Can Water Heaters Leak Carbon Monoxide? Ask-A-Plumber: Episode 17


hey guys Roger Wakefield here the expert
plumber coming to you live talk to you this morning about can water heaters
leak carbon monoxide you know this is really a big deal in our industry
because we walk into houses quite often where the vent is not hooked up properly
and that actually allows carbon dioxide carbon monoxide excuse me to be released
into the house so can water leaders leak carbon monoxide the water heater itself
normally no but if the vent is not hooked up right if it’s improperly
installed you can have problems gas water heaters burn natural gas to create
the heat to heat the water so what happens is those exhaust fumes go up
through the flue in the middle of a water heater and when they go through
this flue it’s so they can go up exit out to the atmosphere where they’re not
going to be a problem we’ve got carbon monoxide in the atmosphere very low
levels not enough to hurt anybody but if your water heaters installed properly
more direct to the point if the vent is stalled improperly then you can get
carbon monoxide gas in your house now if you look at the top of the water heater
you’ve got the little chimney funnel on top and then you’ve got your flue pipe
that sets right down on it guys it should set down on it securely the
weight of the pipe should actually keep it sitting on it I’ve actually walked in
houses where the piece of pipe has been pulled off I’ve walked in houses where
the piece of pipe has been set over to the side where it’s not lined up guys
anything like this is going to allow carbon monoxide to get directly into
your house now if it’s improperly installed or it’s poorly vented if that
vent is clogged you know one thing I like to do when I go in and install the
new water here is take apart the vent and look in it make sure it is it
clogged up is there a bird nest in it is there a nest that maybe drop down from
from the top give an animal crawl down in there did an animal pull the top off
the collar off the vent or the the cap off of it in climb down
in there that doesn’t happen very often but I have actually found a squirrel
down inside of one before so when that clogs that up those fumes have no way to
get out so what they do is they release into the house now a water heater is not
the only thing that can create carbon monoxide your gas furnace is up in your
attic if you look at them they’ve got that type B vent which is the
double-wall vent coming off and going up through the roof and that is to get the
carbon monoxide to get those fumes to get that exhausted gas burn smell fumes
everything out of the house and I said smell there’s really not a lot of smell
to it you normally you need a gas meter or a carbon monoxide detector to come in
and test for it but guys it’s a gas that can make you really sick and
even lead up to death so your gas furnace and your water heater are the two
biggest things that can cause carbon monoxide in your house if they’re not
properly vented or they’re poorly installed either way guys this can lead
to problems this can lead to problems for you it can lead to problems for your
kids it can lead to problems for anybody that stays in your house or comes in
your house we all have different tolerance levels as to what we can take
and what our bodies can handle but carbon monoxide is a gas you really
don’t want to mess with so I said earlier that it could be deadly there
are some signs to look for and but before before I get to the signs guys go
look at your water heater open up your closet if your water heaters on an
interior closet or out in the garage and look at it is that vent pipe setting
down securely on your collar or under your funnel up on top that actually gets
your fumes out and concentrates them into that three or four inch line and
takes them out is it sitting securely on it if it’s not you might need to wiggle
it it may have rotated there could be a lot of different things if it’s a single
wall vent which you can have single wall directly off the water heater going
– right before it penetrates the ceiling there should also be a collar or a pipe
and right there above it where it goes through the ceiling because that should
be cut open to where you’ve got one inch of clearance between your double wall
and any combustible surface so you want to make sure that’s installed right also
a fresh air intake if if yours is on an interior closet in your house you may
have a four inch piece of pipe that comes down to within 12 inches of the
floor that’s to bring fresh air in and then your exhaust going out like I said
to get the expelled gas fumes out so back to me saying it’s deadly guys the
symptoms for carbon monoxide start off with headache okay if every time you go
home you get a headache even if it’s a little headache this is something you
may need to check then it can lead to weakness then to dizziness you know
when you’re moving around all of a sudden you get up you’ve been sitting in
the chair for a while you get up you’re kind of dizzy nausea nausea and vomiting
guys those are two signs of carbon monoxide poisoning shortness of breath
and then confusion you can also get blurred vision you can get loss of
consciousness guys loss of consciousness is the one that once you reach that
point the these carbon monoxide levels have gotten so high that it is really
damaging your body so the bad thing is after loss of consciousness if you’re
there in that situation too long it can lead to death carbon monoxide is one
thing you don’t want to mess with it’s one reason why we tell people look
plumbers are- or water heaters are supposed to be installed by licensed
plumbers they’re supposed to be inspected they’re supposed to pull a permit on it
guys these are big things for this reason you want to get that plumbing
inspector in to look at it to see if the job was done properly if it’s vented
properly and if it’s installed properly guys inspectors are going to check
things like your fresh air intake is it big enough you need so many cubic inches
for every BTU so they go through they look they check
they make sure things are right guys when it comes to gas that’s one thing
that we tell people yes here in Texas if it’s your homestead you can actually
work on anything in your plumbing system that you want you’ve still got to pull
up a permit just like we do you still got to get it inspected just like we do
guys if you don’t miss those steps there’s nothing wrong with doing it but
on your water heater too big emergency things are make sure that your flues run
out properly make sure that TMP valve is tied in and ran properly also
these are things that can lead to to death the plumbing industry is very
serious I take it personal and I take pride in everything that we do guys I’ve
done videos to tell you look this is something you can do yourself but when
it comes to gas when it comes to carbon monoxide when it comes to natural gas
and gas water heaters or even gas appliances your stove your furnace
anything at all like that this is something I normally tell you to leave
to the trained professional call your plumber hopefully you can get him out
get an inspection on it get it checked out get things done right if you’re not
sure about your flue pipe or yours doesn’t look right or you can look at it
and think you know what I’m probably getting gas out because of this
connection or the way this is or if it’s pulled apart guys it can be very
dangerous for you and your family and with the symptoms that I’ve read those
are not things that you want to put anybody in that situation so guys again
if you like this channel please hit the subscribe button subscribe to our
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trying to help you these plumbing videos are to make you a more informed public
when you go to call a plumber whether it’s me or somebody else at least now
you’ve got information that can help you out and help you alive
my name is Roger Wakefield with Texas Green Plumbing saving you money one
drop at a time

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