Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Short Compilation of Venting Issues.

This furnace is also accompanied by a water heater. Neither are vented up to code; even though the homeowner, an 80 year old woman, swore up and down that her installer son did this right. What she needed was a flex chimney liner which is code in my neck of the woods for an 80% efficient furnace with a vent motor. The condensation and acids will eat up a chimney as these vent gasses are not hot enough to get these acids out.

Supposedly, this was installed by a licensed contractor. Note that the vent pipes are taped, not secured with screws. There's a piece of 5 inch single wall into a 4 inch Bvent elbow into a 4 inch single wall pipe. If he was licensed, why not pull a permit?

 Okay, the picture of the water heater shown above isn't just a venting issue. It says right on the side, "for mobile home use". So why am I picking this apart? What few people realize (and I was guilty of this in my house) is that mobile home water heaters come in two versions, inside and outside accessible. These are also known as natural vent and direct vent (not to be confused with power vent water heaters). The direct vent water heaters go inside of a closet and have a sealed combustion intake that feeds under the floor and are almost always in double wides. The natural vents in a mobile home are supposed to be installed in a mechanical room accessed from the OUTSIDE only. If you install a natural vent in this fashion, it will suck all the air out of your living space and even if it doesn't, it won't stay lit or work properly. The homeowner told me that a weatherization company installed this water heater two years ago, but the serial number revealed it was made in 2002. I condemned the water heater straightaway and told the homeowner this needs to be replaced with a direct vent model. So why do people cut corners with these? The answer is money; a direct vent water heater for a mobile home costs twice as much as a natural vent. If this were to cause a fire, your homeowners insurance company may refuse to pay your claim.

This is another shot of that furnace vent in the 80 year old woman's home. Again, no flex liner and there was no inspection sticker on the equipment, which was the case with all of these. The inspector would have failed all three of these straightway. In the case of the 80 year old woman, I noted her belligerence as well as the venting methods and a leaking dielectric union on the water heater I fixed. In the case of the mismatched venting, I noted and suggested to the customer to get this fixed soon. She was grateful and appreciative, which made my day. Again, if you want to do this for yourself or a friend, at least take the time and spend the few dollars to do it right. I would at least pull a homeowners permit if this is allowed in your area, but a licensed contractor SHOULD pull a mechanical permit. Every one of these venting situations is an accident waiting to happen. Maranatha!

2 comments:

Tommy Hopkins said...

Yikes! I can't believe the homeowners had that mobile home water heater installed inside their house. I hope they are aware how dangerous it is to have a water heater installed improperly. I wonder what the contractor was thinking when he installed it? Anyway, glad you saw that issue. All the best with that! :)

Tommy Hopkins @ AccuTemp

Walter Grace said...

I fix appliances now if that tells you anything.