Resonance through Gas Water Heater Flue

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Matt1972, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. Matt1972

    Matt1972 New Member

    Dec 23, 2004
    I hope someone is able to provide some guidance.

    Yesterday, I installed a new water heater. It's a Richmond (from Menards made by Rheem) 50 gallon gas water heater. After firing it up for the first time, there is an irregular resonance heard from the flue. I disconnected for a few seconds the flue so that the heater vented directly into the basement and the resonance was still there. If you cover the opening to the flue where it comes out of the heater, the noise completely stops.

    When the heater is making the noise, you can hear it also around the bottom of the tank where the burner is located.

    I tried rotating the baffle to see if the helped (it did not) and tried lifting the baffle out while it was making the noise. There was no discernable change in pitch to the resonance.

    It seems to just be more annoying than anything else. But, you can hear it faintly upstairs on the first floor and I think over time will get on my last nerve.

    Any thoughts?

  2. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    Sep 10, 2004
    That reminds me of the physics experiment where you can make a musical note by heating a metal tube. I know the new gas heaters condense a lot of water that then drips on the burner. That's the only noise I've encountered. You may have to buy another heater or get used to the one you have.
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Shut down the gas and let the burner and flue cool. Then lift up the baffle which is the twisted metal bar running down the center of the htr. Bend this slighlty along its long axis, just so it takes a little push to make it insert back down into the center of the WH.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    If the burner has an air adjustment try closing it a little. It sounds like the noise that a burner makes when the flame is burning away from the burner itself, often caused by excessive air.
  6. Matt1972

    Matt1972 New Member

    Dec 23, 2004

    Thanks for the advice. I tried the simplest first which was to cover for a few seconds the air inlet holes on the side of the tank neat the bottom. They extend on each side of the tank about 2/3 of the way around. I covered one side (about a third of the opening) and it was GREATLY diminished. I uncovered it and the sound got louder. When I did this, I watched the flame through the little window (since you can't light the burner with a match anymore!) and the flame did get a little smaller. I should have mentioned that this heater was built 10.04 so it's one of the new ones. Is the air adjustment something that I can do? There is nothing in the instructions about adjusting it and I don't see any way to close the air openings at the bottom of the tank. I did try to call Rheem yesterday and they are closed until Monday.

    I will try to bend the baffle a little when I have time in a few days.

    Thanks again for the advice. I really appreciate it.

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