Water Heater Ventilation
LESLIE: In New Jersey, Marlene’s looking for the sound of silence. Tell us what’s annoying you.
MARLENE: We have a water heater in a closet next to my daughter’s room.
MARLENE: You know, it has the louvered type doors.
MARLENE: And every time it goes on, it’s just very noisy.
TOM: Is it a gas water heater?
MARLENE: Yes, it is. And it’s only two years old.
TOM: Yeah, unfortunately, you cannot enclose that any further and the reason …
LESLIE: Because you need the ventilation.
TOM: Exactly. Those louvered doors are there to supply combustion air so that when the gas comes on, it has some air that it can burn and then work it’s way up the vent pipe. If you …
LESLIE: Well, what about putting in a door but trimming up the bottom two or three inches?
TOM: It depends on what else is in that closet. But there are some rules of thumb in terms of how much air you need. And I would recommend a louvered door in a situation like that. I just think that’s it’s dangerous to do anything but try to – because I mean if you put a door in and you have some space on the bottom and then, you know, you get toys or you get clothes or blankets that happen to block that, now the water heater is really starving for air. But what happens with natural gas if it doesn’t have enough air, it can burn into a very toxic carbon monoxide. And if that chimney gets blocked, that’ll leak into the house and that could be very, very bad. So, unfortunately, there’s nothing that we can recommend that will quiet a natural gas water heater.
There are other types that have sealed combustion chambers. I suspect this one does not. They may be a bit quieter. But it’s very important to keep those louvers open, Marlene. Because if you close them, it could be very dangerous.
Marlene, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.