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Power Vent Water Heater. What you should know

Power vent water heater is alike to direct vent models, but it uses an electrically operated fan or blower. The blower is used as the assistance to mechanically exhaust the oxidation of gases to the outside whereas forcing the fresh air in. Blower assembly is factory installed, that’s why there is no other work needed except the installation of the venting pipes .

Installation tips while choosing power vent water heaters:

  • Use the power venting water heaters (PV) when replacing an old electric type or if there is no access to the chimney.
  • Use the PV when installing the water heater near the exterior wall.
    When the electrical power is provided (you can plug it into the electric wall outlet).

Note: whilst choosing the location for your hot water heater, take into consideration the inlet and exhaust vent system piping and combustion air supply requirements. Venting system must conform with local codes and be installed per manufacturer specification. It must be able to run from the water heater to the termination with a minimal length and the number of elbows.

Popular brands of the power vent water heaters

If you are looking for an energy efficient water heater that uses power vent and is coming from the well-known brands in Canada, here are the recommendations: Rheem, Trane, American, Standard, Payne, KeepRite, Goodman, Amana, Carrier, Lennox. For example we will cover one of the most popular - Rheem.

Rheem Power Vent

Professional Classic Plus series composes of the heavy duty power vent models with the 60 and 75-gal tank capacity that use the flexible venting with up to 100 feet vent pipes and new whisper quiet blower. Flexible venting includes PVC, ABS or CPVC vent pipe options with the vertical or horizontal termination.

40 and 50-gal models from Professional Classic Plus and Professional Classic series are Energy Star rated and have the same venting options as the above heavy duty models.

Professional Classic series also comes with the Ultra Low NOx type of heaters that are Energy Star compliant.
Performance series of 40 and 50-gal power vent models are Energy Star approved while high demanding unit of 75-gal is not because of the low energy factor. Venting options are the same as found on the above units.

Venting Options

The vent pipe of the power vent water heater can terminate horizontally through the exterioVr wall or vertically through the roof, with the corresponding support along its length.

In addition there are two venting options you should take into account for your water heater:

Single pipe system can be installed as the concentric system (two pipes in one) or as the one-pipe system that uses a discharge pipe while internal air, through the heater, gets into the gas chamber for combustion. While the internal air is used, designated room has to be provided with an access to bountiful air supply.

Water heaters with two separate venting pipes use one pipe to supply the air from the outside and the other to discharge products of combustion. They can run either horizontally or vertically.

If the pipes are run vertically, keep in mind to establish the elbow fittings at the end of the pipes to avert the rain or snow to enter. For horizontal termination, provide the slope downward, to prevent potential condensate that can affect the blower operation.

On condition that the water heater is installed in an unconfined space within the building, infiltrated air is frequently sufficient for proper gas combustion. In case it is installed in confined space provisions for the ventilation, air must be provided.

Note: If the power vent water heater has to be installed as a replacement for the existing power vented unit in pre-existing venting, the proper inspection has to be performed to provide that requirements are met.

Venting tips

The process of buying the venting kit from the manufacturer is carefree purchase, because they meet standards and safety requirements. However in some cases they can also be purchased from plumber suppliers. Use manufacturer guide and specifications to determine the BTU rating, model, venting lengths and other requirements so you can properly size the system.

Comparatively: plastic pipes cannot be used on tankless water heaters, only stainless steel, because of the acidic nature of the products of combustion.

PVC, ABS or CPVC pipes are recommended for tank-type storage tanks, and the most common sizes are 2", 3" and 4" in diameter, Schedule 40. Very flexible for installation, power vented gas heaters can be installed as far as 180' from the exterior wall and side by side with other furnaces or boilers.

When assembling the air inlet and vent outlet, both pipe diameters must be of the same size. This requirement applies for both 2" and 3" diameter pipes.

When power vent water heaters installed in the building, they cannot be connected to the chimney and share venting with other appliances as the important building depressurization will occur affecting the performance of all gas combustion appliances.

All venting materials and components must be joined with the approved primer-cleaner and solvent cement, but do not cement the vent pipe to the heater. Rubber coupling and gear clamps are supplied with the water heater to connect the vent to the blower. Such connections must be accurately sealed to prevent leakage of the products of combustion into the living area.


Correct installation of the vent pipe system is obligatory for the safe and effective operation. Including the unobstructed flow of combustion and ventilation air, power vent water heater will work properly for many years.