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Blog Title: What is a direct vent water heater

Main Que: So what is a direct vent water heater?

  • Category: Q And A On Electric Hot Water Heater
  • Query By: MATTIE REEVES (El Paso, TX)
  • Date: 03/23/2013

Answer: "Purchasing a water heater is an overwhelming process, specially due to the different terms that are used to describe them. There are so many different variations of water heaters available that home owners tend to get confused regarding what is the best possible unit for their use. There are various things one need to consider in case of hot water heaters, but one of the most important thing to look out for is the venting style. There are two most common type of venting situation for a hot water heater, direct vent water heater and powered vent water heater. A vent is high crucial for water heaters as it provides and escape for the combustion gases that are produced in the water heating procedure. The different between the direct vent hot water heaters and powered vent hot water heaters is that in a direct vent water heater vents these combustion gases to the atmosphere, while a power vent water heater removes them with the aid of a powered venting fan. Diret vent is a very simpy technique due to the fact that heater air is lighter than the cold air. As the air gets heated, it rises naturally due to the differen between the buoyancy between hot and cold air.This is a pretty nice and simple trick that works very well when the exhuase gas can be vented out vertically. No extra power is used and hence as a result, the overall hot water heating cost is reduced. Now there are scenarious where one cannot install a water heater with an available direct vertical vent. In this case, a power vent water heater is used. The power vent uses a blower or a fan to assist in the removal of exhuase gases from the hot water heater. The exhaust gases can be pushed through a horizontal exhause vent pipe. One of the main benefits of having a power vent is the fact that you do not have to install your hot water heater near a chimney. This provides freedom to pick you choice of location, rather then being hold down by a venting chimney. If the water heater is installed in a location that doesn’t have access to a vertical vent or chimney, a power vent water heater may be your only choice. With the use of a fan or blower, exhaust gases can be pushed through horizontal exhaust vent pipes. Some of the drawbacks of a power vent water heater versus a direct vent are that the power vent heater will cost more initially due to the extra equipment (fan/blower) needed. Not only that, but you’ll also need to run a power line to the fan. This too will add to the cost. Another drawback is that the blower portion of the water heater will need electricity to operate. This will increase your hot water heating costs throughout it’s lifetime. And finally, some people often complain about the sound of the fan running when the hot water heater is operating. While it’s probably only a minor concern, it’s something that should be seriously considered. Proper installation can help to eliminate, or at the very least minimize most of this. So as you can see, there are a fair amount of differences between these two types of water heaters. Which one is right for you depends mostly upon your situation with respect to access to a vertical vent (vent stack) path or chimney. "

  • Replied By: GARY LEWIS (El Monte, CA)
  • Replied Date: 04/13/2013