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The famous FVIR System  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Jun 16th, 2010 07:19 pm
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diogenes
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Hi there, In recent years I have been experiencing 'early waterheater demise' due to the famous flammable vapor ignition retardation (FVIR)systems on the new gas waterheaters. There are problems with both with the custom sensor systems and the air flow control system (which restrict the flame and cause overheating in the  combustion chamber. Can you recommend the better waterheaters currently available to address these concerns and allow DIY folks keep their waterheaters?

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 Posted: Thu Jun 17th, 2010 06:45 am
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undee70ss
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Im no expert, but Bradford White water heaters have a push button reset for their FVIR.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 17th, 2010 04:17 pm
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diogenes
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Thanks for the observation, Unfortunately it's the other half of the problem that's the killer. The FVIR systems are designed to constrict air (and flame) flow to the burner. That way if the environment has flammable vapors, ignition will be limited to the combustion chamber. Unfortunately, these flow costrictors are: 1. easily plugged by dust and lint, 2. not designed to be cleaned. Once the constrictor is clogged, the flame tends to trip the shutoff device. So resetting it will only lead to tripping it shortly thereafter. Without being able to clean the constrictor, the life of the waterheater is very limited.

I wonder which company makes the largest constrictor and hence the longest life. As I understand it, tankless heaters are not blessed with this new safety feature (at the moment.)

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 Posted: Thu Jun 17th, 2010 10:37 pm
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elenano
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I believe another advantage of the Bradford is that its intake screen is not on the very bottom of the heater like the whole Smith family's has been, so it doesn't clog as easily with dust.

But beyond that, you're just stuck. Thank the federal government for screwing you while trying to protect you.:X

Randy Schuyler

Last edited on Fri Jun 18th, 2010 05:33 am by elenano

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 Posted: Thu Jun 17th, 2010 11:56 pm
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diogenes
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Humm! Interesting. It would seem that a screen on the side would help, particularly if it were accessible for using a vacuum cleaner to clear it out. One other item: this one shouldn't be pinned on the Feds. As I understand it,the manufacturers decided to build this way without State or Federal legislation forcing it.

My point here is that the current 'worst condition' for gas tank waterheaters isn't corrosion but the new FVIR system reliability. Folks just don't seem to realize it yet.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 18th, 2010 05:32 am
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elenano
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The FVIR stuff is a big problem, for sure. But I do think this was a federal mandate, circa 2002. The makers would never have gone out of their way to create a more complicated, more expensive, more annoying system. They're very dollar-oriented.

American Water Heater Co. did create the prototype FVIR device, though. Now it's a Smith subsidiary.

Randy Schuyler

Last edited on Fri Jun 18th, 2010 05:33 am by elenano

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 Posted: Fri Jun 18th, 2010 06:08 am
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eleent
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Hello:  Heater manufacturers worked with the Consumer Products Safety Commission to develop FVIR.  My take on it is they were forced to change and they could participate or just be told what to do.  They wisely chose to participate.  "Those vegetables will be in your stomach before you leave the table.  Are you going to eat them by yourself, or will I be helping you?" :P

Commenting on the Bradford White design, it has a large air inlet, so had proven much less likely to clog with dust than smaller inlets.

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Mon Jun 21st, 2010 02:49 pm
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diogenes
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Following up on the Bradford White comment. How do they meet the 'flame retardation' issue, that is, how does Bradford White stop the 'mini-exlposion' in the combustion chamber from igniting the mythical vapor in the surrounding environment. Any pictures of their system that you know of?

Thank, D

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 Posted: Tue Jun 22nd, 2010 05:56 am
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elenano
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Frankly, I don't know. I think this is a question that is best asked of Bradford White!

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Tue Jun 22nd, 2010 05:31 pm
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diogenes
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So I called Bradford White. Their air constriction system is called the ScreenLok Flame Arrestor. They described it as a perforated steel plate about 1 inch above the bottom cover of the water heater. Also the thermal trip has an external reset. It looks like the access doors can be removed to give plenty of access to this screen. Compressed air or other method of clearing the pores in the screen should be possible. Also the screen is the full diameter of the waterheater rather than about 6 inch diameter with the cordite plugs used by other manufacturers. Seems like Bradford White is the best bet to avoid FVIR problems.
Yours, D

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 Posted: Tue Jun 22nd, 2010 10:55 pm
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Ej
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Actually the new A.O. Smith/whirlpool is the same. No special components to fail. Although unitrol gave them problems with their thermostat, they have seem to have corrected this.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 23rd, 2010 02:05 pm
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diogenes
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Humm. So are you saying that A.O. Smith has abandoned the old 6 inch Cordite plug in favor of a full size perforated steel plate? This is news. I will try to check this out.

D

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 Posted: Sun Jul 25th, 2010 07:53 am
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sky_tech
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I thought I would squeeze in a related question.

Why are some of the 75 gallon units listed as NOT having FVIR?  The spec sheet for the AO Smith FCG-75 and FCG-100 models has a footnote saying "Not equipped with C3 Technology" (their name for FVIR).  I understood that the larger heaters were granted a longer time for adoption, but that date was years ago.

http://www.hotwater.com/lit/spec/res_gas/AOSRG45400.pdf

What's the scoop?


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 Posted: Sun Jul 25th, 2010 08:10 am
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sky_tech
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I think I found the answer myself. It appears that the requirement and timeline for adoption was based on BTU not gallons. It seems that the extended timeline was for units between 50,000 and 75,000.  It is interesting to note that the 75 gallon units in question all have BTU ratings of 75,100 BTU. Thus it appears that the manufacturers avoided the requirement by making sure their burners were rated just a tad over 75,000 BTU.

So, if you get a unit with 75,001+ BTU rating, you avoid the complexity of the FVIR system (and its protection).

****************************************

To quote from another web posting,
"As of July 2003, all water heaters 50,000 BTUs and under, excluding power vented models, are required to be flammable vapor ignition resistant.

As of July 2007, all water heaters 75,000 BTUs and under are required to be flammable vapor ignition resistant."

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 Posted: Mon Jul 26th, 2010 05:38 am
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eleent
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Hello:  The other benefit of going just over 75,000 BTUs is you are out of the Energy Factor (EF) realm.  Energy Factor is an obsolete and tedious way of measuring water heater performance that only sort of gives you a way to compare heaters.  The test unfairly benefits some heaters by completely missing how hot water is actually used.  Run the same tests at three labs and you can get three different results.  I don't know and have not even heard of anybody in the industry who likes EF.  Fortunately, it looks like one efficiency metric will get figured out soon that covers all heaters and fairly.  Once that happens, you'll see a lot fewer 75,001 BTU heaters :cool:

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Thu Jul 29th, 2010 09:34 am
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Geno_3245
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diogenes asked if there were any pictures of Bradford White ScreenLok® Flame Arrestor

http://411plumb.com/bradford-white-defender-water-heater-review
has a picture and review of the BWC Defender FVIR (Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant) System ... I suspect this is ScreenLok®

The BWC service manual for 'Flammable vapor ignition resistant water heaters' has images of everything except FVIR
http://www.bradfordwhite.com/images/shared/pdfs/manuals/44943-D.pdf

pg 36 of service manual says:
Clean ScreenLok® Flame Arrestor using stiff brush, compressed air and/or shop vacuum to remove any scale or other debris accumulation. Using a soft brush, clear jacket openings of any dirt, dust, restrictions or other obstructions.
(But no FVIR image)

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 Posted: Tue Jul 19th, 2011 10:47 pm
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Joe Linux
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FVIR is an oxymoron as natural gas is a flammable vapor, and one of the big problems consumers have with these miserabe HWH's is that they cannot lite the pilot light and keep it lit over time.

Geno_3245 wrote: 
Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant) System

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 Posted: Wed Jul 20th, 2011 05:01 pm
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eleent
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Hello:  I think the word is resistant. These heaters do resist igniting gasoline vapors pretty well.  They simply keep flame in the combustion chamber and don't let it escape to burn that careless/unfortunate person who dropped a glass bottle of gasoline by the heater, or chose to clean car parts in the garage with gas.  It's a federally mandated problem we all get to live with :P

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Wed Jul 20th, 2011 05:30 pm
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Joe Linux
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Are there any videos that convincingly show that these alleged systems actually work?  If not Mythbusters need to get on the case.  Federal Mandates such as this are enough to turn a sane individual Republicon.
eleent wrote: Hello:  I think the word is resistant. These heaters do resist igniting gasoline vapors pretty well.  They simply keep flame in the combustion chamber and don't let it escape to burn that careless/unfortunate person who dropped a glass bottle of gasoline by the heater, or chose to clean car parts in the garage with gas.  It's a federally mandated problem we all get to live with :P

Yours,  Larry

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