Tankless water heater not to blame for bad pipe venting.

I’ve been heading downstairs in the morning after E leaves for work to take care of our cat, Voices, who is in kitty prison for marking around the house. I’d noticed a bit of an exhaust smell a few times, and logged it in the wtf area of my brain under Tankless Water Heater (of course, Carbon Monoxide is odorless). Yesterday morning was particularly bad, and we ran the dishwasher in the evening and had to open the basement windows so the whole-house-fan could dissipate the gasses (none of our CO sensors beeped, but whatever).  After clearing the water filtration drop-valve (the only diy warranty maintenance on the tankless system), I googled for venting and found the solution. A plumber on you-tube shows exactly how bad installations lead to exhaust blowing back into the house; and how to fix it with Aluminum tape- assuming that everything else is done right. Ours is not done right, but AL tape triage (after cutting a bit more of the drywall ceiling away to reach around the tubing) is the fix it gets for now.


This galvanized tube needed Aluminum heat tape. It should be stainless steel tube with sealed fittings, and the top run should slope downward by a degree or so to the outside to keep condensation from running back into the vent tubing and possibly ruining the tankless system. It is at a straight 90 degree bend snugged up against the floor above, and there was some condensation damage to the tubing.


The system had huge gaps where the pipes sleeved into one another (which is beyond stupid construction work from the original installation), and water staining and pinholes from condensation rolling back into the house. I could feel (and smell) the exhaust blowing down into the room when running hot water. It must always have had some exhaust blowing back in, and the whole house fan probably backdrafts the system. Maybe when the heater fan turns off and the system is cycling, then the whole house fan pulls all the latent gasses into the house. something like that anyway.


In June I replaced the big brass fitting on the R- it is the water pressure gauge, and had begun to drip, then spray a fine mist. This gauge should be placed after the piping for outside water, but no, we regulate the pressure for the yard. So that needs resolved. Turns out we also filter the water for the yard as well, which is the blue unit. It had no filter in it, so I picked one up and installed it. This unit is supposed to be placed in line with the tankless water heater as a pre-filter just for the heater.


Still not right plumbing wise, but at least not trying to kill us any more.


Wichita angel now in Utah


Quadruplet Wichita angel now in Utah


8am Xmas morning, 10 inches of new snow outside.


Xander makes an Xmas morning toast from the head of the table.


Holiday winter setting.


These little ladies were just heads and wings with pipe cleaner arms, and then an Xmas miracle gave them bodies again and a sled!


Lucky isn’t feeling as lucky as usual.


Lucky begins to eat his way out of the drift.


The Walter Horn.


Shawn is going haut-couture this season.


The silvered weir-fairy called down the snow.


The welcoming committee on the front porch.


Santa brings smiles all ’round.


Broad Canyon Fire. Acrylic. 24″x48″


some sense of the perspective; near = fire/sunlit crazy smoke you are about to pass under, far is miles and miles of smoke heading to distant mountains.

Redo of the last post with an image 5x denser; the sun is now red and the vaseline view is clarified.

This is ten days of painting, but who’s counting…


Wisteria needs a pergola, so off I go…


Wisteria is going into its 4th year, and had climbed to the top of the screen last year. 


A string links the Wisteria to the pergola- it’s already half way up there.


Some day the Wisteria will make a nice privacy screen.


A few days earlier (Sat) I put in this new screen for the fish pond.


Raccoon sushi bar is officially closed.


Team Goldfish.


Kaye’s Dragonflies among the pond iris.


Iris patch in full bloom.


Yellow goes horizontal. 


Inside yellow v Outside yellow.


Boulder Colorado variety.


These smell like honey.


Boulder Colorado Burgundy


That color is impossible.



Meyer’s Ohio Farm variety (Allison’s patch) 



I worked the rose bed this spring, and it made a huge bump in blooms.



The coal fireplace in our house has never been used. It is too small for a gas insert, so I blocked it off with insulation in the chimney and a foam panel across the face that was festooned with greeting cards. We had these old-world English tiles in a box, which gave me a Hobbit-approved idea.


The tiles are mounted on hardy-backer board, and grouted. The panel adheres to the fireplace with velcro stripping. While I was at it I build a large foam insulation box that inserts over the drop ladder up in the attic. Now we’re tight as a button.


Solution to a fireplace that has never been a fireplace.


Trumpet vine triage. 80mph winds with wet snow compromised our hummingbird haven, snapping the old tree top and bottom that the vines have grown around. I added cables and brace-post (post is anchored in the ground with rebar and screwed to the old tree with angle iron). I have a plan to replace this triage with a better solution…


The red cables went in first, then the wooden brace. Then the cables were released and the vines were cinched back tight with the old tree, then I re-fit the cables to hold the vines in place. 

A little mechanical bird told me that my platform will go dark as a new platform replaces it. All the information contained on each page is still viable, but I had to rebuild the website onto the new platform. The new platform is pretty keen, set to work across devices from phones to ipads to laptops. All day Wednesday was spent rebuilding the site, and the past two days have been dedicated to editing and refining. I went back into Pythagoras, Salt In Suspension, Bonneville Reliquary Bend, Bronze Pour, and edited down the About page (still needs more work), and lots of other tweaks. It is the kind of thing that eats up whole days. Take a look over at It should all look pretty familiar, but much better if you are using your phone.


Had to go way into the guts of the computer to find this MFA image of the bees wax Intron Figures again- but worth it!