Hot water heater part identification needed

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Old 05-19-16, 11:55 PM
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Hot water heater part identification needed

Hello,
I'm trying to help my neighbor with her hot water heater. It would only stay lit for about 20 minutes, then the flame goes out. I slid the pilot/burner tray assembly out, and then heard a noise like something slid down the flue a little bit. Not a huge crash, just like something had slid a few inches. When I looked in I saw this piece, it may be a baffle or something? Is this supposed to sit on top of the burner, or is this something that may have broken and fallen down the flue? If it's broken, how to I remove this? It's an AO Smith 40 FDV 216. I've emptied it of water, gas is shut off. This is my first repair of a water heater and I just don't want to screw it up. I've attached a pic. Thank you for any help you may provide.Name:  h20.jpg
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Chris
 
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Old 05-20-16, 07:07 AM
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Round hot water heaters often have a spiral steel baffle in flue tube to promote turbulence. Looks like the baffle slipped down into chamber.

When made, manufacturer used some means is used to keep it from falling into the fire chamber. Some use ears at the top of baffle or a ridge at the bottom of the tube to hold it up.

Usually baffles are designed to be removable for cleaning flue.

Remove the vent connections at the top of the tank. Look down inside to view baffle. It should pull straight up. If it hits the ceiling as pulled up just bend it and keep pulling.
 
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Old 05-20-16, 08:20 AM
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Old 05-23-16, 06:54 PM
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Thank you so much for the reply. Since the water heater is 22 years old, I told my neighbor it's probably time to get a new one, being that she has her house up for sale and all.

This has been a challenge, since the heater in there now is a AO Smith SureShot Direct Vent. It's in the corner of the garage, and there are vents in the garage wall near the top and the bottom of the water heater.

I was told by a plumber that it must be replaced with another direct vent type of heater. These are much more expensive.

Funny thing is, we had the same problem a couple of years ago with our direct vent. We called a plumber who said it would take 3 to 4 weeks to get a direct vent. He suggested simply using an atmospheric heater instead. He said as long as there are grill vent/windows in the garage at the top and bottom near the heater, it would be fine. Then he simply taped a vent reducer onto the lid of the flue chamber. It's worked fine. (pic attached).

However, today, when I spoke to a different plumber who said that" isn't code", and "what he did was illegal," etc. So, rather than get a 400 or 500 water heater, my elderly neighbor on a fixed income is forced to buy a $1500 DV heater. Yikes.

Thank you for your help.Name:  heatr2.jpg
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Old 05-24-16, 05:50 AM
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It all depends on that specific installation if it will meet code or not. Check your codes and the manufacturers installation instructions. Often they specify a minimum amount of vertical vent you must have before a 90 degree fitting or a horizontal flue run. They also specify a maximum horizontal flue run often in relation to the amount of vertical before and after the horizontal.
 
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