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Is Restricted Airflow Causing Problems With Your Gas Water Heater?

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Hot water heaters powered by natural gas and propane combine efficiency and low running costs with steadfast reliability. Unfortunately, the most reliable gas water heater can still suffer from problems caused by restricted airflow.

How Does Restricted Airflow Affect Gas Water Heaters?

Like all flammable materials, the gas used by your water heater to create heat can only burn if oxygen is present. All gas-powered water heaters have a combustion chamber, where natural gas or propane is mixed with air and ignited by a pilot light or electrical ignition system. If a problem prevents enough air from entering the combustion chamber, the gas will fail to ignite properly.

How Can You Tell If Airflow In Your Water Heater Is Restricted?

If your water heater's combustion chamber is not receiving enough airflow, it may fail to ignite when it is switched on, and your heater will not create any hot water. If you do not see any flames through the combustion chamber's inspection window when you activate your heater, this could signify restricted airflow. However, ignition failure can also be caused by pilot light malfunctions and other problems, so you should call in a professional water heater repair service to diagnose the issue.

If your gas water heater is receiving some airflow, but not enough to fully ignite the gas inside the chamber, the water heater may create sooty, yellow flames instead of the hot blue flames created by a fully functioning heater. You may also notice large amounts of soot accumulating inside the combustion chamber.

What Are 3 Common Problems That Cause Airflow Restriction?

Debris In Air Intake Filter

Your gas water heater's air intake draws air into the combustion chamber and is fitted with a filter screen to prevent lint and other debris from entering the chamber. If this filter becomes clogged with solid matter, it can cause problems with restricted airflow. Be sure to clean the air intake filter regularly, or have it professionally cleaned or replaced if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself.

Soot Accumulation

If your gas water heater has been suffering from restricted airflow problems for some time, the soot created by the partially burned gas can start to clog the heater's air intake, creating a vicious cycle where airflow becomes more restricted over time. If you notice excessive soot in and around the combustion chamber, have the air intake cleaned and flushed to remove potential soot clogs.

Improper Installation

Gas water heaters require relatively large amounts of air to work efficiently. Airflow problems can occur if your gas water heater is installed in a small, poorly ventilated room, such as a laundry room or closet.

In these circumstances, you should call in professional water heater repair and replacement services to create a solution. In many cases, adding extra air vents that lead to the outdoors or other, larger rooms can improve airflow enough for the water heater to function. If this is not possible, the water heater may need to be relocated to another, larger room to function correctly.

Speak to companies like Mr Waterheater to learn more.