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.
I have been trying to find an answer relating to manufactured homes, as I recently purchased a 1998 16×80. The water heater is a 2008 GE Electric tank water heater, which does not indicate anywhere on the unit if it a HUD approved electric water heater for mobile home replacement. I assume electric water heaters do not need to be vented up through the ceiling & out of chimney type flue pipe for proper ventilation? Initially, there must have been a gas water heater that was replaced with current electric water heater in 2008. What I need to better understand is why there is an open hole in ceiling above current water heater, which is blowing cold air down from the open hole when the gas furnace (which was recently replaced due to cracked heat exchange shortly after I purchased) kicks in. Shouldn’t that open hole in ceiling used for gas water heater for ventilation purposes be professionally sealed? I live in the Midwest with extremely cold temperatures & this major draft of cold air flow coming in through this area is causing the furnace to run often even with Thermostat setting at 68 degrees. I am also very concerned about the opening in the ceiling above water heater as it looks like mold growth is occurring. I have a lung disease, which has become worse & I don’t understand why I am having type flu-type symptoms. What should I do & who can I contact to make sure this is not a health & safety issue?