Square Connector for Water Heater Vent?

Just curious if anyone has seen a connector like this on a water heater vent. Can’t think of any reason for it or what it’s supposed to do. Kinda of a moot point anyway because the last pic of just the top of the heater says bye-bye to the heater anyway.

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Possibly an automatic damper. If so, would be a safety hazard. Was it inclosed on all 4 sides?

Yes. I wiggled it a little to see if I could hear something like a damper but didn’t hear anything.

Now I’m wondering if all that corrosion around the top of the heater, which is mainly around the vent although there’s corrosion around the pipes too, has something to do with that box.

Was it actually running? was there a proper backdraft at the hood?

The water heater was running. I didn’t test to see how it was drafting however the vent pipe was hot past the “box” so the exhaust is going outside. The heater was from 1997 so it’s time to go. It’s in a $1M condo in Tahoe, with CO monitors BTW, so the agent didn’t think too bad if it needs a new water heater, not a deal breaker. It’s up to the plumber now.

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I guess the bottom line is so no one from this forum has seen or can clearly identify this thing? It was a first for me but I’ve only been doing this for a little over a decade. :grin:

James I’ve never seen one before either. I’m curious what it’s used for.