Vent Cracking/Separation on Water Heaters : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Fuel Safety

Fuel Safety Bulletin 2000-05

Issued: December 6, 2000

Subject: Vent Cracking/Separation on 1992-1996 Rheem Propane-fuelled Power Vented Water Heaters

We have recently been made aware of a severe problem involving the vent systems on 1992-1996 Rheem PV40 and PV50 power vented water heaters. Information obtained from the manufacturer, and from other jurisdictions, would indicate that approximately 90% of the affected water heaters have cracked vents and approximately 20% have flue gases escaping from the cracks. These cracks are located at the connection of the ABS vent pipe to the power venter outlet.

The water heaters involved were manufactured by Rheem between January 1992 through December, 1996. Models affected include the screen enclosure type PV40 and PV50 models with serial numbers 0192J86099 through 1296J26914 and 0192K89566 through 1093K65614 inclusive (production between Jan.1, 1992 and Jan. 31, 1996). Production outside these dates is unaffected.

A retrofit kit to replace the power vent to ABS vent system connection is available from Rheem, and has been certified by CSA International.

Vent separations may result in combustion products, including carbon monoxide(CO), entering a home. Due to the nature of their operation, water heaters present a limited risk of releasing dangerous levels of Co, however, any release of this gas into a living space is a potential hazard. In view of this hazard, we are ordering that all installers/contractors check the affected water heaters, which they have installed in their area, for vent cracking. If a cracked vent is found on a unit, the retrofit kit shall be installed before the water heater is allowed to continue operating.

Further information in the form of a mailable doccument detailing an inspection procedure is attached.

Should there be any questions regarding this issue please contact me at our Halifax office. Our phone number here is 424-5721 or 1-800-559-3473. Our Fax number is 902-424-3239.


Dale C. Stewart
Chief Inspector - Fuel Safety

Additional information: see Fuel Safety Bulletin 2000-05a