What is a Direct Vent Water Heater?

what is a direct vent water heater

If you're facing a dilemma choosing between a water heater direct vent system and a power vent water heater, you shouldn't. These two types of water heaters are unique and applicable in different places. However, you need to know about them before choosing one over another.

A direct vent water heater is a type of water heater that depends on gas - propane or natural gas - to perform combustion. It uses combustion air from outdoors, and in the process, it heats your water. It is an excellent water heating option when looking to save on energy costs.

This article will ensure that you understand what a direct vent water heater is and help you decide if it's the right water heater choice for your home. You'll also get to know why it's a better choice over a power vent heater.

How Does a Direct Vent Water Heater Work?

The operation of a water heater direct vent system involves the inflow of cold water through the dip tube into the insulation container. The thermostat senses the temperature of the water and triggers the gas valve open.

This causes an inflow of air (from outside) from the bottom of the tank to mix with the gas. Finally, a thermocouple ignites the burner, and the cold water begins to heat up.

During combustion, exhaust gases rise through a metal vent that leads away from the insulation container into a chimney. The vent is metal because it can stand higher temperatures than other piping materials, such as PVC. 

The exhaust gas moves along the vent through density and pressure; less dense hot air rises into the vent and into the chimney, while denser cold air remains below. Finally, the less-dense exhaust gases pass into the atmosphere through the chimney.

Where can I Use a Direct Vent Water Heater?

Direct vent water heaters aren't common in many modern homes because of their peculiar requirement, a chimney. This limits where you can use the gas water heater unless you're willing to build a chimney.

For this reason, we recommend direct vent water heaters  for:

  • Homes that have chimneys or are willing to build one.

  • Homes with inadequate ventilation since it uses air from outside the house.

  • Off-grid homes.

  •  Homes that are seeking to reduce their energy costs.

Why Should You Choose a Direct Vent Water Heater?

If you look around you in Spokane, WA, and surrounding areas, there may be few houses that use direct vent water heaters; however, there are reasons you may want to adopt the same method of heating water, and they include:

Low Installation Cost

Installing a water heater direct vent system is relatively easier than other water heaters. You only need to install the insulation container, which usually has an anode rod and other components already attached to it.

The lower installation cost is mainly because there's no need to install a new vent for the exhaust gases since they leave through the metal vent to the chimney.

Silent Operation

During combustion, you'll hardly hear the water heater in operation. Also, because the exhaust gases leave the container by obeying pressure and the laws of density, it doesn't require any special feature, such as a blower, to remove these gases, as in power vent water heaters.

This means you can have direct vent water heaters close to your bedroom.

Less Operation Cost

One of the quickest ways to increase your energy bill is to use your energy for heating. Since direct vent water heaters are gas-powered and use as little electricity as possible, you incur less operational cost than other water heaters heavily dependent on electricity.

Also, you incur fewer maintenance costs because you don't need sophisticated features with a direct water heater.

Suitable for Low Ventilation Homes

If your home isn't great with ventilation, direct vent water heaters will conserve the air in your home by using air from outside. You can save yourself and your household from gasping for air because you're heating water.

Why a Water Heater Direct Vent System May Not be the Best Choice?

Alongside the pros of using a direct vent water heater, there are possible downsides to using it compared to a power vent unit. They include:

It is Archaic

A direct vent system operates on old technology, which may not be ensuring enough for you, especially as more efficient water heaters are available.

If you're one for state-of-the-art technology, direct vent water heaters aren't what you should consider for your home.

It is Strict on Venting.

There's only one way to get the exhaust gases out of a direct vent water heater, the chimney. So, if you don't have a chimney, you can't use a direct vent water heater.

Final Thought

A direct vent water heater is a type of gas-powered water heater that uses outside air, in combination with gas, for combustion. It releases exhaust gases through a metal vent and out of the house, through the chimney. 

While it is excellent for low-ventilation homes and incurs lower operation and installation costs, it requires a strict venting requirement - a chimney. So if you're looking to cut down your electrical energy expenses and your home has a chimney, you should consider a direct vent water heater.

Hire an HVAC Expert For You Water Heater Installation

If you are looking for a water heater installation in Spokane, WA, and surrounding areas, then there is no better time to find a professional and experienced HVAC contractor than now. 

The best thing about hiring a Hurliman heating system expert is that we will be able to provide you with all the necessary information on what type of water heater would suit your needs.

Our HVAC technicians will also recommend the right size and model of the water heater based on your budget and space requirements. They will also ensure that the installation process goes smoothly without any problems and ensure your water heater will last longer.