Can I remove this pipe next to water heater?

Discussion in 'Water Heaters and Softeners' started by lucymiella, Aug 31, 2012.

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  1. Aug 31, 2012 #1

    lucymiella

    lucymiella

    lucymiella

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    I want to remove these two metal things, but I'm not sure what they are or if they serve an important purpose.

    These things are located in a 10x8 or so water heater closet at the end of our 40-year-old house. The closet is accessed through its own exterior door, not through the house, and it is not temperature-controlled, but it does share a drywall wall with our bedroom. Which is barely insulated, but that's a different thread. :D

    The current water heater is a gas model that was installed a couple years ago.

    Neither of these things is connected to the current water heater at all, at least not below ceiling-level, where I can actually see what's going on.

    1) Thing A just seems to be a short metal vent-like cylinder that surrounds a hole in the ceiling. When I reach inside it, there is nothing above it on the other side of the ceiling in the attic.

    Is this left over from an old water heater? Can I remove this and patch the ceiling, or is there to ensure plenty of fresh air and no buildup of (fumes? gases?)?

    2) Thing B is a long metal tube that presumably goes through the ceiling. It's attached to the wall and open on the bottom. Nothing else is attached to it. (The copper tubing to its right runs right past it, but isn't actually attached.)

    Same question - is this left over from a previous water heater? Can I remove this and patch the wall and ceiling, or is it serving a useful purpose?

    Photo's attached.

    Many thanks!

    Lucy

    hot-water-heater.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  2. Aug 31, 2012 #2

    Beni

    Beni

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    That is your code required combustion air openings for the water heater (one high and one low). They need to stay just as they are. They provide make up air to the water heater. If they were removed, the flue gases could be drawn back down for combustion and spread to the rest of the house.
     
  3. Aug 31, 2012 #3

    lucymiella

    lucymiella

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    Thank you - makes perfect sense. Had a feeling that might be the case.

    Now, a related question - this is a 40 y/o house whose maintenance was apparently often deferred.

    So I looked up inside the one on the left (A) with a flashlight, and it's not blocked by debris - all looks good for unobstructed air movement.

    Obviously I can't check the one on the right without taking something apart.

    Should I do that, just to be on the safe side? Or is the fact that we're all still here, breathing and in one piece, enough evidence that the other air opening (B) is unobstructed?

    Thanks much!
     
  4. Aug 31, 2012 #4

    lucymiella

    lucymiella

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    And would it be a good idea to add a plug-in carbon monoxide detector/alarm in this closet?
     
  5. Aug 31, 2012 #5

    stevemachine

    stevemachine

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    CO detector is a good call. If you don't have enough air and the water heater fires, incomplete combustion can occur and CO is a by product of incomplete combustion. It's not very likely to happen but if it does at least you'll know.
     
  6. Sep 1, 2012 #6

    IFIXH20

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    I would recommend putting the co detector in the main house , putting it close to the water heater can cause false readings. Check the sensor info on the co detector before you buy, Most sensor have a life span between 2 & 5 years, if you find one that have a longer life I still would replace the unit after 5 years, most people aren't aware of this. On most co dectector when you press the test button you are testing the alarm NOT THE SENSOR. I think co detectors should be in every home that has a gas water heater, furnace,boiler they save lives.
     
  7. Sep 1, 2012 #7

    stevemachine

    stevemachine

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    Definitely agree after I re read the question. In the house/living area would be best.
     
  8. Sep 3, 2012 #8

    joshuameares

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    Typically CO is a byproduct of any combustion complete or incomplete. As long as the upper combustion is clear everything will be fine. Most counties where I am from only require an upper combustion anyways.
     
  9. Sep 3, 2012 #9

    Beni

    Beni

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    The fact that there are two combustion air openings shown, would tend to point that both are required by code, where the OP is located. Having designed projects from coast to coast, pretty much all the mechanical and plumbing codes used in the US require two combustion air openings for interior spaces with atmospheric gas water heaters or furnaces are located.

    Beni Bacon, PE, CIPE
     
  10. Sep 4, 2012 #10

    joshuameares

    joshuameares

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    Depending on what city you reside depends in the actual codes enforced. There is also something called going above and beyond. In my experience, and I mean from actually doing the jobs and getting my hands dirty, I've put upper and lower wherever upper is only required because it only takes an additional 5 minutes and 5 dollars of material.
     
  11. Sep 4, 2012 #11

    joshuameares

    joshuameares

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    And the fact it's not in a stand would also indicate that code might not have been followed because if it were code to have both combustions it would be code to be on a stand.
     
  12. Sep 5, 2012 #12

    Beni

    Beni

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    True, Code enforcement does vary quite a bit. The purpose of the second combustion air opening is to make sure the room air pressure remains equal / balanced to the outside. One combustion vent actually under certain conditions does not always allow for the gas vent to remain under negative pressure. That's the reason for one high and one low combustion air intake.

    BTW, while I have the engineering thing going, I've also run plumbing crews in the past building high rises here and there. And Yes I have over the years learned a lot from the plumbers too.
     
  13. Sep 5, 2012 #13

    Beni

    Beni

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    Actually the stand is required for garage locations. The intent is to keep the water heater flame above the level of any fuel vapors from a spill in a garage. Water heaters in interior closets do not require a stand.
     
  14. Sep 5, 2012 #14

    stevemachine

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    Yeah the stand thing is definitely only on garages.
     
  15. Sep 7, 2012 #15

    TWPUMPS

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    www.waterheatersafety.com/blog
     

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