Tankless or continuous flow water heaters provide an endless supply of hot water. Unlike tank units, these systems don't run out of hot water. Tankless units come in two variations based on the fuel used: electric and gas water heaters. If you opt for a gas unit, you need to vent it to remove exhaust gases. Improper venting can cause the gases to leak into your home, which can present a safety hazard. Therefore, address these venting issues when installing your gas tankless unit.
Direct Venting vs. Power Venting
There are two popular types of water heater venting systems: direct vent and power vent. Direct venting uses two vents hooked up to the chimney. One vent pulls air from outside for ignition, while the other releases exhaust gases outdoors. This design allows continuous flow units to be installed in small spaces. Exhaust gases are vented vertically; therefore, the system doesn't consume electrical energy.
A power vent removes exhaust gases through a horizontal pipe that leads out of the building. This system has a blower fan that pulls outdoor air for combustion and pushes exhaust gases outside. The blower is electrically powered; therefore, a power vent consumes energy during operation. It also requires more space to draw air for gas combustion and water heating.
Roof vs. Wall Venting
Direct vent systems typically vent exhaust gases through the chimney. Therefore, if you have an existing chimney, this option is affordable and practical. If you don't have a chimney, you can still install a direct vent system. However, the installation may be costlier because you must run the vent vertically to the roof.
Power vent systems are incredibly versatile because they don't need a chimney to release gases. You can run the exhaust pipe horizontally and release gases through the roof or the side of the house. This configuration is great for aesthetic purposes, as you can place your water heater and venting system in the most convenient location.
A primary concern with gas hot water systems is exposure to carbon monoxide. If the exhaust pipe leaks, it can release harmful gases into your home and cause health complications. You can lower this risk by choosing a tankless water heater with a concentric venting system. Concentric vents have a single pipe that contains an inner intake pipe and an exhaust pipe. Therefore, when a leak occurs, the gases remain inside the main pipe instead of being released into the home.
Venting is a crucial step in the installation of a gas tankless water heater. It determines system efficiency and protects households from exhaust gases. Therefore, contact a professional for water heater installation and venting.