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Old 01-14-2020, 07:09 AM
JB_AOL JB_AOL is offline
 
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Default Water Heater Question

I know this is probably a 1st world problem.. But I'm getting tired of having surprise cold showers in the morning.

Does anyone have a solution for preventing the intake for the water heater freezing off? I've removed the screen on the intake for the winter, and that seems to have reduced the amount of times it freezes off, but it still happens on occasion, and I don't really like 5am cold showers at -30C.. lol.

Basically I was thinking heat tape on a timer/thermostat, or even a smart plug hooked to the tape that I could link to the ext. temp.. Maybe insulate it. The pipe/elbow maybe sticks out 10".

I've talked to our plumber and he says, nothing you can do, just clear it when it happens. But this seems like a real simple problem to solve.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:21 AM
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CaberTosser CaberTosser is offline
 
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You're talking about the screen on the inlet to an instantaneous water heater I take it? Those are there to prevent the small-diameter heat exchanger passages from plugging off. Its possible to put in a cartridge filter upstream of that which will not only filter much finer particulate, but have way more capacity to filter before plugging up.

Oops, I think I misinterpreted that when you mentioned screen, you're talking combustion air side and literal freezing rather than figurative plug 'freezing' on the water inlet filter of an instantaneous tank, you might have a power direct vent heater or instantaneous. That depends on the chimney set-up, I try to provide as much physical separation between the intake and exhaust so that re-ingestion of exhaust gases is minimized. I'll usually take into account prevailing winds as well. With the concentric vents this is difficult but when a unit has separate pipes they can easily be run separated by a few feet. For multiple appliances I will bank all of the intakes together upwind of the exhausts.
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Last edited by CaberTosser; 01-14-2020 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:22 AM
CrisPbacon CrisPbacon is offline
 
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This seems to happen a lot in new home builds. I would say insult the intake pipe. If the intake and exhaust are close together, the warm exhaust is probably condensing to form vapor which is being sucked into the intake and then freezing, leading to frost formation.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:35 AM
JB_AOL JB_AOL is offline
 
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Sorry, It's a hot water tank heater (not the fancy tankless style), but a newer one (6 years old).

Yes, it's literally freezing off (intake) just downstream of the elbow where the wall is.

And yes the intake/exhaust for are about a 1ft apart, then about 4ft over is the ones for the furnace.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:39 AM
JB_AOL JB_AOL is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrisPbacon View Post
This seems to happen a lot in new home builds. I would say insult the intake pipe. If the intake and exhaust are close together, the warm exhaust is probably condensing to form vapor which is being sucked into the intake and then freezing, leading to frost formation.
I suspect it has to do with the lack of space between the new houses.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:47 AM
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SageValleyOutdoors SageValleyOutdoors is offline
 
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Are you certain itís the intake and not the exhaust? The exhaust gases have a lot of moisture in them, and as soon as it hits that -30, it condenses and freezes. Over time it builds up to the point that it blocks off the exhaust pipe, which causes the hot water heater to fault and quit.
I donít think Iíve ever had a call out where the intake is the one that freezes up. But if thatís the case, i would suggest having your plumber move one of the vent pipes, or if the intake is downwind of the exhaust, he might be able to switch them around inside the house.
Some simple 3Ē pipe insulation might be worth a try, for the inexpensive cost of it, but for the most part, weíre at the mercy of the elements.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:02 AM
JB_AOL JB_AOL is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SageValleyOutdoors View Post
Are you certain itís the intake and not the exhaust? The exhaust gases have a lot of moisture in them, and as soon as it hits that -30, it condenses and freezes. Over time it builds up to the point that it blocks off the exhaust pipe, which causes the hot water heater to fault and quit.
I donít think Iíve ever had a call out where the intake is the one that freezes up. But if thatís the case, i would suggest having your plumber move one of the vent pipes, or if the intake is downwind of the exhaust, he might be able to switch them around inside the house.
Some simple 3Ē pipe insulation might be worth a try, for the inexpensive cost of it, but for the most part, weíre at the mercy of the elements.
No, It's definitely the intake, but it is in a corner, so that may be something to consider.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:06 AM
HyperMOA HyperMOA is offline
 
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Put a 2 ft "snorkel" on the exhaust to get it away from the intake maybe???
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:47 AM
204ruger 204ruger is offline
 
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The intake on my instant hot water heater had a issue with freezing up then realized my bbq was to close to the wall in front of exhaust and intake and the exhaust would get directed right to the intake and frost up the screen.
Moved bbq and fixed my problem
Is there anything close to your exhaust and intake vents.
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