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  1. #1
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    Default deposits on water heater and furnace

    I'm wondering if the chalky deposit near the water heater vent pictured below is the result of a venting problem. And are the thingys on the vent (last photo) for heat diffusion?

    Also wondering if the white powdery substance on the corner of the grate on the furnace is indicative of a problem. And shouldn't the holes around the A/C pipes be sealed? The lower one is bent at such an angle, it makes me wonder if it's kinked. There's also a little rust around the lower hole. Would you guys say anything about this stuff?

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  2. #2
    Kenneth Edlin's Avatar
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Looking at the picture plus the fact that you saw rust makes me think it could be a mold due to surface moisture and the mold spores being active in that area. Is there any evidence elsewhere in the basement of mold growing?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Yes, the "thingys" on the flue pipe are probably meant to reduce heat loss, but also are probably not allowed and should be removed. For one thing, they block visual inspection of the pipe.

    I don't think that's mold on the water heater.

    But.. what the heck is that hardware cloth opening next to the AC pressure line? Is that actually open into the supply plenum?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Hi Kristi,

    There are plentry of issues with those photos, but before I comment I wonder if you can tell us what you do with the information we provide.

    Do you report it to your employer? (insurance company).

    And do they refuse to insure people based on the information you provide?

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth Edlin View Post
    Looking at the picture plus the fact that you saw rust makes me think it could be a mold due to surface moisture and the mold spores being active in that area. Is there any evidence elsewhere in the basement of mold growing?
    Mold? You have got to be kidding! Why in the world would even think or bring up mold when there is no sign of mold what so ever.

    The white stuff is the byproduct of combustion gases that are cooling/condensing and not drafting out completely.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
    David Stoffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    The corrision around the top of the water heater is probably because of the missing dielectric fittings.

    Not sure of the problem with the A/C except the garden hose drain lline that always colapse and back water back into the unit.

    Instad of telling some one to remove the heat deflecter on the exterior of the flue maybe you should tell them to check it out and then make a decission.
    The ones they came up in the 70s that have a damper inside the flue I do recommned they remove as I have seen to many fail to open causing back venting

    Just my thoughts because everyone must make their own decissions


  7. #7
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Mold? You have got to be kidding! Why in the world would even think or bring up mold when there is no sign of mold what so ever.

    The white stuff is the byproduct of combustion gases that are cooling/condensing and not drafting out completely.
    I concur.

    Also, The metal coils on the vent pipe are intended to transfer heat into the space instead of wasting it up the flue. I have no opinion about that.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    The outer metal of the double metal flue has visible build up of “white powder” and condensation stains. This white build up is most likely from condensation reacting to the zinc in the metal (normal reaction). The vent should be examined for corrosion including above the roof line.

    If the vent is shared (i.e. boiler and water heater); the size of the vent should take into account that the water heater vent and boiler vent are sharing the same vent. Too large of primary vent may cause condensation from the smaller water heater vent; separate b-vents for each appliance are typically more ideal.

    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Is that a Lennox Pulse. There was a recall on some of those. The refrigerant lines and condensate line are wrong. Could be a venting problem on water heater. Have them repaired.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  10. #10
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Mold? You have got to be kidding! Why in the world would even think or bring up mold when there is no sign of mold what so ever.

    The white stuff is the byproduct of combustion gases that are cooling/condensing and not drafting out completely.
    Scott You're my Hero. I love that you say what on your mind and that fact that you always know the correct answer. Thank SOOO much.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    The white powder on the water heater appears to be condensation residue. I suspect the condensation occurred due to the added fins on the exterior. These fins will dispate the heat causing the flue gases to cool rapidly and reduce effective draft.

    The AC coil is an ADD-on. It looks like it doesn't fit in the supply plenum and I suspect that air by-passes the cooling cool, making it very inefficient in both sensible and latent cooling. The condensate drain is a hose with no trap. Not good. Their is a hole in the plenum above the coil. What the HECK!

    Total amateur installation.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    . .. . The AC coil is an ADD-on. It looks like it doesn't fit in the supply plenum and I suspect that air by-passes the cooling cool, making it very inefficient in both sensible and latent cooling. The condensate drain is a hose with no trap. Not good. Their is a hole in the plenum above the coil. What the HECK!

    Total amateur installation.
    Aren't all coils add on? At least on residential split systems.

    Why would you suspect that air by-passes the cooling coil?


  13. #13
    Phil Brody's Avatar
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Certainly would make notations on all the above. I believe the white poweder is from a VERY slow leak through the solder joint and at the look at the quality of the sweats..... All in agreement about the heat diffusers, undoubtably the referigerant collant lines should be sealed better, The refrigerant line maybe kinked, but the insulation might afford a closer look. The garden hose, well much about the workmanship there leads to DIY or inferior work.I would be suspect elsewhere.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Thank you all very much for your replies! It's nice to know that you guys are thinking along the same lines I was when I saw it, and you've added some things that I hadn't thought about. Excellent.

    There are plentry of issues with those photos, but before I comment I wonder if you can tell us what you do with the information we provide.

    Do you report it to your employer? (insurance company).

    And do they refuse to insure people based on the information you provide?
    Ken, that's a very fair question. Often when I ask questions here I've already turned in my report, and I ask more to learn and for future reference than to decide what to write. If I haven't yet submitted my report, it depends on the replies I get. If there are safety issues I will include them because it's the only way I can get the info to the homeowner without breaking the rules. There are very few reasons a policy might be cancelled as a result of my reports, and those are pretty clear-cut, I don't need to ask about them.

    Thanks again everyone! I learn so much here, I love it.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Along with everything else posted, I would also suspect issues with the water heater, as proper installation procedures were not followed as evidenced by the heat damage to the red plastic ring around the hot water line. If the cold water line was also over heated when soldering, there is a strong possibility the dip tube melted and dropped into the tank resulting in insufficient hot water.

    The female adapters should always be soldered onto the pipe before installing on the nipples to avoid this type of damage.

    Everything about the water heater and furnace looks to be done by an unskilled person, typically homeowner work.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Rode Butler
    Aren't all coils add on? At least on residential split systems.

    Why would you suspect that air by-passes the cooling coil?
    This cooling coil was slipped into the existing plenum and was sized to fit into 1/2 of the plenum. It looks like the vent wasn't even moved.

    Not all split systems have "after the fact" add-on coils. Most units have a matching coil section that fits on the discharge or intake of the unit and takes up the total cross sectional area of the supply (or return) duct.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace


    In this first picture I cant tell if the (red) plastic gromet was melted from soldering a fitting or if it is from flame/heat spilling from the vent. Mostly melted on the vent side but then it also looks like a drop of hot solder hit it from above.


  18. #18
    Binford Tools's Avatar
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Mold? You have got to be kidding! Why in the world would even think or bring up mold when there is no sign of mold what so ever.

    The white stuff is the byproduct of combustion gases that are cooling/condensing and not drafting out completely.

    X3 Can't tell from the pic's, but that is the reason to run B vent pipe as it holds the heat in and allows the gases (water vapor) to escape vs condensing back in to a liquid and running back down into the furnace and rusting the HE asap

    Nice use of a garden hose for an A/C condensate drain. :-o


  19. #19
    Binford Tools's Avatar
    Binford Tools Guest

    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    As for the water heater, just turn it on and watch what happens. Light stick a match and see which way the smoke goes.


  20. #20
    Richard Johnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    I agree regarding the venting issues. I would also recommend the furnace be inspected by a qualified heating contractor. It is a early to mid 1980's G24/26 and are know for cracked heat exchangers, usually in the right cell rear on the bend.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: deposits on water heater and furnace

    Thank you all so much for the comments! It's been very informative. I thought when I posted the photos that there were a few things wrong I could identify, but suspected there were things I was missing, as well. I knew I could depend on you guys to find more problems! It's been very educational. Good to know about furnace models that are vulnerable to problems, too.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

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