Is this OK?

I found this furnace exhaust arrangement today. The pipe does not have the negative slope toward the furnace that I would expect, but there is a power assist installed near the exit through the foundation block. Anyone wish to comment on this? The home showed evidence of “handyman” activity in many areas. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

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what kind of furnace/boiler was it? Where does the flue exit, is there no chimney?


I hope others will comments here as well but I have a couple of comments for you.

This unit appears to be in a garage or at least there is a garage door opener in the picture. The boiler should be raised so that sources of ignition are above the 18" level.

The negative pitch toward “power assist” device just seems wrong.

The power assist assembly should have a “listing” symbol on it if it is a legitimate product . It should also indicate on the device what UL standard it is “listed” or “recognized” for. Check for a mfg. label and model no. I have the same manufacturer of boiler in a natural gas config but mine is a power vented within the boiler itself. It’s possible that there may exist a unit for this purpose but it would have to be interlocked with the boiler control to assure that sufficient draft was present before starting the fire.

At the very least I would reccomend that it be deferred to a qualified heating system contractor for routine service and a safety evaluation.

oil hot water, no chimney

Thanks Mike


There are numerous issues in the photo that you posted.

The vent is just one of them.

Yes, thank you Joe. Do you wish to elaborate?

In addition to the comments already presented regarding the boiler, is there living space above the garage? If so, there is not any fire rated drywall present, in addition to the insulation installed incorrectly. Difficult to see, but there may be some deflection in the support beam.

John Evans;)

I hate trying to inspect from a picture .Yes insulation vapour barrier should be to the warm side . The electric for door opener should be on its own circuit and the feed requires clips. I agree garage boiler should be raised .
I am sure there are more did you take the cover of the electric panel.
the wires look like they do not have clips .
What are the regulations in your area re how close can oil tank be to furnace. . Is the light properly suported looks loose . Roy Cooke

I am not sure to what you are referring when you speak of clips. Clearly the oil tank is close to the furnace, but I do not know the required disatance in this township. I will find out though, thanks.

Looks to me like there are no suport straps on wires from the Panel and also the box for the receptical for the door opener has a wire in and out needs clips and this also tells me some thing else is on that circuit. It should end at the door opener.

Roy Cooke

First I agree with Joseph,a lot of issues,and all other inspectors telling you about what they see wrong,that’s just the inspector side of us coming out.I know you asked about the venting.
This seems to me a through the wall venting system,I don’t see a chimney,
Oil through the wall vents,shall not terminate;Onto a paved sidewalk or onto a paved driveway between two buildings.Less than 7’ above sidewalk,near a gas meter 3’, under a porch,etc. etc.
This seems like a new install,did they have this unit in basement in the past?
This also looks like an older house[re-paper back insulation]is there a tank in basement?Is there an underground tank?I would look for cut off fill and vent lines.Is garage used for cars.?If so they need barrier.Living quarters above?Need F/R drywall,C.O. detector.This place is a mess!!

MAINTENANCE OF OIL BURNING EQUIPMENT SHALL BE PERFORMED ON AN ANNUAL BASIS It’s mandated here in Ontario and I’m sure it is in your city in the states.
I agree with Roy,do not like to inspect from picture.Hope I helped you.

Thanks very much to all of you who provided comments. I recommended a full evaluation by a licensed HVAC contractor. This is a split level home with a finished basement and a garage with a utility area as a lower level. I got the reversed insulation and lack of fire barrier, but didn’t know about the 18" requirement. Thanks for that one, I won’t forget it. Is the lack of proper pitch “OK” due to the draft assist device? My inclination is to call out improper pitch.

I would check the mgf installation instructions for the proper venting procedures. Can’t tell from the picture, but it looks like a columbia. I see a lot of oil fired boilers and have never seen one vented like this.


Some one (installer) is assuming a lot of things here.

I agree with all the responses so far.

The most important factor with any appliance installation is:
What does the Mfg. installation instruction tell the installer to do and how.
Weekend warriors who modify these installations to do something like this are doing several things:

Assuming to much.
Risk life, health and property!

I have never seen a natural draft furnace converted into a “power assisted” vent unit like this. The Mfg would call this a hazard and not designed for it UNLESS they say it can be done with an approved piece of equipment by their recommendations.
Warranty is shot, done , over ,forget it…:frowning:

The length (“run”) of the flue is most likely way to long and cools the products of combustion down before any proper venting can take place.
Clearance to combustible materials??? 6" single wall pipe next to ???
The slope of the flue is completely wrong / missing…
The missing draft hood ??
Damper Waaaaa?
Appliance is most likely not designed for this concept of venting.

Flue “assist Motor” gets controlled by ???
What happens to the flame at the burners when this motor is running…
Premature deterioration of equipment??

Differ that puppy with serious implications of life safety issues.

Note: This is an oil fired unit.

OOPS…My stupid!!:oops::oops:

I didn’t see the nose on my face…DUH;)

I am an HVAC installer also for additional income, and I had a similar issue with a oil forced air unit. The one I had was located in a basement that the furnace was on one side of the basement and the chimney was on the other side about 16’ of single wall vent piping. The ceiling heigth was only 6’8". Before I started the change out I either had to go with stainless steel double wall vent piping do to the fact that someone could reach up and touch the 400-500 degree pipe ( but the pipe was to pricey) so i went with a sideshot venting system… You may ask what this is… it’s similar to what your have in this situation here, it’s a power assisted venting system that projects thru any wall with zero clearances needed. I ran 4’ of single wall smoke pipe to my side shot and I was done. Barometric damper is still required and pitch should still slope up to exiting.

Something like this, Brian?



Great info Larry, thanks


On the Barometric Damper,
Does the location ( in that picture) of the damper , is that proper / acceptable?
I was under the impression that Barometric Dampers should be vertical
on top of the furnace not 10 feet and horizontal downstream of the unit???