Direct Energy Enbridge Says I Need a New Liner for my water tank?

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I always get asked if the chimney liner needs to be replaced when the furnace is changed to a high-efficiency. Direct Energy tells their rental water heater customers that since the liner was intended to service a furnace and water heater, once the furnace is changed to high-efficiency, and does not vent through the chimney liner anymore, the liner is too big and must be replaced with a smaller one.

This is simply NOT TRUE. In fact it is a LIE!!

I will address this question from a safety perspective and a code requirement perspective.

Safety – This slightly oversized liner is perfectly safe. As a matter of fact, every summer, when your furnace had not been operating, have you ever experienced a problem? Surely not! Your liner is clearly venting your water heater very safely and nicely.

Code – The vent sizing charts in the gas code only specify the maximum capacity of a liner. There is no minimum capacity. The code does recommend using the smallest possible liner as a best practice. However, if an existing liner that is 6″ diameter or less has a furnace or heating boiler removed from it, the liner can be used exclusively for the water heater once the technician verifies that the water heater is venting properly. The TSSA, which is the governing body of fuel safety in Ontario, put out a specific advisory approving the reusing of an existing liner under these conditions. Please see the advisory below. Don’t let Direct Energy con you into buying a new liner. You are wasting your money.

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