New Hot Water Tank Rules

With the new energy efficiency rules for hot water heaters that took effect in April of this year, the tanks are becoming larger to allow for the additional insulation. I have a client who has run into an issue when having their hot water tank replaced recently. The new tanks are significantly taller than the older versions, which is creating an issue when installing them. The water and gas connections can be moved in order to make them fit, but the issue arises with the vent line. In my client’s case, the tank is so much taller that the vent line has a slight negative slope as the existing opening in the chimney is lower than the top of the tank.

While the client, and their certified plumber, have determined that they need to make a new entrance in the chimney higher up and reconnect the piping and seal up the old opening, the common DIYer may not realize that the negative slope is an issue. I can see this being a potential issue that could lead to deaths if people install their own heaters without knowing the consequences of doing it incorrectly.

Has anyone else encountered this issue yet? If so how did you approach it with the client?

A wrong installation, as you point out, can be lethal. It is a safety hazard.

What is the question?

The solution is to NOT be cheap and upgrade to a power vent system!

Another option is a smaller tank. If they had a 40 gallon in the past they could go with a 30 gallon tank.
This is what some condo/apartments will need to do. Not only are the new tanks taller they are wider.