Power Vent Water Heater: Why You Should Buy One

Anthony Barnes

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There are multiple ways to heat water. Some boil it with gas, some use electricity and others use heated coils.

Power vent water heaters work differently. Instead of storing hot water in a tank, it is stored directly in the ceiling and is thus called a power vent system.

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater?

However, if you want to save time and money, you should go for a power vent water heater instead of a standard unit.

You should choose one that has a variable-speed fan, a thermostat, and a built-in timer.

These are the features that ensure you get the most out of your investment.

It is also important to note that using a power vent water heater saves energy and reduces carbon emissions.

If you are looking into buying a new power vent water heater, then here is why you should consider it.

What Is A Power Vent Water Heater?

A power vent water heater is an appliance that heats water by circulating air through it.

This means that there is no need for a storage tank or boiler. These units do not have any parts at all.

They are completely self-contained.

The only thing they require is electricity and a place where the water can be circulated.

Unlike other types of water heaters, this kind does not store heat; rather, it releases it when needed.

How Does A Power Vent Work?

This is how a power vent works. First, the water flows from the faucet to the top of the unit.

From there, it goes down to the bottom of the unit. There, it is mixed with cold water which comes from the supply line.

This mixture circulates the entire unit until it reaches the outlet.

As soon as it leaves the outlet, the warm water travels back up to the top of the device.

When the cycle starts again, the process repeats itself.

Why Do I Need To Use A Power Vent?

If you live in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions, you will appreciate the benefits of a power vent.

Because it does not store heat, it is less likely to break down during heavy storms.

It is also more efficient than other types of water heating.

Because the heating element is located inside the unit, it is much easier to maintain than traditional tanks.

You should also know that a power vent is safer than other types of systems.

For example, if you leave the tap open while the unit is on, the water could overflow.

However, because a power vent is self-contained, there is no risk of flooding.

You should also know that a unit like this is cheaper than other options.

When you compare them side by side, you will notice that power vents cost about half as much as other models.

Advantages Of Power Vent Heaters

There are many advantages associated with power vent water heaters. Here are just a few of them.

They Are More Efficient Than Other Types

One of the biggest reasons people buy a power vent is efficiency. These units are more efficient than other types.

Because they use less energy, they reduce their carbon footprint. They also consume less fuel.

They Have Fewer Parts

Another reason people prefer power vents over other types of equipment is that they have fewer components.

Unlike conventional water heaters, these units do not require a storage tank. Instead, they rely on a circulation system.

They Are Safer

Unlike other types of water heatings, power vents are safe. The heating elements are enclosed within the unit.

If you leave the tap open, there is no chance of water overflowing.

They Are Cheaper

Another benefit of using a power vent is its affordability. Most of them come with warranties.

In addition, most manufacturers offer discounts on replacement parts.

Are There Any Downsides Of Using A Power Vent?

While there are many advantages to using a power vent, there are also disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that it takes longer to heat water.

Because a power vent uses a fan to circulate the air, it requires more time to heat the water. On average, it takes about 20 minutes to heat 1 gallon of water.

Another downside is that it is expensive. Depending on the size of the unit, you may spend between $1,500 and $3,000.

However, if you are willing to invest in one, you will save money over the long term.

Is A Power Vent Right For Me?

Before you make a final decision, it is important to understand what type of home you live in.

If you live in a home without a basement, you should look into installing a tankless system.

Tankless systems are better suited for homes without basements. They are also more expensive but they offer several advantages.

For instance, they use less energy and they are more reliable.

They are also more environmentally friendly because they release hot water directly into your sink instead of storing it in a tank.

A power vent is also a good option if you want to install a new bathroom. It is easy to set up and it offers a lot of conveniences.

In addition, it is ideal for people who do not have access to natural gas or electricity.

What Is The Best Type Of Unit?

What Is The Best Type Of Unit?

The best type of unit depends on several factors. The first thing you need to consider is whether you want a tankless or a conventional model.

The second factor is where you plan to place the unit. Are you going to put it in a room with low humidity? Or would you prefer a humidifier?

Next, you should determine how big the space is. Smaller units can be installed easily in small bathrooms (see also ‘What Is A 3/4 Bathroom’).

Larger ones are usually placed in larger rooms.

Lastly, you need to decide whether you want a single or multi-zone unit. Multi-zone units are great for large families.

If you are looking for a single zone unit, you should choose a smaller model. Most manufacturers recommend that you buy a 10 cubic foot unit.

How Much Does A Power Vent Cost?

Depending on the brand, a power vent costs anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000. Most experts agree that you get what you pay for.

When you purchase a unit like this, you should expect to pay between $2,000 and $4,000. This price includes installation.

When buying a unit, you should also take into consideration its warranty. Some brands offer warranties ranging from 2 years to 5 years.

What Is A Direct Vent Heater?

Direct vented heaters are similar to power vents except that they require no ductwork.

Instead, they use fans to direct warm air throughout the house.

This makes them easier to install. However, they are more expensive than power vents. They are also less efficient.

According to some estimates, they only provide 50% to 60% of the heating efficiency as compared to a traditional heater.

Direct Vent Heaters Vs. Power Vent Heaters

Both types of heaters work well. However, they differ in terms of their design and cost.

As mentioned earlier, they both use fans to circulate warm air through the house. But there are differences.

First, a power vent uses an electric fan while a direct vent heater has a blower motor.

Second, a power vent requires a chimney flue while a direct vent does not.

Third, a power vent comes with a thermostat while a direct vent does come with remote control.

Finally, a power vent is more convenient since it can be controlled remotely.

Difference In Combustion Air Source

A difference between these two models is the source of combustion air.

While a power vent uses ambient air, a direct vent heater draws air from inside the home.

You should note that a direct vent heater will draw more air than a power vent.

However, it will still keep your home comfortable even when the temperature outside drops below freezing.

Difference In Venting Direction

Another difference between these two models lies in their direction of ventilation.

A power vent blows warm air out of the house while a direct vent pulls air in.

In other words, a power vent pushes hot air away from the house while a direct one sucks in cold air.

It is important to note that a direct vent is better at keeping your home warmer during winter.

But it may cause problems if you live in a region where the weather changes rapidly.

In such cases, you may have to switch back to a power vent.

Difference In Venting Pipe

Another difference between these two models involves the vent pipe.

A power vent comes with a chimney flue that runs vertically up to the roof. On the other hand, a direct vent comes with a horizontal pipe running across the ceiling.

The advantage of using a vertical chimney flue is that it allows you to easily remove the vent pipe after installing it.

On the other hand, a horizontal pipe cannot be removed without tearing off the ceiling.

Difference In Installation Time

The last but not least difference between these two types of heaters is how long it takes to install.

Most people find installing a power vent easier than a direct vent.

If you are new to DIY projects, then you might want to hire someone else to do the job.

On the other hand, if you know how to build things yourself, you can easily install a direct vent.

Which Is Better For Your Home?

It all depends on your needs. If you live in an apartment, then a direct vent heater is probably better.

However, if you own a home, then a power vent will be more suitable for you.

You may even find that you enjoy using a power vent more than a direct vent. After all, it is much quieter.

How To Choose A Good Power Vent?

Choosing a good power vent is easy. All you need to do is look at the manufacturer’s website.

There, you can read reviews written by other customers. Also, you can see pictures of the product.

In addition, you can check out the company’s social media pages. They often post videos about their products.

Also, make sure that the manufacturer offers a warranty. It is always best to buy a product that comes with a warranty.

Common Problems With Power Vent Heaters

The biggest problem with these heaters is that they tend to break down.

Some people say that they have had problems with their units breaking down after just one year.

Others claim that they have had issues with their units failing within two years.

If you want to avoid such problems, then you should consider purchasing a quality unit.

Another common problem with these heaters involves the thermostats. These devices fail quite frequently. 

Most users report that their thermostats stop working after just a few months.

To avoid these problems, you should choose a unit that comes with a reliable thermostat.

A third common issue with these units is that they leak. Most people complain that their units leak water when they are turned off.

And this can lead to mold growth. To avoid this problem, you should purchase a unit that comes with an automatic shut-off feature.

How To Install A Power Vent Heater

Installing a power vent is pretty simple.

All you need to do is follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

When installing a power vent, you should first connect the unit to the wall outlet. Then, you should turn on the unit.

Next, you should attach the base plate to the floor or ceiling.

After that, you should install the ducting. Then, you should screw the mounting brackets into place.

Once everything is done, you should plug the unit in and test it.

Tips For Installing Power Vent Water Heaters

Here are some tips for installing a power vent.

First, you should use only high-quality materials. This means that you should use metal screws instead of wood screws. 

Also, you should use a waterproof adhesive sealant. Lastly, you should ensure that the unit has enough space between the wall and the unit.

Getting Help To Install A Power Vent Water Heater

If you need help installing a power vent, then you should call a professional plumber.

They will know how to properly mount the unit and where to drill holes.

Finally, you should also hire a contractor who specializes in plumbing. He/she will be able to correctly install your unit. 

Repairing A Power Vent Water Heater

You should not attempt to repair a power vent heater yourself if you have limited experience.

It is very dangerous because there are many moving parts inside.

However, if you have experience repairing electrical appliances, then you can try fixing a power vent.

You should start by checking all the connections. Then, you can replace any worn components.

If you still cannot fix the unit, then you should contact a professional.

Can You Convert Regular Water Heaters To Power Vent Water Heaters?

Yes, you can convert regular water heaters to power vents. The process is fairly easy. Most manufacturers offer conversion kits.

These kits come with everything you need to complete the installation.

Labor Costs To Install A Power Vent Water Heater 

The cost of installing a power vent depends on the size of the unit. For example, a small unit costs around $200 while a large one costs over $500.

Installation costs vary depending on the type of unit you buy. Some units include a warranty, which helps reduce the overall cost.

Other factors that affect the price of installation include the number of outlets needed, the location of the outlets, and the distance from the nearest utility pole.

Where Can You Buy A Power, Vent Water Heater?

You can find power vent water heaters (see also ‘What Is A Direct Vent Water Heater?‘) at home improvement stores, hardware stores, and online retailers.

Most manufacturers sell their products directly through their websites. However, they usually charge more than other sellers.

Buying From The Manufacturer

Another option is buying from the manufacturer. Manufacturers often provide free shipping and installation services.

Moreover, they may even give you a discount. However, you should make sure that the product you purchase comes with a warranty.


A power vent heater is an effective way to save energy. It allows you to control the temperature of your hot water without using electricity or gas.

Therefore, you should consider purchasing a power vent water heater (see also ‘Hot Water Heater Vent Pipe Size‘). Remember that this device does require maintenance.

This includes cleaning the tank periodically. Furthermore, it is important to check the heating element regularly. Otherwise, you could damage the unit.

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age