Water heaters won't stay lit when it rains.

The Tank Water heaters won't stay lit when it rains.

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  • #9501
    JMN
    Participant

    Please help me folks!

    I have 2-40gal conventional gas fired hot water heaters that flame out whenever it rains modertately to heavily. They are located in the lowest level of a 3 story house that is 4 years old. This issue has plagued us from the beginning. Builder/plumber/HVAC pros have tried many things mostly to do with extending the 4″ flue pipe over and over. In fact it is obtrusively high at this point extending beyond the nearest/highest point of our 12/10 and 12/12 roof sections. Caps have been changed out once or twice, even the heaters themselves have been replaced early in the process to a different brand and style. There is nothing else running through the flue. It is dedicated.

    When it rains, there is never a fizzle or evident water coming down or into the units. I can watch the pilot flutter and go slightly yellow now and again but wind never does the deed…Its rain. The pilot getting extinguished by water would almost seem impossible since the construction is excellent and it takes several bends along the way down (32′-34′). Never do I hear or see the fizzle you would expect. There can be heavy wind from any or all directions and we never loose them…only with moderate to heavy rain.

    Originally the 1200′ lower level was unfinished and we have since professionally finished this entire space. This changed nothing. I just got so pissed that I broke out the glass window with the hopes of perhaps creating/strengthening a “draft” from inside to the outside from a better airflow. The other part of that move was to make lighting these things easier. The strickers are shot from over use.

    These things can stay lit for months and months and a good hard rain comes by and…

    Thanks for taking the time,

    JMN

    #9504
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    OK, when it’s raining, the air is likely cold. That could have an effect on draft. Many other things can affect the air balance or pressure in a home. If, for example a big exhaust fan comes on, it depressurizes the house and can pull air back down the water heater vent pipe, possibly snuffing the pilot with oxygen poor air.

    Your problem is clearly complex. There is an outfit, Affordable Comfort Inc., http://www.affordablecomfort.org/ which provides education on housing science and certainly knows any folks in your area who could help. This will likely need someone to actually look at the situation rather than guess at conditions like I’m doing 😀

    Yours, Larry

    #9506
    JMN
    Participant

    Hello Larry,

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. It is complex! We have had many people working on this for 4+ years now. Again, for periods of months there will be no problems and all of a sudden the weather gets blustery, wet and bingo. Wind alone will not snuff the pilot(s) and it seems when one goes the other will follow shortly.

    Temp differential does not seem conclusive since we are Chicago area residents.

    I will contact the firm you’ve indicated. If anything else comes to mind, please don’t hesitate to contact. Thanks on behalf of myself and the hundreds of others this forum has assisted.

    Kind regards,

    JMN

    #9508
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello: This is the other place you need to know about. http://www.buildingscience.com/bsc/ Building science and the interactions that go on could be the basis for some good mystery novels!

    Yours, Larry

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