Question About Raising Gas Water Heater 18" Above Floor.

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Old 12-20-2006, 05:57 PM   #1
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Question About Raising Gas Water Heater 18" Above Floor.

I am installing a natural gas water heater in the basement of an 1913 house. There is not enough headroom to let me raise the tank 18" above the floor to protect the pilot from flammable vapors. (Code in my area does not require the tank to be raised but I would prefer to anyway.)

I have room to raise it 10" and I was thinking about making a custom 8" deep pan so that the lip of the pan is @ 18". See attached sketch. Do y'all think it would achieve the same protection from flammable vapors as if it was raised 18" in the typical way?
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Old 12-20-2006, 07:09 PM   #2
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Re: Question About Raising Gas Water Heater 18" Above Floor.

you may actually blow code by doing that. What is the unobstructed distance locally required to have access to the pilot light assembly? Wouldn't having 8" more or less cover the access panel? Sounds kinda rigged to me. The purpose of a pan is to catch and drain water, not sheild against flamable vapors. Build the stand, put your 2" pan underneath and plumb a drain, call it a day! Or put in a tankless, they are much better


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Old 12-20-2006, 07:54 PM   #3
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Re: Question About Raising Gas Water Heater 18" Above Floor.

I have to agree 100% with JamesNLA.
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:36 AM   #4
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Re: Question About Raising Gas Water Heater 18" Above Floor.

What makes you think flammable vapors are restricted from rising more then 18 inches? Forget about it and remove the source of the possible vapors. Besides, when the heater cycles on, it will pull in any flammable vapors that are below your pan and then BANG! If you are concerned about leaking gas fittings, then hire a tradesman.
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:36 AM   #5
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Re: Question About Raising Gas Water Heater 18" Above Floor.

Don, you don't mention what size heater this is, or for what size family it will serve.

We have had to use 18" tall pans when there is no room to raise the heater. This satisfies our local inspectors provided the pan has a sealed door installed in it.

We use a butyl caulking compound to seal the door. This allows access to the burner and controls if needed. I don't like this method and its a last resort as far as I'm concerned.

I would do all I could do, including replacing the heater with another type in order to avoid the pan.

You can relocate the heater, enclose it in a closet with make up and combustion air piped in from attic or outside; you can go to a tankless heater as suggested; you can go to a small boiler type heater; you can go electric... The list goes on and on.

Get a professional out to look over the property and the job and see what can be done to satisfy you and and to safeguard the people that will have to live with this heater. That's all that code is - a minimum safety standard.
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