Power Vented or Gravity Vented Water Heater: Which Do I Need?

Water heaters are essential in any household, but there are so many different types available that it may be difficult to decide which unit is best for your new home. Do you need a tank or tankless water unit? And what size should it be? Gas-fired or electric? These are all questions to discuss with an installation technician, but one question many people don’t know to ask is whether they need a gravity vented or power vented water heater.

The gravity-vented water heater is the most common category of gas-fired water heaters. These involve the installation of a conventional gas-fired storage tank water heater and some piping to connect the unit to an exhaust pipe or chimney. This is so that the combustion gases formed as a by-product of heat production have someplace to go, instead of posing a fire hazard or the threat of contamination.

Power vents are somewhat less common and may be more expensive to install initially, but offer their advantages. They won’t need to be hooked up to a vent pipe or chimney, so for some home designs and placement choices, this is ideal or necessary. Instead they vent combustion gases through a vent installed directly on the wall near the heater. An existing vent pipe sometimes restricts the capacity of the water heater that can be installed, but when you choose power vents, the vent can be sized so that it is large enough to accommodate any sized water heater.

As a warning, however, a power vent water heater can ONLY be used with the separate ventilation system. If it is installed incorrectly, or if your installer attempts to hook it up to the chimney or an existing vent pipe, it could result in dangerous consequences for your home, including the potential for a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Always rely on specialists anytime you are dealing with combustion gases.

It’s difficult to say which type of water heater you need, as a trained expert is the best person to decide what’s right for your home.

Call Advantage Airtech to learn more about gravity vented units or installing power vents in Whitby.