Enclosed Water Heater
i am looking for a little advice. I just bought a house with a gas water heater in a finished portion of my garage. The water heater has 2 outside vents at the top and bottom of the water heater. That is great for my water heater but not for my winter heating bills, since the garage is heated on the same system as the rest of my house. Can I safely enclose the water heater as long as its vented? Are their any clearance requirements? thanks for the help.
Intake air for combustion is taken from the bottom. The exhaust is vented out of the flue at the top to the chimney, or may be powervented thru a wall. The most important thing here is clearances for combustibles. The same applies to the flue pipe, you can't have a single walled smoke pipe passing thru any walls or floors. B vent would then be required. Another thing inspectors look for is a steel door on the room you plan to put the heater in. Check manufactures and local codes for clearances.
Per most city codes, a top and bottom vent to the outside is required. I think there are a couple reasons: (1) if the flume ever leaks, the toxic gases have an alternate escape route and (2) if the pilot flame goes out or there is a gas leak, the gas will have an escape route. And, in order for air to flow out of an enclosed space, 2 openings work best (1 for intake, 1 for output).