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Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 12th 06, 07:23 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 168
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?

When I stand right next to the water heater, I smell a little bit of gas at
certain height. If I move to 1 foot away, I no longer can smell it.

See this photo:
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/990857
The red ellipse shows where I smell the gas. I smell some at lower spots,
but it's not continuous, meaning when I go lower, I don't smell it, then I
smell it, ...

I assume it has been like this during the last year, and there is no
cumulation of natural gas (like I said, only can smell it within a foot). So
I wonder, is it normal for a water heater with pilot light to emit some
natural gas odor, or should I try to seal all the pipe joints?


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  #2  
Old July 12th 06, 11:27 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 480
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?

peter wrote:
When I stand right next to the water heater, I smell a little bit of
gas at certain height. If I move to 1 foot away, I no longer can
smell it.
See this photo:
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/990857
The red ellipse shows where I smell the gas. I smell some at lower
spots, but it's not continuous, meaning when I go lower, I don't
smell it, then I smell it, ...

I assume it has been like this during the last year, and there is no
cumulation of natural gas (like I said, only can smell it within a
foot). So I wonder, is it normal for a water heater with pilot light
to emit some natural gas odor, or should I try to seal all the pipe
joints?


How long has the water heater been there? Was it a replacement or a new
install?



--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit


  #3  
Old July 12th 06, 12:01 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 555
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?

Your fire dept and gas company will check it out free, it could be Co
from a poor draft, blocked flue, There are Co-Ng detectors for about 40$
at HD, get it checked out by a pro you obviously dont have your
equipment serviced or cleaned regularly and you should.

  #4  
Old July 12th 06, 02:20 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 4,505
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?


m Ransley wrote:
Your fire dept and gas company will check it out free, it could be Co
from a poor draft, blocked flue, There are Co-Ng detectors for about 40$
at HD, get it checked out by a pro you obviously dont have your
equipment serviced or cleaned regularly and you should.



No, it;s not normal to smell any gas near a water heater. It needs to
be checked out. You can start checking yourself by applying some soapy
water with a brush to the pipe joints. If there is a leak, you will
see bubbles. It's most likely the problem is before the combustion
occurs, not the exhaust, because the combustion products are odorless.

  #5  
Old July 12th 06, 03:07 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 2
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?


wrote:
m Ransley wrote:
Your fire dept and gas company will check it out free, it could be Co
from a poor draft, blocked flue, There are Co-Ng detectors for about 40$
at HD, get it checked out by a pro you obviously dont have your
equipment serviced or cleaned regularly and you should.



No, it;s not normal to smell any gas near a water heater. It needs to
be checked out. You can start checking yourself by applying some soapy
water with a brush to the pipe joints. If there is a leak, you will
see bubbles. It's most likely the problem is before the combustion
occurs, not the exhaust, because the combustion products are odorless.


I have a followup question to this answer - unrelated to water heaters,
but sort of on topic - is there a "safe" amount of natural gas to
smell? Reason: I can smell natural gas near my meter, but only when I
put my nose right near the pipes. Anywhere else along the ground
around the meter I can't smell it - and I can't smell it on any of the
pipes in my house that I could reach (my neighbors probably think I've
lost my mind). I've had the gas company out several times, each time
they told me they could smell it too (with their nose up next to the
pipe), but said that they couldn't find a leak. I watched the last guy
who came out and he soaped up the entire pipe & meter and found
nothing. None of them has given me a good reason why this is
occurring.

Thanks
Doug

  #6  
Old July 12th 06, 03:21 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 5,834
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?


wrote in message

I have a followup question to this answer - unrelated to water heaters,
but sort of on topic - is there a "safe" amount of natural gas to
smell? Reason: I can smell natural gas near my meter, but only when I
put my nose right near the pipes. Anywhere else along the ground
around the meter I can't smell it -


Any time the gas does not explode could be considered safe in a loose sense
of the term.

The odorant that is put into gas can leave a residue over time. I've
sniffed pipes and fittings removed from gas service and months later and
could detect an odor. If their equipment does not detect any gas, it is
probably safe and the leak may be gone, but the residue remains. So, you
are not smelling gas necessarily, but the odorant. Natural gas has no odor.

You did the right thing having it checked.


  #8  
Old July 12th 06, 10:27 PM posted to alt.home.repair
Bob
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Posts: 141
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?


peter wrote:
When I stand right next to the water heater, I smell a little bit of gas at
certain height. If I move to 1 foot away, I no longer can smell it.

See this photo:
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/990857
The red ellipse shows where I smell the gas. I smell some at lower spots,
but it's not continuous, meaning when I go lower, I don't smell it, then I
smell it, ...

I assume it has been like this during the last year, and there is no
cumulation of natural gas (like I said, only can smell it within a foot). So
I wonder, is it normal for a water heater with pilot light to emit some
natural gas odor, or should I try to seal all the pipe joints?


I installed a new gas waterheater and for weeks later kept getting a
faint smell of gas odor. Rechecked my connections and they were tight.
Finally checked the internal connections and found a loose one - came
that way from the factory. Tightened it and never smelled gas again.

Bob

  #9  
Old July 13th 06, 04:04 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,079
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?


"peter" wrote in message
news:Oz0tg.5732$pB.4088@trnddc06...
When I stand right next to the water heater, I smell a little bit of gas
at certain height. If I move to 1 foot away, I no longer can smell it.

See this photo:
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/990857
The red ellipse shows where I smell the gas. I smell some at lower spots,
but it's not continuous, meaning when I go lower, I don't smell it, then I
smell it, ...

I assume it has been like this during the last year, and there is no
cumulation of natural gas (like I said, only can smell it within a foot).
So I wonder, is it normal for a water heater with pilot light to emit some
natural gas odor, or should I try to seal all the pipe joints?

Your question is pretty dangerous, remember that this is a public forum and
therefore we can't tell what your situation and what your intelligence level
really is, so a question involving highly flammable gas typically is
answered very conservatively.

As to whether it is normal or not, it can yes. I have spoken with people
who do home calls and people who do training for PSE (Puget Sound Energy)
and on certain gas water heaters it is normal to smell gas around the burner
control knob. But your circle doesn't indicate that location so in my mind
you should perhaps ask your gas supplier if they can verify the installation
for you. It's what I did when I smelled gas in and around my gas control
box. No reason to risk sending your water heater into low orbit.


  #10  
Old July 15th 06, 05:15 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 168
Default Is it normal to smell natural gas near water heater?

"Joseph Meehan" wrote in message
. ..
peter wrote:
When I stand right next to the water heater, I smell a little bit of
gas at certain height. If I move to 1 foot away, I no longer can
smell it.
See this photo:
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/990857
The red ellipse shows where I smell the gas. I smell some at lower
spots, but it's not continuous, meaning when I go lower, I don't
smell it, then I smell it, ...

I assume it has been like this during the last year, and there is no
cumulation of natural gas (like I said, only can smell it within a
foot). So I wonder, is it normal for a water heater with pilot light
to emit some natural gas odor, or should I try to seal all the pipe
joints?


How long has the water heater been there? Was it a replacement or a
new install?


It is a replacement water heater installed about 1 year ago. If I turn off
the gas valve on the water heater itself, then the smell is gone.

Then I turn it to the pilot lighting setting and lit the pilot. Immediately
after this I stuck my nose near the control box (where the valve, lighting
button, and the temperature control is mounted) and smell gas.

I think it's safe (dangerous?) to say the leak comes from that control box.
And it's only 1 year old. The water heater is made by state industries
(http://www.stateind.com/).


 




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