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Old 11-12-2016, 04:32 AM  
lhort
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I just thought that a space heater would be a fire hazard. Not something I would want to leave on unattended at night or when I was working and not at home.


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Old 11-12-2016, 07:43 AM  
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You can also set it up on a timer so that it begins circulating warm air, say, 1/2hr before there is a demand for hot water, and it doesn't have to be set to heat the space to a comfort level, just to circulate air warmer than the ambient temperature of the space.


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Old 11-12-2016, 01:22 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhort View Post

* All piping going out of the house meets code, doubled wall pipe, exhaust pipe above roof. I live in New York and if the weather is very cold (0-20 degrees or so) the fumes occasionally can be smelled in the basement.

* When this happens, the pipes are cold and have condensation, if I open the outside door to provide a draft then the pipe warms up and the fumes go up the exhaust pipe. However, now it seems that this is happening occasionally when the weather is in the lower 30s.

* My house is not super tight or energy efficient so a draft issue shouldn't really be a problem. There is no blockage in the vent pipes.

* I have a carbon monoxide monitor and it has never gone off.

* Could it possibly have anything to do with my heater being older and maybe doesn't burn as hot as it should to warm the exhaust pipe in cold weather?
All are signs of back-drafting.

As a gas model WH ages and has either hard water introduced and/or does not have sediment(s) drained on a regular basis, it coats the bottom plate and flue causing it to make less actual hot water (and less actual flue temp). It cannot be cleansed or serviced as easily as an electric WH.

Is your gas furnace vented through the same vent?

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Old 11-13-2016, 05:10 AM  
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Hi. The oil hot air burning furnace has it's own chimney. The water heater's flue pipes are only used for this and run up the outside of the house.
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Old 11-13-2016, 07:35 AM  
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Did you click on the blue high lighted text on my post? That should give you an idea of what may be going on.

When a furnace and WH are vented together (which yours aren't), the method of vent connection may cause a back-draft. Can you post a photo of the install?
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Old 11-14-2016, 06:52 AM  
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If there was a problem going on like depressurization or not enough air wouldnt installing a powervent heater have the same problem or exasperate the problem for instance when the furnace was on?
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Old 11-14-2016, 12:04 PM  
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If there was a problem going on like depressurization or not enough air wouldnt installing a powervent heater have the same problem or exasperate the problem for instance when the furnace was on?
Yes, it would most likely exasperate the problem..

You would solve that with a Power Vent WH. The combustion air is forced out and also draws fresh outside air.
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Old 11-14-2016, 12:11 PM  
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http://naturalgasefficiency.org/for-...ombustion_air/
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:11 PM  
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Good info Neal.

Some info was left out. Below is the website page with more info-

-EQUALIZ-AIR SYSTEM-

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Old 11-15-2016, 04:58 AM  
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The amount of heat going up the flue would be the same new or old as would be the combustion air situation. Usually with new problems you can trace the source to something else 'new' or changed, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Double-wall pipe will be cooler on the outside than single-wall, and coupled with seasonal changes that might account for the condensation but not the odor.

Are you positive the entire flue is clear? And how high above the roof is it's exit? Addinf a couple feet of height often solves problems with reversed flow. All gas appliances need a combustion air source and that would also give a bit of air movement to help carry away some humidity too so that's where I'd go after that. Also look down into the W/H flue opening; many have a metal spiral meant to slow the heat rise for better heating and sometimes they rust/collapse/get distorted. That part can be safely removed if it's damaged though you'll lose some efficiency.

According to Rich Trethewy on This Old House, new gas W/H's are more efficient but the gains are smaller than with electric ones so don't replace it for that reason alone- it won't pay off for you in reduced operating costs.

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