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Old 07-07-2014, 03:26 PM   #1
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Recommend me a water heater


I want to replace my current gas storage water heater before it conks out, which seems like it may happen soon. It would be nice if I could replace its roof vent with a wall vent so that I can get rid of another roof penetration. I would appreciate it if some of the experts here could recommend me a few models. Here is my list of wants:

- Natural gas; ideally high-efficiency condensing
- 40,000 BTUs or less (so I can use my current gas pipe)
- 40 gallons or less; ideally 30 (lower standby loss)
- Sealed combustion
- Can vent through the wall; ideally through a concentric pipe
- Thick tank insulation (R-12 or more; lower standby loss)
- Electronic ignition; no standing pilot light
- No onboard computer or digital control board
- As durable and long-lasting as possible

Also, does a gas water heater need to be power vented to permit the vent to go through the wall? Or can an atmospheric unit also go through the wall? I suspect not, but want to make sure.

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Old 07-07-2014, 08:28 PM   #2
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Recommend me a water heater


"Also, does a gas water heater need to be power vented to permit the vent to go through the wall? Or can an atmospheric unit also go through the wall? I suspect not, but want to make sure."

You need a power vent unit if you want to go through a side wall. It also must be away from windows above it.

http://www.bradfordwhite.com/products/power-vent-2

You can also use a direct vent if near an outside wall with no windows above it.

http://www.bradfordwhite.com/defende...-vent-models-1

Normal tank 389.00
Power vent 799.00 plus install


Last edited by Ghostmaker; 07-07-2014 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:19 PM   #3
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I'm not sure I understand you. Side wall exhaust must be power vented? Your second link appears to show a side wall exhaust water heater that is not power vented.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:17 PM   #4
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Power vent systems aren't worth the money for such a small tank. You have to run power to them and you also have to pay for that power. There is an increased efficiency but for 40 gallons it amounts to nickels and dimes.... which will end up being swallowed by the increased maintenance involved with power venting.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:19 PM   #5
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Right, I don't want a power vent unit. Is it the case that I cannot have a gas water heater with a concentric pipe that goes horizontally through the wall without it being power vented?
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:07 AM   #6
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That is true. It needs air for combustion and draft to suck the smoke out and the only way to get that to happen is with a chimney or power vent. Heat rises in a chimney and creates draft to suck the smoke out and air in. Cannot do that horizontally thru a wall.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:44 AM   #7
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Looks like I am wrong. The second link

http://www.bradfordwhite.com/defende...-vent-models-1

has them. Like a direct vent fireplace. Only concern I have is that you will have to continuously check the inlet screen for debris, spider webs etc. If it gets slightly plugged then it won't get enough air for combustion and will burn dirty and soot up quickly. Will have to stay away from windows/doors and the exhaust can and will discolor your wall. We had those a long time ago with mid efficiency furnaces and it turns the wall brown and I would not use it with vinyl siding at all.

Ideally you want a long flat wall so that the wind can blow the smoke away. Does not work well near corners or fences and you cannot pile stuff near the vent. If there is no good breeze then the exhaust can get sucked back into the intake and it will burn dirty.
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Last edited by yuri; 07-08-2014 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:48 AM   #8
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If your chimney is not the problem, I would stay with passive vent heater. Unless you have a generator, having hot water in power outs really helps. If your keeping reading on powered vent water heaters, there is no real savings or convenience.
BTW, roofs are supposed to have pipes, chimneys, etc, sticking out of it.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:47 AM   #9
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Eternal makes an interesting type of water heater called a hybrid. It heats water on demand but it has a small tank inside of it. It also allegedly doesn't require the annual flushing/descaling. I have no idea what the price is though.

I'm more of a fan of electric water heaters, either a marathon or even a heat pump unit like the geospring. I don't like to put holes in the thermal enclosure if at all possible because it indirectly costs money.

I'm going to be looking at putting up some solar pv in the next 2-3 years. The cost has come down a lot and I can offset some of the higher electric usage from the electric water heater. In the case of the electric resistance water heater, they are very simple and last a long time as long as you don't have really bad water.

Just my .02
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strategery View Post
I'm more of a fan of electric water heaters, either a marathon or even a heat pump unit like the geospring. I don't like to put holes in the thermal enclosure if at all possible because it indirectly costs money.

I'm going to be looking at putting up some solar pv in the next 2-3 years. The cost has come down a lot and I can offset some of the higher electric usage from the electric water heater. In the case of the electric resistance water heater, they are very simple and last a long time as long as you don't have really bad water.

Just my .02
This makes a large amount of sense to me and I have been wrestling with the question myself, as going to electricity removes most of my concerns. However, I am worried about the cost. Right now I use about 10 therms a month of gas for my water heater, working out to about $10 a month. Even if I could later offset it with solar PV, it seems a shame to move to a more expensive fuel in the meantime, even if the device would be mechanically cheaper, not need any exhaust, and eliminate another combustion appliance in the house.

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