              Bradford White with flex vent offers great options and flexibility when installing. You can call up tech support with more particular questions while on the job.
              They said on the phone that I'd be ok (with doing an offset with their flex vent), but it's not written down, so it makes me slightly nervous on inspection.

              Don't expect anything to last that long without proper maintenance.
              My current water heater (State) is going 25 years, and I've never done any maintenance, proper or not. Seriously. But my water is pretty clean. And it's in a very comfortable environment, in the main conditioned living space of the house.

              Never worked for Brady Trane. Rusty is my alter-ego (does the name Dale Gribble ring a bell ?)

              Thanks all !

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              • #8
                Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

                Originally posted by RustyShackleford View Post
                They said on the phone that I'd be ok (with doing an offset with their flex vent), but it's not written down, so it makes me slightly nervous on inspection.


                My current water heater (State) is going 25 years, and I've never done any maintenance, proper or not. Seriously. But my water is pretty clean. And it's in a very comfortable environment, in the main conditioned living space of the house.

                Never worked for Brady Trane. Rusty is my alter-ego (does the name Dale Gribble ring a bell ?)

                Thanks all !
                No, Dale Dribble doesn't...Shackleford did. These days water heaters do get 6, should do 8, can do 10. I still replace Jackson table tops but they do not last that long anymore.

                See if BW will send you something typed on a letterhead for you in cases the inspector decides to ask, otherwise I wouldn't chance it either. Good luck.
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                • #9
                  Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

                  Originally posted by Gettinit View Post
                  See if BW will send you something typed on a letterhead for you in cases the inspector decides to ask, otherwise I wouldn't chance it either. Good luck.
                  Finally got up with the right people at BW (had to talk to "product" and they had to talk to engineering) and it ain't gonna happen. They have not tested an offset vent arrangement and will not put anything in writing about it.

                  Oh well, I'd kinda written off BW anyhow, because, as far as I can tell, they only put 1" of insulation around their tanks instead of 2".

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                  • #10
                    Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

                    Originally posted by RustyShackleford View Post
                    Finally got up with the right people at BW (had to talk to "product" and they had to talk to engineering) and it ain't gonna happen. They have not tested an offset vent arrangement and will not put anything in writing about it.

                    Oh well, I'd kinda written off BW anyhow, because, as far as I can tell, they only put 1" of insulation around their tanks instead of 2".
                    Sorry if it was a wild goose chase. Better to confirm before moving on...Let us know who you went with and what you think of the install.
                    AllurePlumbing.com
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                    • #11
                      Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

                      I'm still trying to sort this out ... selecting a model and installation location for a direct-vent gas water-heater.

                      I think I'm going with State/AOSmith, because they seem to have more insulation than Bradford-White and my impression is that Rheem's quality is lower.

                      The key issue for me is inside-corner clearance. I think I can make the 18" spec, but I have a slightly weird situation that is not covered in their installation manual. On the wall that is 18" away, there is a casement window that opens outwards towards the vent. It'll probably come with 8" or so of the vent when it's fully open.

                      So technically I'm meeting the spec to the inside corner and to the window opening. But it sure seems like it could be a problem. I'm not quite sure if the issue with these particular clearances is fire safety, CO safety, or proper draft. I tried calling their tech support, but I get a person who only seems to be able to read the manual. She seems incapable of thinking outside the box to understand why I might be concerned, belligerent when I try to get through to her.

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                      • #12
                        Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

                        Great dealing with some of these "tech support" people. Most TS is tiered. You could try asking for their boss or a more qualified TS specialist. They hire these book readers to answer questions that are solved with, "turn the gas on" or "plug it in".

                        The operable window portion of the installation guide with respect to vent clearances, the concern is CO.

                        As far as insulation goes I wouldn't be too concerned if it were in a conditioned space. I would look at the energy guide and the water heater performance more so than the insulation. Some heater are using a foam insulation that is better than the fiberglass insulation.
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                        • #13
                          Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

                          Originally posted by Gettinit View Post
                          The operable window portion of the installation guide with respect to vent clearances, the concern is CO.
                          I guess since I clearly have enough clearance from the window opening, the CO thing does not really concern me. Nor the fire hazard. Seems to me like the inside-corner spec must have to do with weird air currents that prevent the thing from drafting properly.

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                          • #14
                            Re: side direct-vent allowing offset

                            Correct.
                            AllurePlumbing.com
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                            • drain cleaning
                            • utility locating
                            • conductor fault locating
                            • and other specialties.

                            Greensboro NC, Winston-Salem NC, High Point NC, Thomasville NC, Kernersville NC

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