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Old 12-30-2007, 11:12 AM   #1
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Question Soot from water heater exhaust

My water heater exhaust has started pumping out a load of soot. It is all on the outside skin up to the blue band.
Before I take it in to be serviced, can anyone tell me what is causing it?

1. Has the thermocouple have anything to do with it?
2. I would guess it has something to do with air mixture....burning too rich. Is there a way to adjust?

3. I am assuming that it is not a dangerous situation, but correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 12-30-2007, 11:33 AM   #2
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Cobweb in intake tube?

Check out this suggestion from Jack Canavera. I watched him take it apart -- small fingers and small combination/open ended wrenches will help. The soot up the sides was severe until the spider web was removed.
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Old 12-30-2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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It's not a good situation. Here's my sage advice (worth about as much as a wooden nickel):

1. It's not the thermocouple. Thermocouples are safety devices that shut down the gas (propane, in your case) when they're cold. If the thermocouple is bad, then the pilot will light while you've got the button depressed, but it won't continue as flame after the button is released. (We just replaced two of them, one for a wall heater in the cabin, and the other for the water heater for the bathhouse.)

2. It probably is air mixture. You should first check for some kind of blockage. (A dead moth can really muck up the works!) If there's no blockage, then there is usually some kind of small plate near the propane entry line that allows you to adjust the amount of air coming in. Adjust to a nice, blue flame that doesn't hiss too much.


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Old 12-30-2007, 12:45 PM   #4
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Likely a spider web in the mixture tube.
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Old 12-30-2007, 12:57 PM   #5
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Given your location I would add mud daubbers to the list of culprits. The last time mine produced soot, a good blast of compressed air cleaned the debris.

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Old 01-02-2008, 05:12 PM   #6
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Many thanks for the input. I cleaned out the tube, did not actaully find any obstruction, but also moved the air throat and the soot problem has gone away.
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