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Ask This Old House 20 More Indoor Projects Installing A Tankless Water Heate


Hey there Richard hey Kevin oh all right  so what do you think we’re working with  you well this is the most popular way to  make hot water in North America a tank  type water here comes in a variety of  sizes 3040 up to 100 gallons and it’s  fired by a variety of fuels natural gas  propane oil or electricity now our unit  here is fired by propane the line comes  right here and there’s a burner that  sits underneath this tank there is a  sensor right here it will feel the tank  temperature and fire the burnin whenever  the temperature gets below 120 degrees  ok so this fills up at hot water right  here right and if fires up it heats up  this tank and you can see up here the  cold water feed bringing cold water in  and this is the hot one line going up to  the faucet this pipe right here is  galvanized sheet metal that’s the flue  gas so they leave the water heater and  go into the chilly this is right here  okay now this is actually burning all  day long it’s fueling all day long all  day every day alright.

So that’s the  efficiency still right well not you  hearing out it’s making hot water and  you know it’s wasteful you going to lose  some of that energy to the basement some  goes up here a more efficient way to  make hot water would be using one of  these devices you’ve taught us this is a  tankless hot water heater absolutely the  key to this is that there is no tank the  only time that this gas burner comes on  is when you open up the faucet now we’ve  got to modify a lot of this water piping  and gas piping so what does i shut off  the water main and the gas where comes  into the house now I have to get the  water out of the tank now connect this  hose once i do i’d like you to plug in  that pump and we’ll get that water  pumped right out into that some punch  we also need to break the vacuum so the  water will leave the tank for that would  disconnecting the vacuum breaker great  do we have that sump pump there yeah now  with the water drained out we can now  cut our hot and cold lines let me use  this small cutter it’s designed to get  into tight spaces can while I do this  once you cut away that pipe insulation  so you cut the hot water line two that’s  enough okay.

This one good another hot  good alright we run our water  connections now I need to break the  Union connection on the gas pipe and  when that not disconnected I can now  start back in this pipe out once we get  this flue pipe out of the way we can  move the water here oh yeah like that  alright you take the dolly okay alright  so here’s a new unit you’re not going to  actually vent this out of the existing  chimney where we vented that hot water  that’s right that old water heater had  plenty of flue gas temperature came up  out of the water either into the flue  gas pipe and went all the way right up  out of the chimney okay so those went up  really fast that’s right now with high  efficient equipment we’re actually  getting more heat to be used to heat the  water and less into the chimney that  means cooler flue gas temperature so  less heat going up that chimney and it  going up slower that’s right so now it  starts going up and now water that’s in  the flue gas condensation can now form  inside the chimney had rotted away okay  so if we were going to use this chimney  we’d probably have to rely on a vetting  process now you know like this uses a  special venting system it’s a concentric  pipe in pipe you see it would sit right  here now the hot flue gases would leave  through this inner pipe going to outside  yeah and the outer pipe would carry  combustion air the air to be burned by  the burner inside that alright and so we  do not have to actually send that  concentric pipe all the way up the side  of house.

You can go right out here and I  wanna go right there all right before we  get started we have to get rid of this  and plug the old shipping  any one second go make sure we have a  nice tight seal we’ll use some furnace  cement to seal that plug the best part  for us to exit the building with our  flue pipe is right up here at the rim so  we’d like to be right about there and  that’s about 9 inches from our sump pump  line let me show you what that is  outside all right Kevin here’s our sump  pump line coming out from inside and you  can see weird about nine inches right  there that’s what we want to drill our  hole okay but there was some real  limitations about where we could send  these flue gases to outside mr. what we  want to be at least 12 inches mini  window which we are we’d also like to be  about 12 inches at least 12 inches away  from any side wall like this chimney and  we’re about almost 14 so the fine man  well why do we care outside walls though  what with a side wall if the wind was  blowin it could blow in here and could  cause a swirl effect and that might put  some of the contaminated flue gases back  into the intake and that’s not good okay.

Now but we also have to have one more  thing to consider and that’s this this  is the exhaust from the house furnace  mhm we need to be at least four feet  away from this point because we don’t  want any of those gases getting sucked  up after that I look at it not four feet  now we’re less than four feet so let me  show you just pass me that pipe right  there this guy right here it’s a big  periscope it’s a snorkel kit and that’s  going to sit right here and you can see  it will be at least four feet from that  exhaust okay so we’ve got a good  location are we ready to drill we are it  starts with a pilot hole not that to be  as level as possible  now i’m using a hole saw to cut the hole  fire exhaust pipe now if i use this  whole star up against the claps i could  split them with a drill this powerful so  one trick is to run the drill bit in  Reverse until we get through the  clapboard  first couple layers okay claps are out  this is the sheathing hand me that drill.

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