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We're looking at installing a natural gas tankless water heater, but the vent option with it (that would be easiest to install through our solid poured walls) would come out about a foot away from the gas meter. The gas company's rule is that the vent can't be within 3' of the meter, so that it doesn't mess with the regulator and such. However, we've seen and heard of the option of coming out there still, but then running the vent up 3' or so with an extension to clear the meter. Is this a working solution or does the vent pipe as well have to be 3' away?

We're not looking to do the gas work ourselves, but I'm still trying to find a plumber who will or has time to. The only one who has looked at it mentioned needing the extension, but said he'd prefer to relocate the vent and told us to figure something out ourselves.

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    I'd contact the gas supplier, and see what they say. Also keep in mind, any 90° elbows likely adds 6' or so to the developed length of the vent pipe. So a 90° + 3' = 9' developed length (check the manufacturer's documentation for exact additional length requirements). – Tester101 Feb 13 '16 at 15:03
  • @Tester101 It appears to allow a span of 41' for the vent for this model. Where I'm looking at would place it at only a vent length of say 5' to the outside, so it definitely gives space to get it far enough from the meter. Based on the manual, it gives clearances and an image; in Canada the 3' is from the centerline of the meter to either side, and at least 15' up in this zone. However the US clearances aren't included for the meter situation. Everyone is closed today so that's why I'm asking here though. – TFK Feb 13 '16 at 15:18
  • I guess running vent to the other wall would work as well as an option, as I'd believe it could make it over in 41', but there isn't exactly a clear shot to that wall. – TFK Feb 13 '16 at 15:20
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I called the gas company (I wasn't able to originally when posting the question as it was Saturday) and they said that the 3' is from any side of the meter - so essentially a bubble around it. As long as the vent itself clears this, it'll be fine.

I'd also called the tankless water heater manufacturer located in the US, but they said that this could vary by gas supplier. So although my gas company allows a 3' bubble, others might be more like the Canadian code and require 3' on either side up to 15' above.

Just for reference as well, the gas company was also able to look up the BTU output of my meter from within their system to tell me how much I could load it down with.

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