Can I Draw Exterior Combustion Air In For My PowerVent Water Heater?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by ahadave, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. ahadave

    ahadave New Member

    Jan 21, 2010
    Rochester New York
    Greetings -

    I visit this forum occasionally (great resource!), but this is my first post.

    I noticed the radon levels in my home elevated when I replaced my atmospheric venting water heater with an A.O. Smith GPVH 40 100 power vent model.

    The levels are still below the safe level in warm weather, but in the winter when a low pressure system rolls through the levels rise above the EPA recommended action level (4 pCi/l) in my unfinished basement.

    I know that you can run 2-pipes (intake & exhaust) on some power vents, but my manual doesn't mention anything about this.

    Can I pull air from the exterior through an an intake pipe with this model?

    If not - any other recommendations?


  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Do you have a Radon meter in your house? I have never heard of anyone who does continual checking of its level. You would have to install a "duct" or other means of air intake to the room and it would have to be at least one square inch for every 1,000 btu of burner input. A LARGE PVC pipe would do it, but not the small ones used for a power vent.
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Radon will drive you crazy...I don't mean the gas, but trying to get handle on readings. I have been through this. Short term testers are less accurate. Everything I researched says that a long term test ( 6 months to 1 year) gives you a better overall picture of your risk level. Short term spikes are not of such great concern if your long term levels are below 4.

    Providing some return air for combustion burners is not a bad idea, especially if the house is tight, because you don't want to create any negative pressure in the house...that helps to bring radon up through the basement floor. With your winter temps, you have to be concerned of course with the COLD air. Perhaps an air to air heat exchanger.

    First thing, check with the tech line at your manufacturer, to see if there is some provision to outside vent your unit,.
  5. dargo

    dargo New Member

    Jan 9, 2010

    You could and I think the new manuals have this in the layout. For me, I have the same deal but a 50 is your are wasting alot of heat to funnel in an intake. There is not direct way to plumb it like a furnace. I look at this also but the burner uses little air compared to my furance or the water tank power vent.
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