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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I'll try to keep this as short and straight forward as possible.


This past winter, after many years of working perfectly, my Bradford White 40gal Gas Water Heater began to short cycle and would rarely satisfy the thermostat when called upon. I researched the issue exhaustively, did minor fixes (cleaned burner, swapped ignitor & sensor – none of which fixed the issue) and ultimately kept coming back to “vent blockage” as being the most likely source of the problem. **The water heater's malfunctioning coincided with a horrible arctic freeze in our area (I live in the midwest).**


My pvc vent sticks out of the roof and exits through an elbow terminal that appears to be about 16”-20” above the roof (SEE “PIC A”). When looking at it outside on the roof, I could see ice hanging from the pvc vent terminal where condensation had been dripping and ultimately froze into an icicle that touched the roof. Hence, I came to the conclusion there was ice in the pvc vent so I decided to baby the issue for the remainder of the winter to see if it would fix itself come spring.


Low and behold, once outside temperatures warmed up everything began working great again. I have had ZERO ISSUES since late February 2019 (I'm posting this on July 26 2019). I'm pretty sure I was correct in that ice had formed in the pvc vent and once melted, the problem fixed itself.


The issue is that winter will be here soon and I don't want to run into the same issue again.


I went up in the attic and measured the pvc vent and checked with a level to see if there was a pitch (SEE “PIC B”). The area of PVC marked in RED has a very slight pitch the goes lower in the direction of the water heater (meaning condensate would drain back toward the water heater). The area marked in blue is pitched in the opposite direction (meaning any ice that melts is likely pooling in the 90° elbow marked in the YELLOW CIRCLE.


1.) Should I just raise the Blue / Green PVC Area to get the pitch to flow in the direction of the water heater?


2.) If the answer to question #1 is “Yes,” then I need to get a condensate hose connected to the blower (SEE “PIC C”) in order to properly drain condensate. Can I just buy some flexible tubing from Home Depot or Menards and connect to one of the two drain outlet mounts circled in GREEN in “PIC C” and then run the tube down to the drain circled in GREEN in “PIC D”? If so, do I need to run circles in the the plastic tube to form a trap or two? Also do I leave the end of the tube that's in the drain uncapped? If so, wouldn't it allow Carbon Monoxide to escape through the tube and into the house?


Sorry for the long post as I wanted to make sure I included all info to give a proper picture of what my installation looks like. Hopefully I provided all the necessary info. Please see ALL additional pics below and let me know if you have any questions.


Thank in advance for your help!
 

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You need to install your drain that you found on the tank use clear plastic pipe and make sure it does a full circle loop prior to draining in the floor drain. Make sure your vent is pitched toward the roof all the way out. The roof being the high side. It must self drain.


Install book https://www.bradfordwhite.com/sites/default/files/product_literature/45917E.pdf


Condensate kit https://www.bradfordwhite.com/bulletin-instruction-supplement-all-ttw1-ttw2-and-pdx-models


I'm talking about the silicone hose connections on the black rubber that your pvc attaches to.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the response! So just to confirm...


1.) I am pitching the pvc vent highest at roof so that condensate runs back toward the appliance?


2.) I am attaching clear silicone hose to one of the black drain outlets on "PIC C". The question here is, won't this hose now allow carbon monoxide exhaust into the house where the tube exits to the drain? I ask because when removing the caps on the black rubber drain outlets (with the water heater running) you can feel air blowing out of them. Please can you clarify?
 

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Thank you for the response! So just to confirm...


1.) I am pitching the pvc vent highest at roof so that condensate runs back toward the appliance?


2.) I am attaching clear silicone hose to one of the black drain outlets on "PIC C". The question here is, won't this hose now allow carbon monoxide exhaust into the house where the tube exits to the drain? I ask because when removing the caps on the black rubber drain outlets (with the water heater running) you can feel air blowing out of them. Please can you clarify?

Yes on number 1 on number 2 when you run the hose form a vertical loop on the side of your tank on the way to your drain. The loop will fill with condensate and seal the vent.



From BW brochure:
If a Bradford White drain kit is not purchased, the drain hose material must be either flexible PVC or silicone with inside diameters as specified below. Hose clamps that will ensure a leak proof connection at the drain hose must also be used. Hose clips will be required to create a 6” diameter loop in the drain hose routing below the jacket head.


If they would have ran your vent directly out the side of your house versus out the roof they could have pitched the vent to drain to the outside and eliminate your freezing issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay. Great. This all makes sense so far. Thank you Ghostmaker!


Bradford White couldn't tell me any details regarding the suggested condensate kit in the linked document (Part # 239-43869-00) so, since I couldn't verify it would even be long enough, I figured I'd be better off just buying a roll and cutting to fit.


So I picked up 1/2” ID x 5/8" OD "vinyl" tubing (See attached pics). The specs say it is made of PVC with excellent resistance to acids. It says “45 PSI @ 70F (21C)” with max working temp 175 and max working pressure 55 PSI.



  1. I'm pretty sure the vinyl tube I purchased will work fine but wanted to run it by you for your thoughts?

  2. You pointed out the BW brochure info calling for a 6” diameter loop in the drain hose routing “below the jacket head.” What exactly is the “jacket head”? I'm pretty sure it is the top of the water heater but not 100%.

  3. Should I add water into the tube prior to installing so the trap is sealed?


Thanks in advance for your ongoing help!


P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }
 

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The jacket head is the black rubber thing where that hose will attach. What you have is fine for hose.


It should seal itself if your running air.
 

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Excellent. I will implement as soon as I get a minute and report back. Again, thank you for your help on this! I GREATLY appreciate it!! :smile:
 

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Climb up onto your roof and cut off that goose neck that's shown in pic 1. The vent gas should never be forced to go downwards if possible. Just the bare pipe sticking straight up is fine (like the other plastic flue pipe to the right of that one).

If you are worried about stuff falling into it you can put a tee on the top (with the middle of the tee shoved onto the pipe).

In pic 2, the part that you have circled is a valid concern. Try to prop up that corner or dig out the other corner so that you can have more pitch. If you need to you should be able to cut a little piece out of the vertical pipe and put it back together with a coupling easy enough in order to lift up that corner.

After that, you should insulate that pipe, especially the horizontal sections. That pipe needs to stay warm when the heater's running.

Foam pipe insulation would be best, but dumping some more attic insulation on top would probably work too.
 

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Climb up onto your roof and cut off that goose neck that's shown in pic 1. The vent gas should never be forced to go downwards if possible. Just the bare pipe sticking straight up is fine (like the other plastic flue pipe to the right of that one).

If you are worried about stuff falling into it you can put a tee on the top (with the middle of the tee shoved onto the pipe).

In pic 2, the part that you have circled is a valid concern. Try to prop up that corner or dig out the other corner so that you can have more pitch. If you need to you should be able to cut a little piece out of the vertical pipe and put it back together with a coupling easy enough in order to lift up that corner.

After that, you should insulate that pipe, especially the horizontal sections. That pipe needs to stay warm when the heater's running.

Foam pipe insulation would be best, but dumping some more attic insulation on top would probably work too.

The manufacturer wants the 2 90's out the roof to keep out the weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Okay. I went up in the attic and raised the PVC vent elbow in question so that condensate should no longer pool there (see photo). I verified the entire length of the PVC is pitched to now drain condensate back toward the water heater.


SIDENOTE: The pitch is VERY SLIGHT so I can't be sure it will be enough but I guess I'll know come winter if problems arise again. Is there a way to measure / confirm the pitch is great enough?


I also covered all horizontal PVC pipe with attic insulation. After reading other threads I opted to pass on wrapping the PVC in foam insulation due to possible freezing issues.


I also installed the condensate drain on the water heater with the 6" diameter loop below the jacket head and filled water into the tube to seal the trap (see photos).


All seems to be working great for now! :smile: I will try and remember to come back and update this thread with the status come winter time.


Please have a look and let me know if there is anything else you think I should do to assure this is fixed properly.


Thanks!
 

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