water heater venting through the case?

"Water heater case was rusted through near the drain, and there was rust around the pipes and other case openings. I suspect it was venting in the space between the tank and the case, and combustion byproducts were leaking into the room. Recommend water heater be replaced as soon as possible by a competent, certified, and insured plumber.

Byproducts of natural gas combustion include carbon monoxide, a poisonous, colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that can be lethal. The condition of this water heater indicates that these gases are not being expelled properly, and need attention now."

It looks to me like the flue inside the heater is blocked somehow. I couldn’t see anything inside the chamber, but it looks to me like the exhaust is travelling in the insulation space between the tank and the case.

Agree/disagree? Opinions on write-up?

Wow. Pictures from the future. 2035? Does that mean it is a new installation now? :wink:

Sounds good to me, you could add “this tank likely went bad many years ago” so they don’t try to squeeze another few years out of it in order to get some new drapes or granite tops. What is the age of that pile?

Excellent point - 1996

I know, I know - Charley already got me on another picture I posted from that day. What chaps my hide is that I set the date on my camera before I walked out the door!](,)](,)](*,)

Backdrafting from other appliances (dryer) can also contribute, or be the cause, to damage similar to your photos.

A backdrafting dryer would put heat, moisture, lint, and in the case of gas dryers, exhaust back into the room. A water heater would draw them in as it is firing for combustion air and through the draft diverter. Am I understanding how it would happen?

That’s not the case here, however, as the only other appliance in the room is a direct vent furnace. The electric dryer is on the floor above and vents to the attic (a whole different issue).


Clothes dryers require make-up air. Dryers operating in utility areas with gas appliances (water heaters) that lack sufficient make-up air can create a back-drafting problem.

I post some photos I have when I get back.

I get it. I was confused by the “backdrafting dryer”. I understand how a dryer could cause the other appliances to backdraft.

Thanks for the replies.