Will Your New Furnace Orphan Your Hot Water Heater?

Make sure you compare apples to apples with your furnace replacement quotes.

Pay particular attention to what the contractor plans to do to vent your water heater after the new furnace is installed. Ask questions if they did not mention how your water heater will be vented.

Many times furnace companies will not even address your hot water heater when they quote you on the furnace replacement and this can cause serious problems down the road. So be informed and ask the furnace company how they plan to vent your water heater.

This is a common problem that certified chimney sweeps have figured out years ago, but in more recent times, professionals in the HVAC field have discovered the problem; they coined the term, orphaned water heater, for it and in many cases still refer clients to a chimney sweep to fix the problem.

What is an orphaned water heater?

An orphaned water heater is when the furnace is replaced with a sealed combustion model leaving the water heater alone with a too big flue for the small amount of output it releases alone. The problem lays in the lack of draft when the furnace isn’t running or in summer months and the negative pressure in the house doesn’t allow the emissions to vent out properly. The draft being reduced will result in water vapor and ruin your flue and chimney.


Options to prevent an orphaned water heater.

1. Install a Direct Vent

Not usually a good option because of cost.

2. Install a Power Vent

Not really an option unless your current water heater is condensing and/or sealed combustion.

3. Replace the water heater

If your old one is on the fritz, consider replacing it with a new water heater, preferably an electric model water heater or a gas water heater with a power vent or a gas water heater with a direct vent.

If your current water heater is fine, this isn’t a viable option.


4. Reline the Chimney

The best option and it is often cheaper than installing a new vent system and definitely less than a new water heater.

If you are looking for help in the Chicagoland area to get your Chimney relined, we can help! Valley Chimney does this replacement about 100 times a year. We can also explain your options for you too. Give us a call!


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“I highly recommend Valley Chimney! They were fast, clean, dependable, professional, thorough, polite & very informative! Completely impressed! And their customer service is great!”

‐ Sherri B.

Ottawa, IL

8940 D Route 34
Yorkville, IL 60560

(630) 553-5995


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