Power Vented Water Heater or Something Else?

Old 02-27-05, 09:01 PM
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Smile Power Vented Water Heater or Something Else?

We purchased a brand new house 8 years ago with a standard natural gas water heater. From day one, we have had a lot of trouble with the pilot light going out, especially when it is windy. We know this is happening because the vent is not tall enough. The vent is located on the back of the garage and is below the garage roofline. On top of that, the vent is only a few feet away from the rest of our two story house and it is several feet below that roofline. (This is after the installer came back out twice to extend the vent as far as he thought possible and still remain stable.) It also has a high wind vent cap on it already.

The water heater is finally starting to go out and we are looking for one that will end the cold showers because the pilot light blew out again.

We have been unsuccessful in finding a gas water heater that has an electronic ignition that doesn't need a pilot light or the pilot light only comes on when needed (like gas furnaces). Do they have such a thing? We found high-efficiency gas water heaters with an "energy saving" pilot light, but it is our understanding that they do not go out when not in use, they just turn down real low. That seems like it might actually compound the problem.

We also had someone suggest a power vented gas water heater - vented through the wall. The water heater would be in our partially unfinished basement so we are assuming that installing it would be feasible. Our concern though is that the best location would be for the vent to be located on the windy, north side of the house. Do power vented gas water heaters have a standing pilot light? And if so, does the vent stay closed when not in use so air can't get in and blow out the pilot light?

Any advice would be appreciated!!!! We are even considering purchasing an electric water heater and pay an extra $200 or so a year to run it rather than risk getting another gas one that goes out all the time.

Old 02-28-05, 01:51 AM
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I hope there's a little solution to this problem.

I've seen pilots with a bit of perforated sheet metal covering them, and I can't imagine it serving any purpose other than to keep drafts from blowing the flame out. An experienced gasfitter could surely tell you if such a retrofit were safe for your unit, and improvise something.

Alternately, you could look into curbing wind from rushing through the heater so easily. A typically crowded basement with partition walls and closed doors doesn't invite wind to travel through and blow the pilot. Wind simply can't blow down a vent to stop at an enclosed space. Completely sealing the heater off would be uneccessary, and dangerous.

I thought pilots more likely to go when the burner valve shuts and the flame abruptly collapses. Those little perforated shields over pilots should protect against this. Probably outside wind is a factor, enough in your case to tip the balance.
Old 03-12-05, 09:54 PM
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Pilot going out

I am surprised by this, Most gas appliances on natural draft have a DDD, (Down Draft Divertor) So that the wind (or Draft) which comes down the flue don't affect the flame including the pilot.
Get a good Gas Fitter to check your DDD.
Old 03-25-05, 02:10 AM
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sounds like your flue pipe

no way wind should blow it out with a diverter installed. I would take a look at flame when on see if draft is in house usually caused by being near drafty door or too close to furnace or from above. You may need an hvac person to come out and correct the flue pipe. When I buy a used house I don't expect anything to be done to code or correct. Happy home owners botch alot of projects around the house. An inspection should be done to make sure house is even safe to live in. I have seen more than one house where the flue pipe actually was connected the supply air duct in homes. It's spooky what some people do when they don't know what they are doing.

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