Plumbing With A Purpose

Plumbing With a Purpose

Troubleshooting A Tankless Water Heater Air Supply System

Joann Gardner

Many tankless water heaters run on natural gas, which means they need a properly functioning air supply system in order to both work and to meet safety requirements.

Common Signs of Trouble

The good news is that tankless heaters are typically designed in such a way that they will shut down in the event there is no longer proper airflow. They will show an error code on the control panel, which you can cross-reference with your owner's manual, which may indicate the problem is with the air supply or poor venting. In the event the heater doesn't shut down, your first sign of poor air supply may be the carbon monoxide alarm going off since the fumes will begin to build up. Make sure there is always an alarm installed if you have a gas water heater.

Other signs of air supply problems include pilot lights that won't stay lit or those that appear to flicker and change color instead of remaining a steady blue. Poor, uneven heating can also be the result of air supply problems.

Causes of Air Supply Problems

Air supply issues are either in the vent system itself or a problem with the vent pipe outlet on the roof. Sometimes vent systems malfunction or break down, especially fan-driven systems that use a fan to circulate air out the vent pipes or draw it down the intake. If the vent is clogged, you end up with gas fumes, whereas a clogged intake leads to poor combustion and pilot light issues.

Blockages in the vent are also a common problem. Debris, such as leaves or bird nesting materials, can get lodged inside the vent where it emerges from the roof. When this happens, gas fumes can't properly vent. The debris can also block intake vents and cause poor fuel combustion.

Possible Solutions

If your tankless water heater isn't venting properly, the first task is to determine the problem. Issues with the air supply system, such as a broken fan, can be repaired so that the air flows through the intake and vent properly again. Your technician may also advise removing anything stored near the heater in order to ensure better air circulation.

Blocked vents and intake ports will need to be cleaned out so that they are free of debris. Your technician can also install screening and covers over them, which will help prevent future blockages from occurring. For more information, contact a tankless water heater service.


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About Me
Plumbing With A Purpose

When was the last time you realized that you had a serious plumbing problem? About a month ago, I knew that I had to make some big changes, so I began talking with different plumbers about getting the job done. I told them that I wanted to replace the bathtub in the bathroom and the sink and faucet in the kitchen, and they took my requests in stride. Before I knew it, my entire home was updated and I felt great about the work. I wanted to start this blog to help other people to learn more about plumbing and repair.