When the water heater gets buried behind a wall.
How can the water heater be removed? What to do!?
Four years ago the kitchen was remodeled and a new water heater and furnace were put into the original closet in this house. This installation created many problems.
Apparently the order of installation went like this -
Step 1. The 22" diameter water heater was installed. It got dinged and dented in many places. It barely fit into the space front to back, so it was likely larger than the older unit that was there previously.
Step 2. A new furnace was installed. Notice the bottom of the furnace was 2" wider than the base of the previous unit. But the opening beside the furnace and the edge of the cabinet was only 17".
Step 3. Installing the plumbing, the AC line and the gas lines to the HVAC unit.
So now, how can the water heater be removed if needed? Reverse those steps by first removing the AC and gas lines - removing the entire HVAC unit - and then removing the water heater.
Not only that, but the new water heater does not allow access around the lower side to be able to shut off the water main! In fact, it sat right beside the water main. Can you see it? A cropped photo of the valve is below.
Explain how it is possible to shut off the water? Apparently in the last four years there has not been a need.
Even if someone could climb over the water heater and shimmy down into the cavity beside and reach the water main valve, it is touching the edge of the heater and it would be very difficult to shut it off! But climbing over would be virtually impossible as the plumbing tubing is there, as well as the furnace vent.
This is poor, poor planning and remodeling indeed.
My client, the potential buyer of this house, would be inheriting a mess.
My recommendation: nobody noticed this before during the planning and execution? The contractor thought this was a good idea? How is it that the home inspector can walk in and glance at the opening and immediately understand the ramifications of such an appliance installation? It took some quick measurements to prove how unfortunate and unthinking the installation was. Do you think a buyer without a home inspection would have noticed this? Do you think that buyer would have learned quickly had the water main needed to be shut off? Learning about things after one buys the house is not the best time. The best time to become informed about the home one is purchasing is beforehand, with a thorough and competent home inspection.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560