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  • question on orphaned water heater

    Hi guys,

    you guys are the pros and hoping you can hep me with this issue....

    had a home inspection done on a house we are looking to buy, turns out owners put a new direct vent furnace in 6 months ago so basically the water heater is only gas appliance venting through original chimney now. There was no liner added either. How do I know if this is ok or not? from what I understand there could be issues b/c the current flu is most likely too big to just vent water heater alone and can cause some negative pressure issues?

    Lastly the water heater is 14 years old so I am trying to get owners to replace it with a direct vent model based on it's age as well as how it is currently venteed now.......

    owners are saying that it is a functioning water heater with no issues...

    any help is greatly appreciated.

    regards,
    harvey

  • #2
    Re: question on orphaned water heater

    If the chimney is in good shape then you have nothing to worry about. I would have a chimney sweep come out and give you an assessment of the chimney, the heater should vent just fine alone if no issues are found.
    ________
    Yamaha Fzx750
    Last edited by TOPDAWG; 02-24-2011, 06:47 PM.
    Mike

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: question on orphaned water heater

      Originally posted by harveymasons View Post
      Hi guys,

      you guys are the pros and hoping you can hep me with this issue....

      had a home inspection done on a house we are looking to buy, turns out owners put a new direct vent furnace in 6 months ago so basically the water heater is only gas appliance venting through original chimney now. There was no liner added either. How do I know if this is ok or not? from what I understand there could be issues b/c the current flu is most likely too big to just vent water heater alone and can cause some negative pressure issues?

      Lastly the water heater is 14 years old so I am trying to get owners to replace it with a direct vent model based on it's age as well as how it is currently venteed now.......

      owners are saying that it is a functioning water heater with no issues...

      any help is greatly appreciated.

      regards,
      harvey
      A few months ago I had a customer of mine selling his house, and the people buying claimed the same things you're doing now.

      If there is a terracotta chimney that isn't cracked...it doesn't need to be re-lined. Negative pressure? Who is determining that..and how did they determine that?

      If the water heater is 14 years old and functioning, why are you trying to get a water heater out of them? I've seen water heaters last over 20 years, and I don't blame the people for not wanting to change it. Nowhere in the Plumbing or building code does it say..a functioning water heater needs to be replaced after 14 years. Are you going to walk away from the sale of a home over a $1,000 installation of a water heater?

      If the chimney has issues..it can be lined...no need to go to a power vent water heater.

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      • #4
        Re: question on orphaned water heater

        Asking the current owners to put in a power direct vent water heater over a standard heater is asking them to spend 3 times more than the cost of a standard water heater. If you are worried if the combustion gases are venting up the chimney you can hire a contractor to do a combustion analysis of the current water heater. This will find out if there is proper draft for the heater to work properly.

        Only time I seen chimneys needing liners is when they are deteriorated, or if a higher BTU rated unit is added to the chimney and the current chimney material is not rated for the higher Btu's
        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: question on orphaned water heater

          Originally posted by harveymasons View Post
          Hi guys,

          you guys are the pros and hoping you can hep me with this issue....

          had a home inspection done on a house we are looking to buy, turns out owners put a new direct vent furnace in 6 months ago so basically the water heater is only gas appliance venting through original chimney now. There was no liner added either. How do I know if this is ok or not? from what I understand there could be issues b/c the current flu is most likely too big to just vent water heater alone and can cause some negative pressure issues?

          Lastly the water heater is 14 years old so I am trying to get owners to replace it with a direct vent model based on it's age as well as how it is currently venteed now.......

          owners are saying that it is a functioning water heater with no issues...

          any help is greatly appreciated.

          regards,
          harvey
          The home inspector is correct. The water heater should not vent into a un-lined chimney. The chimney doesn't get hot enough to vent the combustion gas properly and a build up of soot develops inside the chimney.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: question on orphaned water heater

            The "inspector" has no say. It's grandfathered in. Almost every home around here has the same set up. They can't make them line the chimney just for the sake of lining the chimney.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: question on orphaned water heater

              To the original poster. Call the local code enforcement and ask them if they see any problem with a water heater vented into a chimney thats un-lined. Utimately you dont have to buy the house if the current owners dont satisfy you. Grandfathered or not working or not...its you that utimately must be satisfied or you dont have to buy the home.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: question on orphaned water heater

                First it needs to be determined what type of Chimney he has.

                I agree that a chimney needs to be lined, as there are 3 types of liners that can be used.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: question on orphaned water heater

                  Originally posted by ironranger View Post
                  The "inspector" has no say. It's grandfathered in. Almost every home around here has the same set up. They can't make them line the chimney just for the sake of lining the chimney.
                  They added a new furnace 6mos ago, so they changed the makeup of chimney, by disconnecting furnace from chimney, so grandfather laws, IMO, should not apply.
                  The problem in colder climates from too large of chimney,(masonary) & only a water heater hooked up, is condensation build up, that freezes in winter & causes clay liners & bricks to break apart. I don't see an issue with a class B chimney, or metal chimney.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: question on orphaned water heater

                    There are two issues here:

                    1. Whether it is a properly lined chimney and its integrity.
                    2. When the chimney was installed it most likely was sized to include the heating equipment. Once the heat source was removed, the chimney is likely too big to properly vent the smaller water heater BTU appliance, especially in the colder times of the year. This results in condensation forming inside attacking mortar joints and destroying a good chimney quickly. Not to mention very often inadequate drafting and spilling of vent gases at the hood or clean-out. Thats why the last person involved with changing the venting characteristics (heating co.) usually when done right installs an aluminum vent liner for the water heater only when he direct vents the heating appliance.

                    Good article by a respected submitter:
                    http://contractormag.com/hydronics/o...d_heaters_719/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: question on orphaned water heater

                      Thx for the replies guys. I really appreciate the input here. I will definitely call the local town municipal bld. dept and ask their opinion. This Chimney is a brick and mortar chimney. NO metal liner is present as far as I can tell.

                      My main concern in addition to the negativei pressure is the Winter time with all the cold air in the chimney the water vapor will condensate and cause the chimney to deteriate at a much quicker pace then if this condition was not present.

                      @ Flux, as far as the 14 yea rold water heater Wouldn't you agree that @ 14 years old one should take proactive action and replace the water heater? The alternative is waiting for it to go and dealing with 40+ gallons of water on your finished floor right? NOT trying to be rude but that is just my thinking on the water heater. From what I am told the life expentancy is 10 - 15 years. BTW- it is a rheem water heater.

                      lastly, I didn't realize direct vent water heaters were so much more. that being said maybe it would make more sense to have owners line chimney and replace water heater with same venting type?

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                      • #12
                        Re: question on orphaned water heater

                        3" to 4" aluminum chimney liner installs are not that expensive, and it would allow you to purchase and replace future heaters with economical non-powered rather than specially vented water heaters.

                        Don't be misled that a PVC vented water heater is higher efficient as it is not, (unlike condensing furnaces and water heaters) it only uses conditioned ambient air to mix with flue products to keep the PVC vent temp low

                        Remember power vented heaters require and use electricity, direct vented require special flue kits.

                        While a water heater may go 20+ years, 14 years is living on borrowed time and not worth the damage risk, IMO.

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                        • #13
                          Re: question on orphaned water heater

                          Well no one likes permits right the furnace replacement was most likely never inspected . Had their been an inspection done the inspector would have not passed it till the re lining was done. With the water heater being 14 yrs that's probably not bad really depends on the area . I thought most heaters only lasted around 10 yrs but since I have been replacing heaters for lowes I have seen 20+ yrs. As a plumber I think he should not be made to replace his heater but if you buy you should do your annual maintenance . But dead on with the liner have fun !

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                          • #14
                            Re: question on orphaned water heater

                            Why would you even consider asking the current HO to replace the WH?
                            Simply determine the price that you are willing to pay for the house knowing what needs to be done then hire to have it replaced once you take possession. This way you know what you are getting and can hire the correct plumber instead of settling for what will definitely be the cheapest bid.

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                            • #15
                              Re: question on orphaned water heater

                              Wbrooks, This issue came up at the home inspection well after the agreed upon price had already been determined. If anything the seller would give a credit based on the work needing to be done- be it a new WH or a new chimney liner.

                              Again the home inspector confirmed that there was no liner in the chimney currently and the water heater was orphaned there by itself.

                              My thought was being it's age (14 years old) and the chimney issue it may be better to kill 2 birds with one stone and have owners replace with direct vent and this way the Chimney will not even be needed for service.

                              Other option is have them line chimney at ~500-600 bucks but again I will still need to replace the water heater @ 14 years old it's living on borrowed time........

                              thanks again,

                              harvey

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