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Hot water heater - yellow flame advice needed

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moots
moots Member Posts: 37
A friend of mine had his Bradford 40 gallon Power Vent fail and he is laid up so I installed a new one for him yesterday, the old one ran for many years.

The new heater was a different form factor so I had to run new PVC, Flexlines but the gas connection was ok.

This heater is in a small closet with NO fresh air available other than the door being open, into the house. The PowerVent PVC runs horizontally out the side of the house.

The altitude here is 8,700' in the Mountains.

The new heater is working fine but there is quite a bit of yellow in the flame and I am wondering if this is just how it is going to be going forward. I did not check the vent run to ensure there were no blockages but I am assuming the heater would not be running if it were.

I don't believe there are adjustments for air on the burner but not sure since I am not a Mechanical Pro.

I am assuming if I leave it like this he may not get a long life out of the new heater and consume more energy but perhaps this is how the old one ran for years ?

any advice would be appreciated !

Dave

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
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    If it's yellow (not orange) it's not getting enough air -- or too much gas. Is there an adjustment for altitude or a different orifice? Check the installation instructions.

    Also there may simply not be enough air in that closet...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mootsmattmia2
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,715
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    propane vs nat gas ?
    known to beat dead horses
    moots
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,386
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    Hi, A question about the closet. Is the closet big enough that you can be in it with the door closed? Have you watched the flame with door closed and door open? Any difference?? Just gathering info B)

    Yours, Larry
    moots
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    New heater, high altitude, no burner adjustments.   I'd say you need a smaller orifice, verify LP of NG, and check for availability of high altitude kit.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    mootsmattmia2
  • moots
    moots Member Posts: 37
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    So I went over there today, it's a nice blue flame and I hung out for 30 minutes. My guess now is after watching an initial heating cycle of 40 gallons of cold water yesterday that it exhausted all the available good air in the vicinity even with the closet door open.

    It is NG and the closet is small enough that you cannot be in it with the door closed FYI.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited June 2023
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    Is the closet on the first floor with a crawl space under the floor? Is the closet on an exterior wall? You need available combustion air for a power vent.
  • realliveplumber
    realliveplumber Member Posts: 354
    edited June 2023
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    Not enough info from the op. It could also be a power direct vent water heater, which utilizes outdoor combustion air.

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/bradfordwhitecorp/wp-content/uploads/residential_gas_natural_power_direct_vent_naeca_compliant_specsheet_1117.pdf

    It doesn't necessarily have to be a louver door. you can use the 1, or 2, permanent opening method, [1 sq. inch of louver per 1000 btu. Or take combustion air from other rooms with ducts.

    This may already exist, and the "installer" didn't notice it. Probably didn't get a permit either.

    Either way its life safety. But hey, you can do it, they can help.
    HomerJSmith
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
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    That's a good point and the best of all worlds.
    realliveplumber
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,942
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    Orange is sodium from dust and other things, yellow is not enough air.
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 506
    edited June 2023
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      I would make sure there are no competing appliances searching for make - up air; bathroom exhaust fans, range hoods, clothes dryer, etc.
       Have you tried opening a door or window to let outdoor air in during firing?
        As a matter of safety I always insist on checking for functioning CO detectors before I leave a jobsite where new equipment has been installed.
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 642
    edited June 2023
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    Aosmith has a good page on the types of venting.
    https://www.hotwater.com/info-center/water-heater-venting.html

    I would say about 95% of customers do not know the difference between power vent, power direct vent, and direct vent. They simply ask for a power vent if they don't have a chimney.

    Not knowing the difference also means not knowing the limitations and proper installation procedure.
    Solid_Fuel_Man