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    Does the furnace Pipe look cracked to you?

    Asked Aug 24, 2007, 02:53 PM 27 Answers
    Can you guys please look at the following pictures and tell me what you think. Does the exhaust pipe look damaged to you? Did the repairman who tried to repair it do a poor job?
    The pipe has since been replaced but I need some help from you guys. Thanks.

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    27 Answers
    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 434
    Heating & Air Conditioning Expert
     
    #2

    Aug 24, 2007, 04:54 PM


    If it is single wall and used for gas it needs 6 inches clearance to combustibles if oil 18 inches. BTW what is this on? Looks like silicone to me .
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    donkeykong's Avatar
    donkeykong Posts: 47, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Aug 24, 2007, 06:42 PM
    Thanks for your response. Do you mean what it runs on or what's on the pipe. It runs on natural gas and I honestly don't know exactly what's on the pipes.
    The sealant on the pipe looks very amateurish, which greatly worried me.
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    donkeykong's Avatar
    donkeykong Posts: 47, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    Aug 24, 2007, 06:59 PM
    Here's another pic of the exhaust pipe:
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    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 434
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    #5

    Aug 24, 2007, 07:16 PM


    If that is a gas water heater it is missing the required diverter that is supposed tro be on top. That is strange now that I can see the entire picture.Take a picture of the lower part of the water heater also and post here.
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    wmproop's Avatar
    wmproop Posts: 3,749, Reputation: 91
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    #6

    Aug 24, 2007, 09:05 PM
    Looks like 6 0r 8 inch vent pipe on a hotwater heater,, have never seen before
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    donkeykong's Avatar
    donkeykong Posts: 47, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Aug 24, 2007, 09:20 PM
    I'm pretty sure I have more pix stored on my computer or on a CD. Let me just find them, and I'll upload them.
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    Clough's Avatar
    Clough Posts: 26,679, Reputation: 1648
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    #8

    Aug 24, 2007, 11:13 PM
    I just had to comment. Great dialogue and help going on here!
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    donkeykong's Avatar
    donkeykong Posts: 47, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Sep 7, 2007, 03:34 PM
    Here are the pictures.
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    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 434
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    #10

    Sep 8, 2007, 08:59 AM


    Call a qualified contractor to fix this problem correctly. The venting is not correct as it is missing the flue ventury at the top of the unit.
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    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #11

    Sep 8, 2007, 10:02 AM
    It could be a simple, DIY fix if one of our better people checks in and gives you instructions.
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    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 434
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    #12

    Sep 8, 2007, 03:42 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by labman
    It could be a simple, DIY fix if one of our better people checks in and gives you instructions.
    Here is the simple fix that Lab man was talking about.
    Turn off gas to the water heater
    Get the model and serial numbers off the unit
    Call the manufacturer to see if there is a distributer in your area for this type of water heater
    If so call them hand have them check inventory for a draft diverter that is on top of your unit that you might be missing
    See if they will sell you the part
    If they will not sell you the part( Since you are not in the trade) have a plumber or someone get the part for you.
    Remove anything (pipe) attached to the top of the water heater ( you will not be using this pipe because it is to big.
    Install diverter
    Find out what size the diverter discharge is and buy pipe and elbows to fit your piping configuration.
    Cut and install pipe as necessary.
    Obtain a fitting adapter Round to round for the flue size in the wall area.
    The hole for the flue pipe is much to big for the new smaller pipe.
    Attach adapter into wall and cement around to seal any imperfections.
    Make sure all pipes are attached full fit and sheet metal screw together with at least two screws per joint of pipe.
    Relight water heater and check for proper draw with a Draft Write gauge.
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    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #13

    Sep 8, 2007, 09:00 PM
    I was in a little rush when I posted and forgot about your statement the pipe had already been replaced. If it now has a proper draft diverter and type B vent pipe, likely you need to do nothing. If you were blessed with the manual that came with the hot water heater, you might compare the instructions and drawings in it to the existing vent pipe. One other thing would be to take a picture of the new vent and post it here and hope somebody that knows venting comments on it.

    I have to agree finding a draft diverter could be the toughest part of cleaning up the mess you were left with. At least here, you can walk into a Lowe's or Home Depot and buy all the other stuff it would take to do the job right. I am sure many shops would dig out a used draft dverter from their trash and give it to you.

    I certainly feel anybody handy at all could safely do much better work than that in your pictures. Getting back to your question, I don't see any cracks. The job was not done correctly, and needed to be redone. Looking at it, and knowing common practices, I think the brown stuff is Permatex.

    As for hvac1000, I don't like your anti DIY attitude. If you and other inspectors would concentrate on your job instead of bashing DIY's, the people taking money for such abortions would be run out of business. I can't see any inspector passing it. I would much rather see somebody doing their own work with the guidance of such fine members here as Northern Heat, tkrussel, or speedball1. It really worries me about many of the people posting in plumbing, heating, and electrical here that appear to be practicing in all 3 and posting poor answers. I doubt they are trained, qualified, or licensed in any of them let alone all 3. I am sure such people are a far bigger problem than the DIY's.
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    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 434
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    #14

    Sep 8, 2007, 10:12 PM
    ((As for hvac1000, I don't like your anti DIY attitude. If you and other inspectors would concentrate on your job instead of bashing DIY's, the people taking money for such abortions would be run out of business.))

    People who do this type of defective work usually do not get permits and are not licensed. I am retired but when I do a inspection the manufactures install instructions have to be on the job site posted in plain view and they are to be left there when the job is done so the next repair man or homeowner has access to them. This is stated in the code books.

    My nick name in the inspection business was RED TAG and the plates on my truck said RED TAG courtesy of the State of Ohio. I also new how to properly bend the rules so a install was intrinsically safe and save the installer a bunch of headaches (there is always a safe way to bend a rule you just have to know where they are in the code books).

    I do have great concerns in the DIY market. We lost a family of five last winter because a home owner thought he was a repair man. I was present within 4 hours at the request of the State Fire Marshall to help his ascertain exactly what happened. Three little children still laying in there bed sleeping forever because of a carbon monoxide problem that happened to be caused by a incorrect install done by the father of these children. I became emotional when the grandfather grabbed me and asked me over and over what went wrong. When I told him what happened he was the one that told me his son was trying to save some money on repairs and that is how I found out who did the work. The father of these kids and his wife will never know what happened because the CO took them also.

    Take what I just said above into consideration when giving out information to the do it yourself gang. Most of the time posts are just enough to be dangerous to enable the homeowner to feel confident enough to mess with an item they have on business messing with. Now just think of all the posts on all the boards. Scarry!

    Carbon monoxide is one item not to be taken lightly. It is colorless and odorless and if not controlled properly people die. I know how to test a flue diverter for C O with a Bic lighter but I prefer to use my test equiptment and get a chart print recording to cover myself. Other posts dealing with thermostats, and fan motors etc will usually go up in smoke if done improperly with little chance of fire.

    Do it yourselfers are great and at least they show some gumption in trying to figure out there problems but we all need to draw the line when it comes to the safety of burning and disposing of the by products of fossil fuels.

    BTW for your information. B vent did not necessarily have to be used on the water heater flue. Single wall pipe could have been used and a shield of 20/22 gauge metal with one inch non combustible spacers could have been installed to meet the clerance to combustibles problem if there is one on his job. It is a lot cheaper to use the metal and spacers than it is to buy B vent when you do not have to. Now to get real cheap he could have also used the pipe that was not installed properly to build his shielding. Just doubble up the 28/30 gauge and use it as the shield. This air gap/ shielding method for clerance to combustibles is listed in all code books. You just have to find it.
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    donkeykong's Avatar
    donkeykong Posts: 47, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    Sep 10, 2007, 09:06 AM
    Thanks to both hvac1000 and labman for taking the time to answer my question. You guys both raised some good points. The reason I'm asking whether it looks damaged is because I'm thinking of taking legal action against the company that was hired by the super to do the inspections. This company comes in at least once a year sometimes more, to inspect our furnace and the water heater. For the past 5 or so years before we got the pipe replaced, they did the inspections and told us nothing was wrong. I've also asked a few repairman on their opinion about the pipe and they told us the same thing, that it looks all right. The repairmen by the way came in to take care of a few natural gas leaks.
    Also, for the 5 or so years we lived in the house, my whole family experienced a host of health problems and I think the faulty flue pipe had a major part to play in that. Since getting the pipe replaced, we've all noticed the air in the house feels lighter and cleaner. Our health has also improved.
    I'm sure you guys have noticed that in the last photo, there's evidence of a water leak/condensation coming from the pipe. Isn't that evidence of a crack in the pipe?
    Thanks again for your help.
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    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 434
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    #16

    Sep 10, 2007, 10:02 AM
    Subpoena labman for your witness because I am far to expensive for a PW you need for this small case. ( PW=professional witness)

    Good luck
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    donkeykong's Avatar
    donkeykong Posts: 47, Reputation: 1
    Junior Member
     
    #17

    Sep 10, 2007, 03:58 PM
    Ha! You're a funny guy. No, the reason I'm asking all of these questions is to get an idea as to what steps I can take.
    And what do you mean 'small case'. C'mon man, a gas/exhaust leak ain't a minor deal! If for a fact a cracked pipe was causing a leak, that's pretty major. Whatever.
    Any other suggestions/help will be appreciated.
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    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 434
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    #18

    Sep 10, 2007, 04:14 PM
    It is a small case because no one died!! Sorry but it takes a death for the court to really notice when it comes to this stuff. The only thing you are out is the money you paid the fool that did the work.
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    donkeykong's Avatar
    donkeykong Posts: 47, Reputation: 1
    Junior Member
     
    #19

    Sep 10, 2007, 07:03 PM
    Ok, so your opinion is that the exhaust pipe wasn't cracked and wasn't causing deadly fumes to be leaked, even at extremely small levels? That I had nothing to worry about for the five years I lived in my house before getting the exhaust pipe replaced?
    If that's your opinion, that the exhaust pipe didn't pose such problems, then thanks for your input. At least you took the time to help.
    Also, there is such a thing as acute co poisoning right? Can you guys please tell me what some of the symptoms are?
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    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 434
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    #20

    Sep 10, 2007, 07:45 PM
    Could have or might have caused a problem are different that if a serious situation happened. No lawyer is going to take this case for a percentage. Get 2000.00 bucks from your account and pay the lawyer to loose for you. Even if you win you will never collect (look at OJ Simpson) he killed people and still has not paid much of what he owes and he is worth more than a million.

    The most that can happen to this person is that they would get him on something and he would never pay. The homeowner is responsible for getting a permit for work performed on there property. If the contractor does not get the permit the homeowner is on the hook for it. Call your local building department and find out. The reason this is in the code is that the homeowner is the ultimate responsible party. Building departments know that many contractors do not get permits and the prosecutor does not want to chase around the dead beats so they put it in the code that the homeowner is responsible. That way if you do not want to pay for the permit they put a note in your tax folder to collect when the house is sold and before you can get a deed change. Pretty smart of them folks.
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