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Old 01-10-2012, 11:49 AM   #1
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Pipe vibration from power vent water heater


I just moved into a house that has an AO Smith power vent water heater, and it vibrates pretty terribly when running. I think the vibration is coming from the vent motor. It is right under the kitchen and you can feel the vibration in the kitchen floor (lightly), and I can feel the vibration pretty seriously on the shower valve handle in the bathroom next to the kitchen.

The house was built in 1953 and most of the plumbing is galvanized (original). Some of the last few feet of piping for the kitchen sink, water heater, and water softener is copper, though.

I tried contacting AO Smith to see if this much vibration from their heaters is expected, but of course they were mum. Does anybody know if I should be concerned about this? I'm worried the vibration will eventually cause a leak somewhere.

Also, as an aside: everywhere I've looked has said dielectric unions are absolutely necessary when joining different metals. When I had a plumber in to do some slight remodel work earlier, I asked him about them and he - a plumber with 30-some years of experience - completely dismissed them as unnecessary, saying he's never seen a problem with galvanized directly on copper. I regret not pushing him to install them, but I don't see any obvious corrosion issues on the outside of the pipes. The pipes are old and nasty, though, so that may complicate noticing anything. Any opinions on this?



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Old 01-10-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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#1 Those old steel pipes need to go. If there not leaking now they will at some point and also will plug up from the inside out. Even if there was no vibration.
It's never a good Idea to ever have any two diffearant metals in direct contact.
It could be the bearings, loose bolts, broken fan causing the vibration.
Once you figure out which one it is I'd use 3/4 Stainless Steel flex lines to connect it to the plumbing.


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Old 01-10-2012, 12:00 PM   #3
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Well, it's in my long-term plan to replace all the plumbing. I know it's a ticking bomb. Thankfully they're not too rusted on the inside. What I was getting at was - is this something I should immediately rectify? Thanks.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:56 PM   #4
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yes vibrations can cause leaks...especialy on old pipes....check loose ventor motor on top of heater as joe mentioned...if it is a bad motor it can be replaced....don't let this continue..ben
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:39 PM   #5
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vibration might be something in the squirrel cage dirt leafs making it unbalanced shoulf be able to unscreww the motor and fan off the mounting to check squirrel
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galvanized , heater , pipe , vibration

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