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  1. #1
    Blain Plantz's Avatar
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    Default Can you vent a gAs fire Water heater out a perimeter wall

    I recently inspected a split level home with a utility room that includes a 90% efficiency furnace and an electric water heater. The buyer wants to replace the electric water heater with gas. The question is does it have to vent through the roof. And if he vents it through a side wall what would be the considerations. Likely it would have to be some specific minimum distance from any penetrations, specifically doors and windows. Anyway this is beyond me and I am sure someone knows.The home is in an incorporated portion of Jefferson county west of Denver, CO.

    Thank you for your response

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can you vent a gAs fire Water heater out a perimeter wall

    There are direct vent and power vented systems that can be done horizontally. I'd imagine some water heaters could be retrofit with a new vent system but I'm not sure about that.

    One thing to keep in mind with the power vent type is that if/when you lose power you also lose hot water. I haven't seen a lot of the direct vent type but an hvac contractor was just telling me about them last week. Maybe someone on here has some experience with them and will chime in.


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    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can you vent a gAs fire Water heater out a perimeter wall

    No blow.....No Boil

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

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    neal lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can you vent a gAs fire Water heater out a perimeter wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    No blow.....No Boil
    Not necessarily true. There are direct (horizontal) vent gas fired water heaters that use no electricity. Rheem makes one.


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    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can you vent a gAs fire Water heater out a perimeter wall

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    Not necessarily true. There are direct (horizontal) vent gas fired water heaters that use no electricity. Rheem makes one.
    Yep, there is that also but he was talking about the powered vents.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

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    Default Re: Can you vent a gAs fire Water heater out a perimeter wall

    Not sure if I'm thinking of or using the terminology correctly but I'm thinking of the natural draft ones as direct vent and the electric fan ones as powered vent. I suppose the powered ones are a powered direct vent, if there is such a thing.


  7. #7
    Bob Harper's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Can you vent a gAs fire Water heater out a perimeter wall

    Direct vent means a balanced system that pipes in as much air as it needs by thermosyphon then exhausts, usually through a concentric vent.

    You cannot use positive pressure on any vent not tested and listed for that application. That means Cat. I gas appliances cannot be power vented with an inline fan. You can use a wall termination power venter if that appliance is approved for use with one.

    In the case with the WH, they make both power vented units that take air from the home and direct vent that bring in their own air and are thus decoupled from the home air.
    HTH

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  8. #8
    Ron Hasil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can you vent a gAs fire Water heater out a perimeter wall

    Yes you can vent a gas fired water heater out of the wall if it is either a power vent unit. They do make two models of power vent units one is called a direct vent power vent, as Bob Harper pointed out it draws its combustion air from outside unlike a standard power vent unit which burns its combustion air from the dwelling.

    Now lets say you do not want a power vent unit. Then their is the Atmospheric Direct Vent unit. It needs to be near an outside wall the hole for the wall must accommodate the thimble that passes through the wall. This unit has a 5" pipe coming off the top of the unit with a 3" pipe inside the 5" pipe. The larger pipe is the fresh air intake and the smaller pipe is the exhaust. These units are almost as costly as a power vent unit , but when the power does go out you will have hot water still.

    Lots of people want to by a standard Atmospheric Vent water heater and vent them out the side wall. This is not allowed, every manufacture I dealt with wants them to be vented to roof or into a properly sized chimney system.

    With the Atmospheric Direct Vent and the Power Vent options the installation manuals give you the clearances from doors, windows , and other items you must have proper clearance for. They also have a disclaimer to check with your local codes to ensure they do not have any additional requirements.

    I hope this helps.


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