NFPA 54 cites a 1/4"/1 foot upward slope recommendation (12.11.7) to a chimney or vent. It doesn't seem that a slope this gradual would provide enough draft for the heater which is designed for natural draft venting.
There are water heaters with power vent kits that permit a sidewall discharge of the flue. These kits are generally provided as part of the heater.
There are kits that could be installed on an existing water heater, but it has to be properly installed and interlocked with the gas valve, etc. I would not recommend the retrofit kit.
Looking at the water heater in the picture, best to replace it with a power vent model.
Thanks Michael! You confirmed what I was thinking and settled a dispute between my wife and I .
I gotta believe there are a ton of water heaters in condo's across the country installed incorrectly. Power vent heaters are about double the cost. Best to be safe though...
Fire Protection - marital advice..we're here to help!
I have a power venter on my boiler only because when I bought my house it was a ranch with electric baseboard heaters. I've found most of the boiler mechanics have no idea on how to tune or interlock the power venter. I'm having it removed soon.
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