On a recent Quality Assurance site visit, I found a gas-fired water heater with a "Vent-rite Spill Alarm" installed on the flue. The contractor noted that worst-case spillage and draft failed in this home both on the test-in and test-out. I had heard of folks using these alarms, but had yet to see one installed until now. 

Ideally, the contrator would've been able to correct the venting situation and get the unit to pass its CAZ tests. The homeowner was reluctant to put in a new tankless water heater since the unit is less than 2 years old. So, it looks like the contractor fell back on the combination of a Carbon Monoxide alarm and Spillage alarm to monitor the situation until the homeowner is ready to install a direct vented water heater.

I am putting this out on the forums to find out what experiences people have had with these detectors? One concern the homeowner raised was regarding battery life - i.e. if its battery dies how will she know if it is working. A bigger concern from my perspective is whether they can be relied upon to accurately detect spillage over the lifespan of the water heater (in this case that could be 10 years). Any resources or experiences people have with these devices would be very much appreciated.

Tags: backdraft, gas-fired, heater, spillage, water

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Sorry, no experience with the spillage alarms. Though from product description found elsewhere it should have a test/reset button so homeowner can check that it is still functioning. 

I once had a client who had installed a draft inducer fan on the vent pipe that was wired to operate when burner was on.  It seemed to work OK as an interim measure. BTW, I cannot see the chimney end of the vent pipe in your posted photo, but sounds like you saying that the venting cannot be raised to get the elbow off of the draft hood. Correct?

Does not appear to have Code Compliant pitch on that Venting, does it?

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