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Old 04-04-2014, 08:35 AM   #1
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water heater backdraft


I have a 14 year old gas fired., atmospheric vented hot water heater. It vents into a brick chimney. the chimney is shared with a gas lennox furnace that is probably around 20 years old. Both separated penetrations into the chimney. Not sure if they share the same route up. Both have proper pitch. 17 months ago I had all the old windows in the basement replaced with glass block windows. This winter I tore a hole in the basement wall to get into a crawl space where some pipes had frozen. The room where the water heater is located is 21 foot by 9.5 feet wide. I have plenty of combustible air. My thinking is to isolate the problem. I want to pull the water heater vent out of the chimney and light up a little newspaper and see if the chimney draws. If it draws then the chimney is fine. If the chimney is not drawing then I need a liner. I do not want to replace the heater with a power vent. Nor do I want to replace the furnace with a high efficiency. Who should I call, what needs to be checked?

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Old 04-04-2014, 10:01 AM   #2
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water heater backdraft


Do you have a fresh air vent from outside leading to the water heater area? A chimney liner is always a good idea but it will not help you at all with a backdraft. A chimney liner prevents combustion air from seeping between cracks in the masonry and permitting CO gas to enter your home or in freezing climates letting the moisture in the natural gas exhaust freeze in the chimney and cause damage. You need to get fresh outside air to the water heater and furnace area.

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Old 04-04-2014, 11:29 AM   #3
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water heater backdraft


If that rooms ceiling is 8 foot high it is only good for an input of
33600 BTU's what size is the water heater and the furnace
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:00 PM   #4
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water heater backdraft


The ceiling is 8 foot, how ever, there is a doorway with no door leading to another room of equal size. The water heater is 40 gallon a o smith. I put an extension pipe and new elbow on the vent pipe. The other vent pipe off the water heater was very short. I still have 1/4 inch per foot pitch. I do not know the size of the furnace. I have the paper work and can check lennox g11 e is the model.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:51 PM   #5
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water heater backdraft


Fire up the water heater and apply smoke at where the flue attaches. It should draw all of it in. Then fire up your furnace and see it it still draws it all in. Just for giggles install a CO2 monitor in the room.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:43 PM   #6
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co 2 detector built into alarm system. I light matches by the flue and it did not draw up the smoke. I will fire up the furnace and see what happens.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:39 PM   #7
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How old is the chimney and how big is the inside diameter and how far to the top. A water heater will not put out enough heat to draft properly, If its a brick chimney or clay lined you need a liner for it to draft, If your furnance has a draft inducer motor and you dont have a fresh air intake it will pull the air from the easiest source which could be from the water heater vent. Here they will not pass a old house with a brick chimney without a liner with a water heater hooked to it
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:44 PM   #8
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water heater backdraft


get us a picture of the furnace with upper door off.....see if there is a clean out door for chimney..or just pull one of the pipes off to see if its clogged..
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:52 PM   #9
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water heater backdraft


And get rid of that 3" vent pipe on the water heater. 4" is minimum size permitted in my area and for good reason.
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:20 PM   #10
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If it is not drawing all the smoke then you have a blocked chimney. Check from roof for squirrel nest...

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