Moving gas water heater

Old 02-20-01, 09:58 AM
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I am planning to finish the basement in my <1 yr old home. Currently, the water heater (gas) and furnace are positioned in an approximate "L" layout. In order to maximize the livable space of the finished basement, I would like to move the water heater about three feet from where it is now so that it is more in-line with the furnace. My questions:

1-Is there any reason why I should not move the water heater (i.e. was it placed there for a specific reason)?

2-How much space should I allow inside of the new "furnace" room (i.e. how close can I build the walls to the appliances without compromising safety/replacement)?

3-After turning off gas supply to the water heater, do I need to unhook the flexible hose running gas to the heater, or can I move the heater while it is still attached to the gas line? If I do need to unhook the hose (which I suspect I will have to do), do I need to take any precautions regarding gas remaining between the shut off valve and the water heater (less than about 2-feet worth of length).

4-I can handle unhooking and reconnecting the water lines, but the vent-work is something I haven't worked with before. Considering that I will only be moving the heater a short distance (approx. 3 ft), do I need to make any special adaptations to the existing vent-work? I suspect that I will have to add some additional venting and the slope of the chiminey may change slightly. Should this be a concern?

Thanks for any help!

Old 02-20-01, 07:04 PM
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Hi: Papa John

The correct answers to questions # 2 & 3 & 4 are based strictly on the local building codes for your city. Within this forum, anyone can offer generic advice but we do not have access to the rules and codes.

Venting is a major concern. One that needs to be addressed correctly for safety and health. The vent pipes angle will be altered with the relocation of the water heater.

Incorrectly angled, the venting fumes could be restricted or slowed down too much, as a result. This would cause some of the fumes to backup <spill> into the room.

Just as important, is the gas supply pipe. Without my seeing the location from the wall of the steel gas supply pipe, it would be difficult to say whether it needs to be re-routed within the wall or if an external extentsion of added pipe would be code.

You asked if there was a reason why the water heater is in it's current location. Your question is a valid one but again, seeing it is important. Since that's not possible, best guess is the vent pipes access to the roof was a factor.

Regarding incoming air needed for combustion etc. within the cabinet, figure your going to need a minimun of 1 square inch for each 1,000 BTU's. Then add the two appliances requirements together to get the total.

Once you have that number, divide it in half and put half at the top of the cabinet and the other half near the bottom. Basically, that's close but not right on.

I suggest you stop of at the building and safety department office <in your community - city> and obtain the codes and or the advice of a licsened plumber for the advice of a proffessional for appliance relocations and enclosures.

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