Water Heater Inspection Guidelines
The following water heater inspection guide covers 3 types of the most popular water heater installations:
Gas, natural draft, tank water heaters utilizing galvanized steel vent pipe
Gas, power vent equipped, tank water heaters utilizing PVC vent pipe
Electric water heaters
There might be some minor discrepancies between jurisdictions which will in most (probably not all) cases concern seismic areas water heater installations. I’ll cover it within this water heater inspection manual but I would highly recommend to obtain a water heater installation permit from your local building department (usually required) and verify plumbing code requirements in your particular area.
Water heater […]
Water heater maintenance Part 3 explains sacrificial Anode Rod maintenance, vacation and extended shut-down of the water heater, water heater’s combustion air.
Second part of the tank gas water heater maintenance explains:
TPR valve maintenance, water heater tank drainage, and internal flu-way maintenance / venting.
Just like with every appliance, your gas water heater maintenance should be performed on regular basis. Neglecting it can compromise water heater’s operation.
The following are the general requirements for the garage gas water heater installation concerning its burner chamber height above the floor surface. Depending on the model / type / age of your particular water heater and your jurisdiction, they may or may not apply – always check before the installation.
If there’s no manual explaining the garage gas water heater installation requirements, contact the manufacturer and ask for instructions for your particular model (in many cases you’ll be able to obtain it online).
Gas burning appliances vent pipes produce heat when discharging exhaust gases to exterior.
Temperature of the vent pipe is transferred to the surrounding area and all the materials that are in the vent pipe vicinity. Problems start arising if those materials are combustible and located to close to the furnace, water heater vent pipe. If you apply heat to a combustible material for some period of time (that varies between materials), its point of ignition will gradually get lower and eventually little heat will be required to start a fire – that’s why you need a clearance between the vent pipe and a combustible material.
WH PVC vent pipes can be used only with power-vent /exhaust motor equipped hot water heaters also known as an induced draft gas water heaters (also CPVC and ABS but some manufacturer and local restriction may apply to all 3 types).
Combustion air is required for all types of fuel burning appliances in our homes to properly burn that fuel.
Combustion air has three functions:
It is required to properly burn fuel
To dilute exhaust gases that are being vented to exterior
To vent and cool appliances
The most popular fuel used in our homes is of course natural gas.
For every one cubic foot of gas, there are 10 cubic feet of combustion air needed for clean burning in addition to dilution and ventilation air.
There are two products out of a perfectly balanced gas combustion – carbon dioxide and water vapor, which are perfectly safe. […]
Chimney Flue Size Calculations
The following gas water heater and furnace chimney flue size calculations are based on Peoples Gas “Construction Guide for Gas Usage” in the city of Chicago and National Fuel Gas Code. Before applying any of the following rules, you must check your local building code requirements, and appliance manufacturer installation instruction.
Have you checked your house brick chimney lately… or whatever type of the chimney you have?
Did you have a new furnace or water heater installed / was your house chimney flue recalculated for those new appliances?
Make sure that you chimney flue size / diameter is correct; […]
Proper furnace / water heater venting is an extremely important issue, which depends on the performance of the house chimney / chimney flue or other exhaust assemblies. The conditions explained in this post also apply to the wood burning appliances.
Consequences of improperly assembled vent pipes, problematic chimney flue, deteriorating chimney walls can be sometimes fatal – fire and Carbon Monoxide poisoning are topping the list.
Therefore, combustion products from your furnace, water heater, wood burning fireplace, and any other appliance that requires some kind of an exterior vent / chimney, have to be properly properly discharged to the exterior.
Certain requirements […]
Improper house gas water heater venting could be hazardous for you. Have a look at the pictures, and get it right, get it now – it’s easy and it can save your life.
Water Heater Gas Connector
Illinois remained very conservative, as far as water heater gas connector type (or any other permanently installed appliance gas connection), which used to be black steel pipe only.
However, according to Peoples Gas / Nicor website “Updated Construction Guide” (just fill-up the pup-up from and you’ll be able to open it) the use of CSST – corrugated stainless steel tubing, as a final gas connection for permanently installed appliances, such as water heaters, furnaces and boilers is now permitted.
If you are planning to use CSST tubing as a water heater gas connector, make sure that you consult this […]
Water Heater TPR Valve
Water heater TPR valve must be installed on every water heater (gas or electric).
TPRV – Temporary Pressure Relief Valve
Water heater TPR valve is also known as Watts Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve. The pressure relief valve is usually located on top or side wall of the tank enclosure (tankless water heater safety valve, also known as T&P valve is located underneath the appliance).
Some old water heater tanks (1960s or earlier – they are still operating in some houses), were not equipped with pressure relief valves, and I would highly recommend replacement for safety and financial reasons […]