Water Heater Venting Fixes

Updated: Nov. 28, 2019

Use a reducer to solve a water heater vent size problem

Water Heater Venting FixesFamily Handyman
Fit a gas water heater vent to a larger existing vent by using a reducer. Avoid changing out the entire gas vent.

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Connect a small gas vent to a larger one

New gas vent system

Install a reducer if you have to increase your vent size by 1-in.

Close-up of vent pipe reducer

A ‘reducer’ increases your vent diameter by 1-in.

If you find that your new gas water heater has a smaller vent than your existing gas vent, don’t assume that you have to completely replace the venting system. If you can’t find a unit that has the same size vent opening as your current water heater (or you just want a smaller unit), buy one with a vent opening that’s just 1 in. smaller, then use a “reducer” to connect to the vent as shown. Use clamps or sheet metal screws and aluminum tape to connect the reducer. Install it on the horizontal part of the vent, at least 12 in. away from the elbow. Reducers are available at home centers for about $5.

Be sure to check building codes (this project requires a permit) and manufacturer’s specifications for any additional venting requirements.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Drill bit set
  • Drill/driver - cordless

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Aluminum tape
  • Reducer fitting
  • Sheet metal screws