Water Heater vent through side of house

Is it permitted that a natural draft gas water heater exhaust vent through the side of a house? What would you recommend in your report if you saw this?

Does it have an induced draft in the flue?

Thanks for the reply. No -it is just natural drafting.

Do you have a photo?

No I don’t. In hindsight, I should have taken one.

If the water heater has a draft hood, a “natural draft” type water heater, not induced draft or a power vent, it is required to be connected to the chimney, which could be a b-vent.

Did the exhaust look similar to this?

Chris - thanks for the advice and your fast reply.

There is no draft fan and the vent goes through the block wall near the top below the sill plate.

From Hart & Cooley Installation Instructions:

Hart & Cooley Type B gas vent pipe and fittings are
Underwriters Laboratories-tested and listed to
Standard 441 for use with listed gas-fired appliances
that have been certified for use with Type B gas vent.
B-Vent is intended for neutral or negative draft
applications. It is designed for vertical installations
(including laterals) but may be used for horizontal
applications with a draft-inducing fan located such
that all indoor portions of the vent are under negative



If you have the water heater make and model, check the installation guide.

I am disappointed that the Nachi plumbing course water heater section doesn’t address this (that I could find). Is this something a home inspector should know or is it considered a specialty?

It’s something every home inspector should know.

Have you taken this one yet?

Unfortunately the Nachi TV course doesn’t address this either. I wasn’t able to find anything relevant on the Nachi.org web site and am also disappointed in that. Larry identified a good resource.

Gentlemen - thank you for all your info and help.

Yes… even educators fall into this scenario from time to time…

“You don’t know, what you don’t know, until you know it”. :wink:

There are three types of venting and only a power vent is allowed to terminate at a sidewall.

Natural Draft: The venting of combustion products through a
venting system (vent piping) and chimney by natural means.
Induced Draft: A power operated fan, blower or other mechanical
device installed in the chimney connector (vent
piping) between the appliance and chimney to increase
natural draft (rarely used since the advent of high speed
flame retention burners).
Power / Sidewall Venting: A combination of a mechanical fan
(power venter), air pressure switch, post-purge control (timed
or temperature), barometric damper and flue connectors designed
to exhaust combustion gases through the side wall of
a structure to the outside atmosphere in lieu of a chimney.

What did you find wrong with the vent in that picture?

Maybe, sometimes, it depends…

Water heaters and vents come in multiple forms, including induced draft, direct venting and conventional draft. Without knowing the water heater type, vent type, location and type of termination, no one can give you a more definitive response.

Photos go a long way.

This one vents out the side wall and it is perfectly fine

And we won’t get into “what is on the outside of the house” … Windows, doors decks etc…

How about this one? Bradford White M-I-5036FBN. Conventional draft hood.