We recently moved into a property with 2 water heaters installed in the basement. During the inspection, we were told that the water heaters were relatively new, but the exhausts were "odd". Yesterday, we had a strong gas smell in the basement and promptly called the gas company. The representative told us that the cause was a downward draft of the flue gas.
A plumber came by and told us that he hadn't seen such an exhaust, and at first recommended we change the entire water heater, and after a while (seeing the neighbor's setup) told us to change the exhausts.
I have attached 2 pictures of the exhaust installation.
My questions are: Based on the pictures, is this a normal setup?
There is silver HVAC foil taped around the vent. I removed it off one exhaust and experienced a draft of air coming down in the basement, near the water heater. Would it help to reseal the duct with foil tape, poking holes in it, so the exhaust can escape? This would be a temporary measure till I get some more opinions/estimates.