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Gas Tank Water Heater

Installed correctly, a new gas tank water heater can cut utility expenses while providing added safety by eliminating the potential for back-drafting of combustion gases.

Preparation
The existing hot and cold water pipes around the water heater shall be inspected for water leaks before installation, and any leaks found shall be reported to the homeowner for repairs before continuing the work.
The new replacement water heater shall be sized based on the first-hour rating.
Installation
The new water heater shall be ENERGY STAR certified and shall be installed in compliance with manufacturer’s specifications and relevant industry standards.
Where water leakage from the water heater could cause damage to the home, a building code-compliant emergency drain pan shall be installed with a ¾" drain line or larger running to a drain or pumping to daylight.
The temperature shall be set and the pressure relief valve shall be installed according to manufacturer’s specifications; the discharge tube shall be terminated within 6" of the floor, or as prescribed by local code.
The water heater shall be installed on blocks within the drain pan when a drain pan is included.
For a closed water supply system (i.e., with a back-flow preventer in the cold water supply), provisions shall be made to control thermal expansion (i.e., install an expansion tank if needed).
The hot water line exiting the water heater shall be installed with a heat trap configuration or heat trap nipple to prevent thermosiphon losses.
Where required by local codes, a mixing valve shall be installed to reduce the point-of-use water temperature to prevent potential scalding.
Vent system condensation shall be controlled in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging the water heater (e.g., installing vent pipe with a downward slope away from blower for horizontal venting; installing condensate piping or OEM condensate kit for vertical venting).
All accessible hot water pipes connected to the water heater shall be insulated with a minimum of R-3 pipe insulation.
Commissioning
The water heater shall be commissioned in compliance with manufacturer specifications and relevant industry standards.
All operation and maintenance procedures shall be reviewed with the homeowner (e.g., filter, condensate, check for leaks, periodic draining and flushing).
Once the system has been filled and purged, the functioning safety controls and operational controls shall be verified and the system shall be inspected for water leaks.
Where natural draft combustion equipment is present, a combustion appliance zone safety test shall be performed after installation to ensure there is no back-drafting or spillage of combustion emissions. The test shall be in accordance with ANSI/ACCA 12 QH Appendix A or RESNET Chapter 8.
The gas line to the hot water heater shall be tested for leaks after installation is complete and repairs shall be made if required.
If installation of a new direct-vent sealed-combustion gas water heater results in a vacated entry point in the chimney, the hole in the chimney wall shall be sealed.

BASC Guides

Retrofit guide describing how to assess harmful gasses such as carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and soot from existing combustion appliances.

Information guide describing how to assess crawlspaces and basements before proceeding with upgrades in existing homes.

Tips to Sell Quality Installed Home Improvements

Home Improvement Expert (HIE) is a valuable tool for organizations committed to quality installed work. The following tips help optimize the value of this tool when selling home improvements:

  • Be the Expert: Take advantage of Building America Solution Center comprehensive guidance on ‘Existing Home’ retrofits.
  • Earn Trust: Inform homeowners how your work conforms to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) world-class expert guidance and recommend homeowners visit the DOE website as evidence these are indeed official best practices.
  • Clarity with Contrast: Tell prospective homeowner clients to compare your expert recommended best practices with other contractors.
  • Ensure Equivalent Pricing: Tell prospective homeowner clients to insist other bids also include DOE checklists to ensure equivalent quality work.
  • Translate Value: Note your company uses DOE HIE Checklists based on world-class expert recommendations for home improvements on all your public-facing communication including websites, advertising, and signage.
  • Create Emotional Experiences: Provide visual evidence contrasting the difference between poor and high quality work such as infrared images for good and bad insulation and air sealing; pre- and post-energy bills following quality installed work; short and long warranties for standard and high-efficiency equipment; and charts showing amounts of contaminants in homes that can be reduced with effective fresh air systems.

Gas Tank Water Heater Background

Gas tank water heater

Water heating is the second largest energy expense in a home—typically 18% of the total utility bill. Older natural draft gas water heaters are less efficient and have the potential to back draft or spill combustion gases. High-efficiency gas tank water heaters reduce heat losses and energy costs with highly insulated tanks and efficient burners. These direct vent, sealed-combustion water heaters also reduce safety concerns by having sealed combustion chambers and sealed exhaust ducts. They are also equipped with fans to help push combustion emissions up and out the exhaust duct.