So, are you thinking about buying a power vent water heater? There are numerous products on the market. How do you know which unit to buy?
We can help you find the perfect power vent water heater for your home. In this article, you will learn:
- Our Top 5 power vent heaters for 2021
- What are power vent water heaters?
- How do power vent water heaters work?
- Are power vent water heaters worth it?
- What do you look for in the best power vent water heaters?
A.O. Smith GPVL-50 ProMax Power Vent Gas Water Heater
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Rheem PROG50-42N RH67 PV Professional
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AO Smith GDHE-50-NG Power Vent Water Heater
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Reliance CO 6-40-YBVIS 200 Power Vent Water Heater
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American Standard Water Heaters D-80-199-AS
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Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
We love the ProMax unit. It’s an efficient and also effective power vent water heater that uses gas as opposed to electricity, making running it less expensive to operate.
It also provides an impressive energy efficiency rating of .7, and the hot surface igniter works more efficiently than a standard pilot.
The 3-position blower also allows for optimal flexibility during installation, and it comes with a popular 50-gallon tank.
|What's In This Guide?|
Our Top 5 Power Vent Water Heaters for 2021
In a rush to explore our top choices? No problem. See below for our list. You can then read further down to get into the details of each review.
- A.O. Smith GPVL-50 ProMax Power Vent Gas Water Heater (Best Overall)
- Rheem PROG50-42N RH67 PV Professional (Best Value)
- AO Smith GDHE-50-NG Power Vent Water Heater (Best High End)
- Reliance CO 6-40-YBVIS 200 Power Vent Water Heater (Best Ventilation)
- American Standard Water Heaters D-80-199-AS (Best Commercial)
What Are Power Vent Water Heaters?
Gas water heaters emit carbon monoxide. This gas can become dangerous if not expelled from the home properly, especially if breathed by someone in the house.
Gas water heaters provide two fumigation options:
- Power ventilation
- Direct ventilation
Power ventilation leads gas horizontally out through a specialized pipe system using an electric fan. Direct ventilation leads the gas upward through the existing chimney.
Power ventilation requires an additional power source not attached to the water heater to power the fan, while direct ventilation does not require an additional power source.
What Are The Different Types of Power Vent Water Heaters?
Power vent water heaters come in two main types: tank and tankless. Conventional tank systems store water in the tank and keep it heated with a pilot light until it is needed.
Tankless options heat the water instantly, so a tank isn’t necessary. Tankless systems take up less space and save money in utilities, but they cost more upfront.
How Do Power Vent Water Heaters Work?
Power vent water heaters send incendiary gas outside of the home as a safety precaution. An electric fan transports the carbon monoxide through a ventilation tunnel outside to dissipate into the air. During the ventilation process, the water heater uses the excess heat from the gas to help heat the water.
Power vent water heaters use either type of pipe system:
- single-pipe system
- two-pipe system
A single pipe system actually consists of two pipes (one inside of the other), but it appears as one pipe. The internal pipe safely transports carbon monoxide outside while the outer pipe creates airflow. Singles pipes systems are the simplest solution.
A two-pipe system uses two pipes. One pipe transports combustible gases while the other one creates airflow. If the pipes run vertically, the pipes should come to a 90-degree angle with each other.
If the pipes run horizontally, the pipes should slope downward slightly to reduce condensation build-up. Two pipe systems provide the best heat distribution.
Are Power Vent Water Heaters Worth it?
Power vent water heaters provide multiple benefits compared to direct vent water heaters. Some of the benefits include:
Power vent water heaters provide ventilation in multiple directions, and the system creates its own ventilation system instead of relying on the chimney placement. Power vent water heaters also have long pipes, making them preferred when placing a water heater away from the wall.
Direct vent power heaters fail from time to time and produce a backdraft. Backdraft occurs when gas doesn’t make it outside but changes direction back into the house. Luckily, power vent water heaters rarely experience backdraft, improving air quality in your home and keeping people healthy.
Of course, power vent water heaters also have some downsides to consider before you make your purchase, such as:
Power Vent water heaters can get noisy when running. Water heater blankets may help place the water heater in a secluded part of your home.
Power vent water heaters use gas to power the water heater and electricity to power the fan. You must install the water heater near an electrical outlet and pay for both gas and electrical usage (even if running the fan only costs a couple of dollars a year).
Plus, if the electricity goes out, you can’t use the hot water heater unless you have a generator, even though it’s gas-powered.
What Do You Look For In The Best Power Vent Water Heaters?
You have decided that you want a power vent water heater because you prefer a gas water heater and want flexible ventilation options. You still have a lot of water heaters to choose from.
Which power vent water heater will work best in your home? Consider these factors to make your decision.
You need to pick the correct sized water heater. If opting for a tank system, 50 gallons should provide enough hot water for up to three people. 80-gallon tanks can provide enough hot water for up to six people.
Getting a water heater too small for your home can lead to cold showers, and an excessively large water heater can severely affect your home’s efficiency. Oversized water heaters also heat up too quickly against the product’s design, causing damage.
Tankless systems generate instantly hot water that remains hot for as long as you run it. However, when you use multiple hot water sources, the system may not generate enough water for all faucets and appliances.
Consider how many things may be running at one time and add them up to decide how many gallons per minute you require.
Buying a new water heater allows you to purchase a product with better efficiency ratings than your old water heater. Every water heater has an efficiency rating based on its output in comparison to the energy it uses.
All EnergyStar-rated traditional gas water heaters must have a rating between .67 – .95, with the higher rating indicating better efficiency. Tankless water heaters have much higher efficiency ratings.
Efficient products use less energy and therefore don’t cost as much to operate. Using less energy also means the electric factories won’t need to work as hard and put as many pollutants into the air, so it helps reduce your carbon footprint and looks attractive to green-focused future buyers.
Do you have the necessary space for a giant tank? If you have a giant tank already, could you do something more productive with that space?
If you do opt for a tank, do you have specific size requirements in the area the water heater belongs? You should measure height and width to ensure your choice will fit.
Tankless options take up much less space than water heater tanks. They look better and fit more places. However, is the extra cost worth the slight increase in the appearance of your basement?
The Best Power Vent Water Heaters Reviewed
Our #1 Rated Pick: A.O. Smith ProMax
The A.O. Smith GPVL-50 ProMax power vent gas water heater utilizes a hot-surface igniter to heat the water in the 50 gal. tank with more reliability and more efficiency than a standard pilot.
LED lights make reading the settings a breeze, and the controls are simple and precise.
The fan also comes in three positions to allow for flexibility. The tank also has two inches of insulation and advanced technology designed to minimize areas susceptible to cold water. The unit produces 40,000 BTU (measurement of heat).
- EnergyStar rating (.7 energy factor)
- Six year limited tank and parts warranty
- Made in the USA
- Limited 40-foot ventilation distance
- Heavy and bulky
Our #2 Rated Pick: Rheem ProG50
The Rheem PROG50-42N RH67 PV professional power vent water heater uses an eco-friendly low Knox burner to heat the 50-gallon tank.
This product has a first hour rating (FHR) of 87 gallons, heating the water in the tank quickly, and 42,000 BTU.
This unit also boasts a “maintenance free” status, meaning that there is no filter for you to clean or change. It comes suited for long venting if necessary, with 100′ runs.
- Proprietary R-Tech anode rod that protects the tank
- Venting lengths up to 100 feet
- No filter to clean
- Not EnergyStar rated (.67 EF rating)
- Amazon not considered a verified dealer
Our #3 Rated Pick: AO Smith GDHE
Best High End
The AO Smith GDHE-50-NG power vent water heater produces seemingly endless hot water from the 50-gallon tank. How?
This is due to its impressive 96% thermal efficiency and 100,000 BTU, which is generated by the internal heat exchanger.
Digital, simple controls on the high-quality tank make adjustments easy!
However, you may experience a shorter life span with this unit.
- Enough hot water for everyone
- Energy efficient
- Most powerful residential option rated at 100,000 BTU
- Shorter life expectancy than most
- Condensation clean up and additional maintenance
Our #4 Rated Pick: Reliance CO
The Reliance CO 6-40-YBVIS 200 power vent water heater uses a hot surface igniter to heat the water in the 40-gallon tank.
The ventilation system works both horizontally and vertically, and the fan has three possible positions to allow for optimum flexibility with your ventilation system.
The product has a first hour rating (FHR) of 73 gallons and 50,000 BTU.
- EnergyStar (Energy Factor 70)
- Self-cleaning/ low maintenance
- Schedule 40 vent piping system
- Small 40-gallon tank not suitable for all households
- Not suitable for mobile homes
Our #5 Rated Pick: American Standard D-80
Best Commercial / High Usage
The American Standard D series commercial water heaters provide an immense amount of power.
They have a large tank that should satisfy the needs of any small to medium-sized business, or extremely large household. (Think duplex!)
The tank is designed to prevent corrosion for as long as possible thanks to the 4 anode rods that come standard.
- Large 85 gallon tank
- Insulated tank with anti-corrosion properties
- Rated at 199,900 BTU
- Not EnergyStar Rates
- Requires large space to install unit, difficult to retrofit.
Final Thoughts On Power Vent Water Heaters
Power vent water heaters provide a perfect ventilation system for homes with gas water heaters not accessible to a chimney. Both tank systems and tankless options make it easy for you to place your water heater where you want while still providing ventilation.
Remember, carbon monoxide can pose a real threat. There have been cases where people have unfortunately died from CO2 poisoning due to faulty water heater operation. For this reason, we recommend not only choosing a highly rated power vent water heater, but taking additional steps to help insure your safety.
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BrantI'm passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, "how-to", and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!
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