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Old 10-23-2011, 08:10 PM   #1
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Unhappy Soot on Side

We camped at McKinney State Park near Austin, Texas last week and had a wonderful time. It is a wonderful park with good spaces. When we returned to our home base and parked I noticed soot above the hot water door. I'm wonder what caused this to happen. The door to the hot water heater has always had some residue on it, but I've never noticed any residue above the door. This occasion there was residue above the door. What could have caused this. Am I running the hot water heater to long? Advice?
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:22 PM   #2
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Whenever I have seen this, it is the result of a rich mixture. Check the gas oriface and tube for spider webs,etc.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:33 PM   #3
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As Rich pointed out, it's a rich mixture, cause unknown. Do check for obstructions to air flow first. If not that, then it may need adjusting. (If you're handy, you can do all of this yourself.)

I see this relatively often when folks come from low elevation to the mountains, where there is simply not a whole lot of air available.


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Old 10-23-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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Additionally, light the water heater, open up the access door and examine the flame. It should be a pretty "hard" blue flame. If you have an issue with airflow through the gas tube, the flame will be "lazy" and primarily yellow. You'll probably see black smoke exiting the top tank tube, as well.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for your answers. I'll be checking out all those possibilities.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:43 PM   #6
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JB,

You can adjust the burn mixture by moving the silver/rusty collar on the gas supply tube. You want more air. Start by matching the openings in the pic, a nice blue flame with a little roar sound is ok.

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:49 PM   #7
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soot on side

I had the same problem this week. When I got home I checked the flame It was yellow - which indicates that the gas is not burning efficiently. I cleaned out the tube and started the heater again - but I still saw the yellow flame. With the flame on I used a hair dryer and blew the air over the yellow flame and "puff" it had a nice blue flame -end of soot. I started the heater several times and works like it did before. wolf146
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:23 PM   #8
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Had this same problem with our SOB trailer, which I park in my upper meadow. I'm a lamp guy, so I always have one of those little "cook's blowtorches" with me. Directed the flame into the air intake area so the torch's flame was blowing the same way the gas would flow. Three second burst, no more. No more spider web; no more problem. Water heater works just like old. You can also use your butane-powered "forever match" in the same manner.

Hope that helps for the next time.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:14 PM   #9
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Another source for obstructions

Since you live in my part of Texas I would cast a vote for mud dabbers as possible builders of you obstructions. They can put up a real block in the flue.

Jim
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