Gas Water Heater Ventilation

In the last decade, more than 50% of households in the country use or have used a gas water heater. People choose gas due to its power and the low upfront cost of the unit. All gas water heaters require ventilation for the gases emitted during the water heating process. Continue reading to learn more about gas water heater installation. 

How Gas Water Heaters Work

Gas water heaters have a gas burner assembly at the bottom of the unit that includes the following components: gas burner, pilot, thermocouple, pilot gas supply, and main gas supply.

The pilot creates a spark, igniting it when it comes into contact with the gas. The pilot's spark then ignites the gas burner. As the gas burner operates, it emits carbon monoxide, which is highly toxic to humans. The water heater then guides the toxic material outside instead of instead the house. 

Both gas storage tank water heaters and gas tankless water heaters require ventilation.

Types of Gas Water Heater Ventilation

There are three main types of gas water heater ventilation: 

Standard Atmospheric

Standard atmospheric ventilation is the most common type of ventilation. The metal vent piping travels at an upward angle until it connects with the house's main ventilation system. Standard atmospheric ventilation is cost-effective, but it limits placement options. Improper placement can lead to problems.

Power Vent

Power vent water heaters cost the most, but they offer the most benefits and flexibility. A power vent system uses a fan to force toxins to travel as desired instead of using gravity. Power vent water heaters can use horizontal piping. Since the fan cools the air, you can also use PVC piping, which will lower the cost of the installation.

Direct Vent

A direct vent water heater does not attach to the house's existing ventilation system. Instead, it sends piping directly out through the ceiling or out a window. You can install a direct vent water heater somewhere outside of your other ventilation as long as you have a clear route upward.

Signs of Poor Ventilation

Look for the following signs that something is wrong with your water heater ventilation:

  • yellow pilot light
  • faulty gas valve
  • hissing noise
  • smell of gas
  • burn marks on the tank
  • pilot light won't stay on

If you do notice a problem with your gas water heater's gas system, turn off the gas immediately. Hire a professional to examine the situation before using the water heater again. Avoid open flames anywhere near the water heater.

Contact a local plumber to learn more about hot water tank installations