Chimney Repair – Old Water Heater Flue

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Author – Marge Padgitt

Homeowners who upgrade to a higher-efficiency air conditioner and furnace in spring or summer may have what is known as an abandoned water heater.

This happens when an HVAC installer puts in new appliances and vents them out the side of the house, often leaving the water heater to vent on its own. 

Flues must be sized correctly to each appliance and if they aren’t poor performance and deadly Carbon Monoxide backup can occur. This is a common problem which affects millions of people, most of whom are unaware of the issue.

Most HVAC technicians do not address chimneys or install flue liners. 

They either ignore the issue or refer homeowners to a professional chimney sweep.  Have a chimney sweep examine any utility flues during summer months to be sure they are correctly sized and that the proper type of flue is installed before cool weather begins and the house gets closed up. Unexplained illness, headaches, and fatigue can be signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

This is worse in the fall and winter when houses are tightly closed and air quality goes down due to an inadequate supply of dilution air.  If the sweep finds that there is still a problem after correcting any flue issues, a whole house ventilator can alleviate house pressure problems and deliver six air exchanges per day as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. Many sweeps carry this type of ventilator.

~ Marge Padgitt

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