Gas Hot Water Heater Venting | Hot Water Heater Inspection & Repair

Hot Water Heater Venting

Many homeowners in Bethesda, MD, Kensington, MD, and around Greater Washington DC have gas-fueled hot water heaters, typically in the basement or garage venting into an existing chimney. Gas water heaters are a popular choice for their efficiency and lower energy costs. However, a lot can go wrong when the water heater isn't venting correctly and is preventing harmful fumes from being expelled out of your house.

how water heater venting repairAlso, many plumbers that install gas water heaters are not Certified Chimney Professionals®. As a result, they may have simply vented the appliance through your existing chimney without inspecting the flue for masonry damage or obstructions or ensuring the liner meets local code requirements. This could be putting your home and family at risk of fire and exposure to harmful contaminants, including toxic carbon monoxide fumes.

Bethesda Chimney provides water heater venting services for homes, businesses, and government offices in the Greater Washington DC, Montgomery County, MD, and Northern VA region. Our CSIA and NFI Gas certified technicians will ensure your water heater is venting correctly, is compliant with local building codes, and is safe to operate.

Can you vent a water heater into a chimney?

It is common, especially here in the District of Columbia and surrounding areas, to vent a water heater in an existing chimney that is often shared with other heating appliances like a fireplace or heating stove. However, before venting a gas water heater into an existing chimney, it needs a thorough inspection. Any cracks or gaps in the masonry, a missing or damaged chimney cap, water leaks, or obstructions can cause drafting problems that restrict exhaust venting from the water heater. So, any chimney cap replacement, chimney tuckpointing, and other chimney repairs must be done before venting a water heater or any other appliance through an existing flue.

It is EXTREMELY important that when a water heater is venting into a chimney that the size of the flue and the height of the chimney meet what is required for the BTU's of the appliance(s).

Otherwise, there is an increased risk of a dangerous downdraft that can allow toxic carbon monoxide to leak inside your premises. Also, the venting must have a vertical slope to efficiently expel gas fumes and combustion byproducts out of the house.

Is Your Venting System Up to Code?

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Venting a water heater into an existing chimney liner is another common issue our technicians often see when servicing flues. These clay liners prevalent in most homes built in the early 2000s and earlier are developing cracks, gaps, and corrosion due to age, improper flue cleaning, and moisture. For this reason, many counties in the region have updated their building and safety code to require installing a stainless-steel liner with any new gas water heater venting through an existing chimney.

CAUTION: If you smell a ‘rotten egg’ odor in your home, your water heater or other fuel appliance may be leaking gas or harmful contaminants into the house. Immediately evacuate your home and call your local gas utility or 9-1-1.

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We care about your safety. However, a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector is the only way to know if CO gas is present in your home. So, ensure you have a functioning CO detector on every level of your home when using solid or fossil fuel heating appliances.

Gas Water Heater Vent Inspections

Bethesda Chimney is your locally owned and operated Certified Chimney Sweep® company providing Hot Water Heater venting inspections, cleaning, and repairs for homes, businesses, and government buildings in McLean VA, Rockville MD, Arlington VA, Alexandria VA, Sterling VA, Chevy Chase MD, and surrounding towns in Montgomery County, MD, Washington DC, and Northern VA. Call 301-969-4444 or 703-935-4444 to schedule an appointment today!

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