Need a "vent smoke test" video

Discussion in 'Water Heaters and Softeners' started by Renhoek, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. Jun 17, 2013 #1

    Renhoek

    Renhoek

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    Hi,


    Does anyone know where I can view a video of a "smoke test" to see if my 2004 State Select Hot Water Heater is drafting fast enough?

    I followed State's (now AO Smith) user manuals, and there IS air being drawn into the draft hood and out my garage roof vent. But it seems like it's really slow. But I can't be sure. I have to place the smoke (from a stick of incense) right at the edge of the hood for any smoke to get sucked in. There is no sign of a backdraft, thankfully.

    There are no videos available on YouTube, and State/AOS can't provide one to me either. I think their Tech Support people have given up on me.

    Any help is appreciated. I'd hate to replace the HWH and then have the same problem (the pilot AND burner go out every 15 minutes) if it's a venting issue. :confused:

    Thanks,


    RH in CA
    6/17/13
     
  2. Jun 21, 2013 #2

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    AO Smith was having a problem with their gas heaters. There is a filter under the heater that can get plugged not allowing enough combustion air to enter the chamber. Do a search for AO Smith gas heater filters.
     
  3. Jun 21, 2013 #3

    IFIXH20

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    Have you had this problem since 2004 (Pilot going out often) if not , Have you had any water heater or flue repairs? Is it very windy when the pilot goes out ? Have you cleaned the filter screen as John stated ? Have a drop out test been proformed ? You could very well have another issue besides the flue.
     
  4. Jun 26, 2013 #4

    Renhoek

    Renhoek

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    Hi,

    I just started renting this house last fall. This is the only problem so far, and three plumbers tried to fix this problem back then. No one made a permanent fix.

    There is almost no wind in my area. The problem occurs when the garage door is open or closed. The outdoor temperature and weather don't seem related to the problem. There are no flammable fluids in the garage or near the boiler.

    The Cordite fire arrestor has been vacuumed thoroughly on the bottom and on the top (through the combustion chamber, when I replaced the thermocouple/TCO switch months ago).

    Any other questions and comments are welcome. :)

    RH in CA

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    PS: see photos here:

    http://www.plumbingforums.com/forum/f12/water-heater-insufficient-4158/index3.html#post44561
     
  5. Jun 26, 2013 #5

    chukar

    chukar

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    Using a vacuum is not enough you either need to pull the screen out and manually clean it or you need to use a wire brush on both sides of it.
     
  6. Jun 26, 2013 #6

    IFIXH20

    IFIXH20

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    RH, You should stay on your landlord to take care of the problem. Gas water heater are very dangerous and should have a qualified professional repair them. I don't think the problem is in the flue, look at the plastic blue and red hot & cold water indicators at the top of the water heater. If the flue wasn't drawing proper those plastic indicators would have melted by now or would have rolled up. I think your problem is elsewhere and should have a professional take care of it. Good Luck....
     
  7. Jun 27, 2013 #7

    stevemachine

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    I agree definitely get a pro to fix it. I know I have seen tons of TCO switches fail if 3" venting was used on them. The issue keeps repeating unless the flue is fixed. But it's hard to judge online, I think the flue needs to be changed to 4" to meet codesl. Get your landlord to fix this. Like Ifix said gas water heaters aren't something to toy around with.
     
  8. Jul 13, 2013 #8

    Renhoek

    Renhoek

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    For anyone who cares, I finally found a video showing a smoke test (at about 3 minutes in):

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiA-yuOB1qM[/ame]

    Based on this video, my draft & exhaust vent is definitely my problem. The smoke I placed near my draft hood just barely got sucked in. Must be a dead squirrel cooking up in there! :p

    RH
     
  9. Jul 13, 2013 #9

    Renhoek

    Renhoek

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    Hi,


    I specifically asked if a 4" vent is needed for a 50 gallon tank, and the "experts" at AO Smith's Tech Support said that 3" is the correct size venting.

    If I can't trust them, who can I trust?

    Thanks for your reply,


    RH
     
  10. Jul 13, 2013 #10

    Renhoek

    Renhoek

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    From what I've read, the ceramic Cordite flame arrestor is press-fit into the bottom of the chamber, so it can't be removed.

    I have vacuumed the top and bottom using a Shop-Vac, and have carefully scrubbed the bottom with a refrigerator-coil brush. I don't want to crack the ceramic by using a wire brush.

    I've also pushed a guitar string through many of the holes and it hasn't made a difference, so I think the air is coming through OK.

    Thanks for your reply. Keep `em coming.


    RH
     
  11. Jul 17, 2013 #11

    stevemachine

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    What it comes down to is what the code says for sizing. Code always supercedes manufacturers recommendations. You would have to check your local code
     

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