Power vented tank water heaters are growing in popularity. They are suitable for many homes and can save you money while supplying you with enough hot water for cooking, laundry, bathing and other important uses. But what are they and when should they be used?
What are they?
Power vented tank water heaters vent direct to the outdoors rather than using a vertical chimney to house a flue to take away fumes. The main purpose of a power vented heater is to quickly extract fumes from the house: fumes such as carbon monoxide gas pose serious health risks, especially because they cannot be seen or smelled. Carbon monoxide exposure can quickly lead to unconsciousness and death.
Power vented heaters need to be reasonably close to an external wall. Different manufacturers build heaters with varying specifications so it is important to ensure that the heater you choose can be used within your home.
Each power vented tank water heater will have a maximum permitted vent; any vent longer than the one stated in the specification may not effectively remove fumes and this will pose a health and safety risk as well impacting on efficient operation. However, some heaters allow for a very long vent; for example, models made by Bradford White Water Heaters allow for vents ranging from 45 to a maximum of 180 feet, depending on the diameter of the pipe. State Water Heaters allow up to 160 feet. Their shortest maximum vents are around 30 feet, which still allow many options for placement in the home.
How much water can you heat?
Of course, the most important feature of a power vented tank water heater is its ability to provide a home with enough heated water.
Tank gas water heaters generally range from 20 to 120 gallons, with an average of 60 gallons. A 120 gallon tank will provide adequate hot water for a large family. As a general rule, a 60 gallon tank will provide water for two or three people and a medium tank (80 gallons) is good for a family of four. For more than four people a large 120 gallon water tank is required.
When to upgrade
If your current hot water heater is on its final legs, maybe it is starting to leak due to corrosion, or it is no longer heating your water sufficiently and repairs fail to produce long-term improvements, then it could be time to start thinking about installing a new system.
A big advantage of power vented heaters over older atmospheric venting is that they can be much more energy efficient. Atmospheric vents are limited to an efficiency of around 55%, where as a modern power vented heater can be up to 95% efficient.
As far as purchase and installation outlay is concerned, the cost of a power vented heater is usually similar to that of one without a tank. However, there are some circumstances when installation becomes more expensive. If a new gas line needs to be installed this will increase the cost, as will jobs that require new flue constructions through roofs. If a water heater needs to be moved this usually causes the biggest increase in installation fee.
Many traditional heaters rely on chimney venting, but as we continue to make our homes more airtight with insulated windows and doors, chimney flues become less effective due to a reduced air flow. In these circumstances a power vented heater can really pay dividends.
Without adequate air flow a heater cannot operate to maximum efficiency and much of the price of a state-of-the-art modern heater is wasted as a result.
Another advantage of a power vented heater is that you do not need a chimney at all. If you are planning to carry out any interior remodeling or extending your home, removal of a chimney is an excellent way to free up a significant amount of space within the home. With a power vented heater installed and the chimney removed, you can seal the roof completely to make your home more insulated and this will help you to further reduce your heating bills. Some power vent tank water heaters also attain Energy Star certification through the US Department of Energy.
If your water heating needs updating call RupCoe today and one of our engineers will assess your home and advise you on the most economical water heating solutions that are available.