How To Vent A Gas Water Heater In A Basement

Proper ventilation is necessary for gas water heaters in basements. Take note that a gas water-heating unit burns fuel. Without a properly functioning vent, the carbon monoxide byproduct can become trapped in the space. By now, you might be wondering how to vent a gas water heater in your home’s basement. We researched for you and here’s what we found.

Water heating units often require unique installation steps depending on the demands placed by the kit or the household’s architecture. Still, here’s a quick look for a gas water heater installation process:

  1. Secure the elbow to the flue pipe.
  2. Drill screw holes and apply a sealant to secure the jacket's oval flare.
  3. Bend the oval fitting and attach it to the jacket’s top.
  4. Insert the vent collar to the vent elbow.
  5. Connect the gas water heater into a premade hole in the basement.
  6. Install the vent to both indoor and outdoor areas.
  7. Apply sealant to the parts to secure the system.

Venting a gas water heater in the basement can become a complicated process, especially if you miss important details. Keep reading as we tackle these essential steps in greater detail. In turn, you can avoid making costly mistakes.

A domestic household boiler room with a new modern solid fuel boiler , heating electric warm water system and pipes, How To Vent A Gas Water Heater In A Basement

Venting a Gas Water Heater In The Basement

Before proceeding with venting your gas water heater in the basement, make sure to consult the owner’s manual first. Different water heating systems may require varying installation steps. For instance, here’s one of the many guides that you can encounter for a specific water heater model:

What You’ll Need

  • Gas water heater kit
  • Pen or marker
  • Sealant
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Additional screws (optional)

Boiler system and laundry in a basement interior

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Connect and secure the elbow to the straight flue pipe.
  2. Use a pen or marker to mark the flue collar at the elbow’s slots.
  3. Take a drill with an appropriately sized drill bit and create holes into the marked areas.
  4. Apply an ample amount of sealant to the jacket’s oval flare.
  5. Remove the long end of the elbow and place the larger vent elbow over a similar-looking part of smaller size.
  6. Bend the circular end of the oval fitting and connect it to the flared end of the jacket’s top.
  7. Slide the vent collar onto the vent elbow.
  8. Place the gas water heater in a hole in the basement's wall. This gap should already have a predetermined clearance.
  9. Move outdoors and install the remaining vent parts.
  10. Use a sealant to secure the exterior vent parts.
  11. Install the vent collar through the wall. Ensure that you connect it to the extension or ‘E pipe.’ You may also need to connect the collar to the elbow, depending on your water heater’s model.
  12. Insert and twist the flue extension pipe into the vent collar. Twisting allows the extension pipe to lock in place.
  13. Attach the vent cap.
  14. Return indoors and connect the inside collar to the wall and secure it.
  15. Apply sealant around the edge of the vent pipe.

You can also watch the video below if you want to learn how to replace the water heater in your basement:

Can You Vent A Gas Water Heater And Furnace Together?

House water heating boiler with pump, ball valves and filters

Venting a gas water heater with a furnace is possible, provided that the installer finishes the setup with a secure assembly. Additionally, the system’s organizer should follow the codes imposed by the government for the installation.

It’s important to note that the arrangement should provide 80 percent of the functionality (or lower) to the furnace. In turn, the rest of the system’s functionality goes to the gas water heater.

Homeowners should also take note that efficient gas furnaces became requirements in households since 1987. It was at that time when the government passed the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act. In this legislation, homes should have a minimum efficiency rating of 78 percent for their annual fuel utilization efficiency. Any percentage less than the required amount can put homeowners at certain risks.

The government imposed a stricter rule on furnace usage in 2007. In this year, the national administration imposed a minimum efficiency rating for home furnace usage to 80 percent.

Can You Vent A Gas Hot Water Heater With PVC?

It’s possible to use a PVC pressure pipe to vent a gas water heater, albeit some risks are present. Take note that the maximum operating temperature of PVC is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the standard operating temperature of water heaters is also 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many PVC pipe manufacturers also don't promote the use of PVC in venting, despite the International Fuel Gas Code allowing the use of the material. If you look at the rules on this material's use in vents, particularly in the 502.1 General section, it states that an appliance manufacturer doesn’t need to specify the use of plastic vents.

Additionally, section 503.4.1 Plastic piping, which is filed under the same list of codes, mentions that the use of PVC pipes for venting appliances is approved.

Despite these warnings, homeowners can still choose to vent their appliances, including gas water heaters, with PVC. It’s still important to be wary of many concerns when using this material, particularly that it can promote fire and carbon monoxide asphyxiation.

What Is The Difference Between A Vent Connector And The Vent?

In this section, you’ll learn about vent and vent connectors in detail. In turn, you’ll know about their differences.

What Is A Vent?

A vent is a small opening providing access to air, gas, and smoke to enter or exit an enclosed space. This strategically-placed gap generally connects to the ductwork to help provide rooms with clean, breathable air.

Vents can also serve other purposes, such as:

  • Air filtration: Increases air quantity in entering a space.
  • Air exfiltration: Normalizes and improves air loss from a closed space.
  • Air recirculation: Often used in commercial establishments for thermal conditioning.

Locations that might have fairly poor outdoor air quality may install a vent cover and filtration system. With those additions, the risks of breathing harmful airborne particulates can be reduced.

Check out this magnetic vent cover on Amazon.

What Is A Vent Connector?

A vent connector is the first pipe proceeding to the vent from a system, which can be a water heater. Aside from a pipe, it can also be a Type B metal pipe, which might be ideal for Type B vents, or a single wall metal pipe.

Systems that only use a single appliance may not require a vent connector. Those structures might directly connect to the vent through draft hoods or flute collars.

On the other hand, a single appliance organization will need a vent connector if the distance between a piece of equipment to the vent is reasonably far. The framework’s appearance should look like a single pipe path.

Check out this air vent duct connector on Amazon.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Power Vent Water Heater?

Horizontal view of boiler-house in the building

HomeAdvisor suggests lot owners prepare about $300 to $600 to replace their power vent water heaters. Moreover, expect to spend $300 to $500 more on professional labor for electrical and wiring.

It’s also advisable to take advantage of expert help since dealing with natural and propane gases in a power vent water heating system can promote health issues.

Other factors that may affect overall replacement fees include:

• Tank-style water heating: $700 to $2,000
• Tankless water heating: $1,000 to $3,000
• Permits to operate: $100 to $1,500
• Size: About $9 per gallon

Final Thoughts

Venting a gas water heater in the basement requires a careful understanding of the installation steps. Some water heaters may also need unique procedures for homeowners to install the system properly. Therefore, make sure to consult your owner’s manual before proceeding with the setup.

Make sure to read our other guides in completing specific basement projects:

How To Finish A Basement Bathroom With Rough-In Plumbing?

Can You Drill Into Basement Walls?

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