Hopefully the title of this blog doesn't sound right to any homeowner out there.
As sort of an addendum to my last blog about improper installation of water heater burner compartment doors, I want to share an unusual water heater installation. As the diagram below shows, gas water heaters, unless they are a sealed combustion type heater, get their combustion air from holes around the bottom of the heater. (I wish I had a little bit better picture for you---but I think you can get the idea from this one.)
This next picture shows the carpet in the room fitted nicely around the base of the heater---completely blocking the air intakes. Now this may be a "unique" air filtering system (bad idea), or it may be starving the heater of adequate combustion air leading to a flame producing large amounts of carbon monoxide. For more information on the dangers of Carbon Monoxide please see Steve Smith's blog: Carbon Monoxide: The Odorless, Silent Killer.
Obviously, for the heater to function properly and receive optimal amounts of combustion air, the air intakes can not be blocked and all of this carpeting must be removed from around the heater. Too bad----it looks so nice and neat, doesn't it?
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board