What Is A Power Vent Water Heater

Have you been searching for an article that gives an ABC explanation on a power vent water heater? Then, this article on what is a power vent water heater will provide you with the best details there are.

This article has various sections that will provide details on the subject matter. The first section, which is the starting point, will provide you with an overview of the power vent water heater.

Next is the second section, which will provide you with details on how the power vent water heater works. The following section after this is the third section which will provide details on its features.

Moreover, this article’s fourth section details its pros and cons. Furthermore, the fifth section of this article will recommend some power vent water heaters, which will be in ascending order, that is, 1st to 5th.

In the sixth section, however, I will be answering some frequently asked questions. Then, in the last section, I will provide my conclusion on the subject matter.

Hence, to enjoy this ABC explanation, you must closely pay more attention to this article.

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater: Overview

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater_ Overview

First, what is a water heater? A water heater is simply a device for heating water. Thus, It is a device that transfers heat and uses an energy source to heat water above its initial temperature.

When it comes to water heater vents, there are two types. They include; Direct vent water heater and a power vent water heater.

While the direct vent vents combustion gases into the outdoor atmosphere using a chimney or exhaust pipe, the power vent removes combustion gases via a powered venting fan from the atmosphere.

Your vent depends mainly on the home layout, chimney location, and preferences. Hence, the focus of this article is the power vent water heater.

It is a water heater with a horizontal vent that usually vents exhaust through a horizontal pipe that leads out of the home. It usually comes with a fan or blower that aids in pushing the exhaust gases via the exhaust pipe.

This fan or blower often requires extra power. However, the power source of this fan or blower is separate from the source for powering the water heater itself.

In some homes, depending on the location of the water heater, the power vent type might be your only option. For instance, a gas water heater with an electrically powered vent.

Also, you might consider the power vent type to improve your home exhaust capabilities. In a situation where a home does not have a chimney or a vertical vent, this is the perfect option.

Some water heater vents tend to have a hybrid design: the power direct vent water heater. In a situation where you need to install your water heater in a place that lacks sufficient air for combustion, this type is a go-to option.

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater: How It Works

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater_ How It Works

Most gas water heaters, but not all, usually require venting within your home. Hence, you must make use of the correct venting material.

When you choose the correct venting for your water heater, it will help to ensure that your water heater operates safely and efficiently. Thus, the power vent water heater is suitable for a home that does not have a chimney or vertical vent.

However, there is no complexity on how the power vent water heater works. It has a simple working principle.

The power vent water heater has an electric blower or fan that you will see at the top of the water heater. This blower or fan requires a power outlet close to the water heater itself.

Hence, the fan or blower pushes the exhaust and excess heat via the exhaust venting. This exhaust venting usually runs either horizontally or vertically with a long line.

This helps in terms of space and sizing issues within the home. Also, this tends to make the power vent type more flexible to install within a home.

A power vent is a more efficient option. This is because it utilizes the heat from the exhaust to heat water for energy savings.

Also, its lower exhaust temperatures allow for PVC piping, which is a cheaper solution than metal piping.

For simplicity, the power vent water heater pulls air that combustion requires from the atmosphere surrounding the water heater. That is, it aids the blower or fan in blowing the excess heat and exhaust via the vent to the atmosphere outside.

Power Direct Vent

Nevertheless, in a situation where the location of the water heater lacks air for combustion and requires flexibility around the installation, the power direct vent water heater is a suitable option.

This type of power vent has a hybrid design. The power direct vent type uses the blower to pull air in from outside the home for combustion.

It then funnels it directly to the water heater. That same blower also performs another function of releasing the combustion gases outside the home.

Like the power vent type, the direct power vent uses PVC piping to reduce its installation cost. Also, the electric blower of the direct power vent requires a power outlet near the water heater for installation.

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater: Features/Factors To Consider

Fuel Source

Commonly, there are two types of fuels source that water heater uses to operate. They include; gas and electric sources.

Thus, this type of water heater uses gas as its fuel source. This is because all gas-powered water heater requires venting and piping.

Hence, you need to know whether your gas supply is propane or natural.

Energy Efficiency

To know the energy efficiency of this type of water heater. First, you need to check for the energy factor of each unit. The energy factor tells you how much of the gas each unit consumes goes towards heating that escapes through the vent.

Hence, the higher the energy factor, the more efficient the unit and the greater the potential energy savings.

Condescending Vs. Non Condescending

Power vent water heaters come in both condescending and non-condescending models. The non-condescending models burn gas to heat water, allowing excess heat energy to escape through the vent.

On the other hand, the condescending models use a secondary heat exchanger to capture heat from exhaust gases and use it to heat more water. This type is usually more efficient.

The non-condescending models usually have an energy factor of around 0.6. While the condescending models usually offer an energy factor of about 0.86.

Also, the condescending model costs two or three times more than the non-condescending model.

Venting Requirements

All power vent water heaters must vent to the outdoors. This is because dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide can accumulate in the home if it does not vent outdoors.

The maximum power vent exhaust pipe length usually determines where you can place the unit in the home. This maximum vent run tends to vary depending on the vent pipe size.

Some water heater has a maximum vent run ranging from 45 to 180 feet. In contrast, some water heater’s maximum vent run ranges from 30 to 160 feet.

Water Heating Capacity

A tank gas heater’s water heating capacity usually ranges from 20 to 120 gallons. However, most tend to fall within the range of 40 to 80 gallons.

Thus, the size of your power vent water heater is based on the number of bathrooms you have in your home. However, homes with one bathroom require a 30 to 40-gallon capacity.

While a home with two-three bathrooms and a half bath tends to require at least a 50-gallon capacity. A home with four or more bathrooms can consider a power vent water heater with a 75-gallon capacity and above unit rating.

Energy Star Certification

Some power vent water heaters usually come with an Energy Star Certification through the U.S. Department of Energy. Hence, most certified power vent water heaters with non-condescending units can save $30 per year on energy costs.

Also, most certified power vent water heaters with condescending units can save $100 per year on energy costs.

Therefore, a certified power vent with non-condescending units must have an energy factor of 0.67 or higher, while that of condescending units must have 0.8 or higher.

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater: Pros And Cons

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater_ Pros And Cons



People use this type of water heater to improve the removal of exhaust and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with the added layer of safety.

Power vent water heaters have a built-in fan that pushes exhaust gas out; it has a low potential to backdraft. Backdraft means that the water heater exhaust leaks out inside the home instead of safely exiting your home via a vent.

So since it has a low potential for backdraft, it dramatically reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, it does not eliminate it.


One major benefit of this type of water heater is installing it anywhere. This is because it does not require a vertical vent or chimney access.

Instead of using a vent that runs through the middle of your home, the power vent allows for longer runs of the vent. When installing a horizontal pipe, you can place the water heater wherever is convenient for your home layout.

Low Energy Consumption

Power vent water heaters are very energy efficient. Hence they require less fuel or gas to operate than other venting systems.

Since it has low energy consumption, the power vent water heater tends to save cost. It can save about $20 to $25 per year.


Power vent water heaters are great in terms of their performance. This is because they can provide hot water faster than other alternative options.

Option For tightly Built Homes

Most people build new homes with energy efficiency, which tends to pose an overlooked issue. This is because they are tightly-built homes, and it can be difficult to establish an acceptable direct vent water heater.

Power vent water heaters are a suitable option for this type of situation.



They are noisy when they are new, and they don’t get better with time. For example, when the power vent water heater is in operation, you will notice the added noise that the fan makes when the water heater is running.

However, the location of the water heater in your home determines whether it might be an issue or not.


Power vent water heaters cost about 75% more than the direct vent. This is because of the added blower or fan.

Aside from the cost of the unit itself, an additional cost will arise – the electricity bill, piping cost, and so on.

Also, it has a shorter warranty too. This is because sometimes, when a part of the unit spoils, people prefer to replace the whole unit rather than buy the spoilt part.


For the power vent to operate, you have to plug its electric blower into a power outlet for it to run. So regardless of where you want to place your power vent water heater, you may have to install a power outlet near the place.

This can lead to additional cost of installation. Thus, this is not an issue if a power outlet is already in place.

Also, Once the power goes out, the power vent water heater will stop working or running, unlike the direct vent water heater. this is because it won’t be able to vent its gases.

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater: My Recommendations

ProductsDimensionWeightPower SourceCapacity
A.O. Smith GPVL-50 ProMax Power Vent Gas Water Heater‎24 x 24 x 60.13 inches‎213 poundsGas Powered50 Gallons
Rheem PROG50-42N RH67 Power Vent Natural Gas Water Heater21 x 21 x 65
160 pounds‎Gas Powered50 Gallons

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the benefit of a power vent water heater?

Power vent water’s main benefit is that it greatly reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

2. Are the power vent and water heater better?

A power vent water heater offers more energy efficiency than a direct vent. In addition, it requires less gas and less cost to operate since the power vent uses a fan to operate.

3. What is the difference between a power vent and a direct vent water heater?

While a power vent water heater uses a venting fan to remove combustion gases from the atmosphere, the direct vent uses a chimney or exhaust pipe to vent combustion gases into the outdoor atmosphere.

4. What is a power vent heater?

A power vent heater draws air inside the home while the blower or fan forces the exhaust outside. People use it in place of the conventional chimney.

5. How long does a power vent water heater last?

The life expectancy of a power vent ranges between eight to twelve years.

6. How much does it cost to replace a power vent water heater?

The installation cost of this water heater usually ranges between $1050 to $ 5000.

7. What is the purpose of a power vent?

A power vent’s main purpose is pushing harmful combustion gases out of your home.

8. Is Rheem better than AO Smith?

The AO Smith water heater models tend to have an edge in terms of energy efficiency over the Rheem models.

9. Does a gas water heater need to vent through the roof?

Absolutely! This is because it contains carbon monoxide, which must vent outside.

10. How far can you vent a power vent water heater?

The maximum vent length for the exhaust is 60ft for the 3-diameter pipe and 100ft for the 4-diameter pipe.

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater: My Final Thought

As I said earlier, there are two types of water heaters when it comes to venting: direct and power vent water heaters. The power vent water heater is the article’s main focus; it is a unique type.

This is because it uses a fan or a blower to push the exhaust gases via a horizontal exhaust pipe. One thing that makes this water heater unique is that it does not require a chimney or vertical vent.

The result of this is that you can place it anywhere so far it is near an electric outlet. Of course, most things have their advantages and disadvantages, and the power vent water heater is no exception.

However, in this article, I have been able to give an overview of a power vent water heater as well as how it works. Not only that, I was able to give its features as well as its pros and cons.

I also gave some recommendations for power vent heaters that are available on amazon. So you can check it out and see the one that suits your preference.

I hope you found this PowerVersity pick helpful?

If you found it helpful, kindly share your thoughts with the “Leave a Reply” form found towards the end of this page.

Finally, you may want to read other articles like this. Visit our below pages:

What is a Ventless Dryer?

5 Best Espresso Machines

What Are Distribution Lines: Transportation Of Electricity

Oreoluwa Falujo
Oreoluwa Falujo is an editor/ content writer at PowerVersity.com. She has a B.Sc. in Political Science. She loves watching movies playing games and listening to music. Oreoluwa writes buying guides, reviews, and best pick articles for PowerVersity.com.


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