Powervent water heater combustion issues

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FifthLabour

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Last year our 7 y/o Brad-Wht WH died (leaking)
As the heater it replaced was working fine at age 45 yrs, I asked for a different brand. A Rheem NG Powervent (low NOx) was installed. The next morning we had cold showers. Over the last year the Honeywell control box has been replaced three times and the Rheem heater replaced with a RUUD unit.
My problem has again recurred - no hot water with a 6-3 led flash code. Restart presents with a 20+ second pause between the sound of the gas valve opening and burner ignition. Sometimes the initial flame propagation is very vigorous- “WHOOOOMPH!!!!
When not flashing error codes or failing to start up, each time it cycles on there is a very noticeable mercaptan (natural gas odourant) smell from the exhaust out back, strong enough to cause neighbours to comment. The gas utility came, sniffed, checked the gas pressure and told me the smell did not represent a concern as it is outdoors.

ok - I need a Water Heater Whisperer!
Replacing bits over and over is not working.
The Rheem/RUUD tanks are shaped differently than the Bradford-White, so some PVC surgery must have been required. Could the air intake now be compromised in some way?
By the way our tenant’s water heater sits next to ours and has not had any issues so far.

(our plumber seems honest and competent but he blames Rheem, who are happy to ship parts but will not pay for labour.)
 

Plumber69

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Last year our 7 y/o Brad-Wht WH died (leaking)
As the heater it replaced was working fine at age 45 yrs, I asked for a different brand. A Rheem NG Powervent (low NOx) was installed. The next morning we had cold showers. Over the last year the Honeywell control box has been replaced three times and the Rheem heater replaced with a RUUD unit.
My problem has again recurred - no hot water with a 6-3 led flash code. Restart presents with a 20+ second pause between the sound of the gas valve opening and burner ignition. Sometimes the initial flame propagation is very vigorous- “WHOOOOMPH!!!!
When not flashing error codes or failing to start up, each time it cycles on there is a very noticeable mercaptan (natural gas odourant) smell from the exhaust out back, strong enough to cause neighbours to comment. The gas utility came, sniffed, checked the gas pressure and told me the smell did not represent a concern as it is outdoors.

ok - I need a Water Heater Whisperer!
Replacing bits over and over is not working.
The Rheem/RUUD tanks are shaped differently than the Bradford-White, so some PVC surgery must have been required. Could the air intake now be compromised in some way?
By the way our tenant’s water heater sits next to ours and has not had any issues so far.

(our plumber seems honest and competent but he blames Rheem, who are happy to ship parts but will not pay for labour.)
Take pictures of outside venting and inside of tank setup.
 

FifthLabour

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FifthLabour

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When the heater DOES light it does so in an abnormal fashion. I described this to Rheem back in September or so:
Our Ruud PROG50-38U RU67 PV-2 water heater SR M282006841 is creating a
very heavy gas odor each time it begins to heat. The odor is so strong that
our next-door neighbor has complained. Pacific Gas & Electric was here
today (see attached), they say the “pilot assembly” may need repair. What
is happening, per PGE, when the water heater fires up:

1) fan on
2) gas flowing
3) ignitor clicking - gas odor at the vent
4) ignitor clicking - stronger gas odor at the vent
5) ignitor clicking - very strong gas odor at the vent
6) WHOOSH!!! burner lights with unusually loud sound

From pilot lit to burner ignition (1 - 6) is 43 seconds.
 
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