Basic Considerations for a Gas Direct Vent Water Heater

Gas Direct Vent Water Heater  – Natural Gas or Propane

When choosing a gas direct vent water heater, also known as a gas tankless water heater,  an important consideration is what type of gas you’ll need to operate it.   Luckily for most people, there isn’t much of a choice to make.  Chances are you’ll only have 2 choices — Propane or Natural Gas.   Natural gas is the more popular choice, and it’s commonly already piped for delivery into many homes.   Propane is usually the choice for those people that aren’t hooked up to a natural gas line.   Either gas type will work well for heating water and both choices have a similar heat content, although propane has slightly more.

Installation Location

One of the most important things to consider is where you install your hot water heater.  Make sure you put ample thought into the location of installation.  The closer you are to your water tie-ins, electrical supply, and the exterior for venting, the lower the costs of the overall installation will be.  The further you are away from any of these items, the more your costs will increase due to increased material and labor costs.

Direct Vent Pipe

Next on the list of considerations is the actual direct vent pipe.  As you may or may not know, heating water with a gas fired direct vent water heater requires combustion of an energy source (propane or natural gas).   Fresh air containing oxygen is brought in to the water heater where it is mixed with fuel and combusted.  The release of heat from the combustion process is then transferred to the water, and the products of combustion are then directly vented to the outside.

This is all made possible by the use of a special venting pipe that performs two functions.  The first is to draw in fresh air for combustion, and the second is to transport the byproducts of combustion, primarily CO2 and H2O, to the atmosphere.   So when you’re estimating the cost of installing a gas direct vent water heater, make sure and include the costs of the vent pipe.  In some cases, if there is a long distance between the hot water heater and the outside exhaust point, the costs for vent pipe can become quite substantial.

Do Your Homework

As with anything, it’s to your advantage to do your homework, and when it comes to buying a gas direct vent water heater it’s equally true.  You can lower your costs substantially by defining your needs and limitations, and carefully planning your installation based on that information.   And as an added advantage, the chance of any hidden suprises that may add to the cost can be eliminated.

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