Venting of On Demand Gas Water Heater

Asked by Phil, Chicago, IL Fri Jan 24, 2014

I am trying to install a Richmond "on demand" gas water heater to replace an existing tank-style unit (need to install a self-venting unit because cannot vent all the way to the roof). The walls in the home are brick, though there is a boarded-over window with a dryer vent a few feet over (this is being installed in a basement).

Question is, using manufacturer's vent line (as required), can I vent directly out the side of the building, either through the plywood "window" (maybe converted to cement board or a similar material) or through the brick (just a bit more work). This appears to be fine or the water tank, I just want to be sure about Chicago code.

Either way ("window" or brick), if I do this the vent will come out of the house about a foot off the ground, facing out to a walkway between two homes (typical Chicago lots). Any advice on if this would be proper will be GREATLY appreciated.

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Manuel Brown, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Jan 25, 2014

This is something you want to speak with a licensed plumber. Remember, if this is not installed properly and something happens in your home that you need an insurance claim and problem was caused by the installation of that tankless heater, they will not pay the claim.

Do it right and protect your investment. Remember the cheap can end up expensive.
1 vote
Talking to a professional in this matter is sounds advice. You don't want to install it wrong and have unnecessary consequences. I am a do-it-yourself kind of person, but this problem sounds like it would be better handled by a professional. The final choice is up to you.
Flag Wed Jan 14, 2015
This is what I was going to say. It sounds like it will work, but it might not be up to code. What sort of venting did the water heater originally use? Can't you follow the same path? If their pipes met city codes before, then your pipes should as well. If you want to make sure it's done correctly, you should probably hire a professional.
Jenn |
Flag Wed Nov 12, 2014
lewisremingt…, Home Owner, Rochester, NY
Tue Apr 21, 2015
I would recommend calling a professional and asking them. They'll have the best idea on what to do, and what will work. You don't want to risk not having your water heater work after spending time and money on it.
0 votes
Cory Trevor, Home Buyer, Aberdeen, OH
Mon Sep 22, 2014
I am surprised that you would even attempt to install a water heater by yourself. Natural gas has many hazards associated with it, including explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. You don't want to put your family in danger just to avoid some installation costs. I would strongly recommend hiring a professional.
0 votes
Richard Hunt,…, , Chicago, IL
Mon Jan 27, 2014
I think that Chicago requires a certain distance from a direct vent to a window or door AND minimum distance to another building - ask a Chicago heat/vent reviewer for details. Also, I think the vertical clearance is to the expected top of snow, not grade level.
0 votes
David Hanna, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri Jan 24, 2014
Hi Phil-

Call the City Plumbing department and ask them this question. What is allowed varies with the clearance, materials, temperature of the exhaust as well as the proximity of the adjacent buildings.
If you bought this at Home depot, etc they should have the requirements for venting. I am fairly certain it will need to be more than 12" above grade.
As a home owner, you are allowed to do this to code without a permit in Chicago.
0 votes
Bob Brandt, Agent, Schaumburg, IL
Fri Jan 24, 2014
Most municipalities require a permit to be issued on a water heater.
Perhaps they could give you details that are required. Or a professional plumber can get the permit and be responsible to the city if not done right.
I do not think too many plumbers read this forum to give you the proper advice you seek.
0 votes
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