Climate Works Blog

Direct Vent Water Heaters

Water heaters are no simple device anymore. You can have electric water heaters or gas water heaters. You can have water heaters that have tanks, and those that do not have tanks. You can have water heaters that are direct vent and power vent. So many choices, but regarding the last two, what does it mean to have a direct vent water heater?

What Does The Vent Do?

On any gas water heater, there is going to be a need to vent the gas out. If there is no vent, the gas will build up and very bad things will happen. This is why the gas vent is so important. Gas vents come in three different styles. There is the direct vent, conventional vent and the power vent.

Power Vent

The power vent in the hot water heater does not use any sort of chimney. Instead it uses a fan, powered by electricity, to move items like gas outside where it is safe. There are a number of reasons why you would choose to have a power vent hot water heater. The most common is that you had an electric hot water heater and you do not have easy access to any sort of chimney. You may also use this if you have a dedicated electric receptacle within six feet of the hot water heater.

Conventional Vent

This is the most common type of vent used on hot water heaters. It is required on most standard ones. It can be a type-B, double-wall vent, or it can be a regular brick chimney. The conventional vent can be shared with a furnace vent. The vent works by taking in air from inside the home and expelling it outside afterwards.

Direct Vent

With a direct vent, no chimney is required but there is a vent on the outside wall that will bring air for combustion in the hot water heater, inside. There are some vents that require the hot water heater to be close to the outside wall, while other vents allow for the hot water heater to be located a farther distance away.

Using a direct vent is advisable if you are replacing an electric hot water heater and do not have a chimney. It is also excellent when you do not have an electric source located close to where the hot water heater is. With this type of hot water heater vent, you have hot water even when the power goes out. That is not the case with the power vent, which requires the use of electricity to power the fan.

Many people choose to get a direct vent because it allows for the use of the hot water heater when the power is out. That being said, the power vent will push the exhaust from the hot water heater farther away from the house. If there is a window, especially to a bedroom, directly above where the vent is located, having the gas pushed away from the house may be a good idea.

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