Standard Vent (line chimney) vs Direct Vent

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by mjbardel, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. mjbardel

    mjbardel New Member

    Messages:
    3
    I’m in the process of replacing my 13 year old A. O. Smith hot water heater and I’m trying to decide if I should use a standard vent (line chimney) or direct vent model (non-power). The cost (purchase and installation) to go with the standard vent model and line the chimney is about the same vs the direct vent model.

    Is one type of installation better and/or preferred over the other? It seems to me that 10 or so years down the road, if I went with the standard vent model, I might have to replace the chimney liner also.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer. :)
  2. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

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    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    you should look into a tankless water heater
  3. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    That was kinda cocky, considering more than half the regulars would disagree with you. We don't even know where she lives, how big here house is, what size her gas service is - any of which might make that comment look pretty silly.

    MJ, I'm no plumbing pro, but some will be along to give their advice.

    FWIW, I think directs are more efficient, but regulars last longer. Don't take my word for it, though.
  4. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

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    Why not power vent it.More efficent than direct vent going through
    same wall.Also it is 120v check out Rheem
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2007
  5. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    I never said use a tankless just said
    thats all

    Everybody has there own opinion and if more than half the people on this site doesn't like tankless well that will not stop me from giving any advise, or making a suggestion.

    If you ask ten plumbers the same question you will get ten different answers.


    I may not be a Master but i am a pro. I don't try to know everything but the smart person takes the opinion of all there peers. Then makes a judgment based on all the facts.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2007
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    I'll let others that are more experienced with tankless deal with that subject! I have had very good results with my Rheem Power Vent and would recommend that as an excellent choice.
  7. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    There was nothing cocky in his statement, I install tankless frequently.
    Direct vents are NOT more efficient than draft vent, I dispelled that myth last year when a customer asked me and I discovered that they're both around 60-65% efficient, direct vents showed little or no increase in efficiency.
    Direct vents & powervents are gaining popularity because of safety concerns with co poisoning/deaths.
    a tankless is at least 80%, when it's running.
    I would consider it cocky if I were to hop into the remodeling forum on this site and start blasting my professional opinions on microlam. load bearing beams, or joist sizing for home building.

    "MJ, I'm no plumbing pro, but some will be along to give their advice. "
    FYI...he is, licensed et al.
  8. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Gary, if you like their powervent, you'd love their tankless.
    I've installed quite a few, their actually powervented as well, very consistent and come standard with ten year warranty.
    Pitfall, they're very expensive.
    About 3 times the price of a draft vent equivalent, close to twice the price of a powervent/directvent.
  9. mjbardel

    mjbardel New Member

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    3
    I appreciate everyone’s response so far and here’s some background info – I live in New Jersey and there are four of us in the house (two adults and two small children). I will also be replacing my gas furnace which will be direct vented.

    Tankless hot water heater – I love the idea of a tankless hot water heater and was all set to go that route. After some research several items discouraged me purchasing one. Cost!! In my area I received several quotes ranging from $3000 to $4500. The other item has to do with the tankless unit being able to perform during the winter months. I wasn’t convinced that during the winter when the temperature of the water coming into the house can be between 40 and 50 degrees that I would be able to get hot water for more then two faucets simultaneously. This conclusion came from taking with installers, and forums like this.

    So, it seems to me that it would be cost effective to go with the direct vent model based on the fact that I might have to replace both the hot water heater and the chimney liner in ten or so years down the road. That’s what I was thinking and why I posed the question if one type of installation was preferred over the other.
  10. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Actually, if you're replacing the furnace (did you mean boiler?) -
    Look into an indirect, IF it's a boiler.
    Indirects run directly off a boiler, like a regular heat zone.
    These are extremely efficient, rivalling a tankless in performance efficiency, but not as expensive.
    Often homeowners confuse "furnace" with Boiler, a furnace is a unit that heats air that is forced through the house via vents.
    A boiler uses baseboards that allow heated water to flow through them, if you have a forced hot air furnace, then an indirect is out.
  11. mjbardel

    mjbardel New Member

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    It a gas forced hot air furnace.
  12. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

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    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I would to clearify direct vents out the side of the house if there is no
    flue availible.Still the same as adraft w/h.Power vent uses pvc and more cost
    efficant.my opinion only.
  13. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Powervented heaters are intially several hundred dollars more for the stand alone heater.
    Then there's added labor if it's replacing a draft vent, to relocate the exhaust, possibly the gas line as well.
    Here's a brief comparison copied straight from AO Smiths website along with a link to the site.


    AOSmiths direct vented = model# GPD ----- capacity 40 - efficiency .59 - BTU 40,000
    AO Smiths standard vent = model# GCVH-40L capacity 40 - efficiency .59 - BTU 40,000
    http://www.hotwater.com/lit/spec/r-gas.html

    At 59% AO Smith isn't one of the better heaters, but I'm not up to bouncing around MFG sites to compare in depth.
  14. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    You'll find some installers afraid of new things, they then tend to sway you from them to not lose work, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, new can be scary...especially if the product is new on the market.
    There are numerous models, of the best I'd say Rheem/Paloma, Rinnai, Takagi.
    There are several sizes, anything thats under 5 GPM (gallons per minute) may fall short in winter months for two fixtures running simultaneously, a standard shower uses 2.5 gpm.
    Paloma/Rheem makes a 7.4 GPM That runs around $2500+ installed depending situation, Rinnai 9gpm thats likely the one you had priced at around 3K+.
    There's also a $300. tax credit on tankless units over 82% efficient (most of them), as well, my local gas co's offer a $300 cash rebate.
    Then there's the finale, the gas bill.
    The bulk of your bill is hot water when averaged annually, depending on family size and winter temperatures/heating bills, most tankless will claim a minimum 30% savings on the hot water bill, I've seen better.
    Lets say your bill for a family of 4 drops by say $10 a month.
    At a rate of $120 a year it becomes $1200 in ten, the minimum life expectancy for most tankless (10 year warranties are standard, some less, some offer limited lifetime).
    I offer tankless as an alternative, they're harder to install and I gain no more on them than any other heater as far as what I make vs my time.
    Most folks opt to stay with the tank type when they're hit with the initial cost, but the feedback has been very positive on those who have, I live in the cold northeast.
    There are other mentions of warranties being void with harder water, I haven't been able to find that in the warranties, but I could be wrong.
  15. Why make the change??

    Grumpy......please explain to me.....

    and I dont mean to sound cocky or uppitty


    I am wondering why someone would not spend the money
    for good standard 10 year water heater for about $750 installed

    What justifies doing a the tankless at $2500....$3500???

    How do you talk the people into doing it???
    Or are they just fallling at your feet begging you to install them
    a $3000 tankless heater??? Is the public just totally brainwashed???

    I can not see even doing a Power Vent for about $1500--1800

    if the chimmney is ok, and it vents perfectly,

    why in the world would someone want to change over to a power vent or a tankless.....??????

    their are no moving parts with the old reliable tank type,
    no power cords, no suction valves....no vaccuum tubes
    no loud fans, no heat exchangers or expensive circuit boards
    or stupid thermostats that can short out and cost you an arm and a leg......




    all that is on the tank type heater is

    just a puney, simple little thermocoupling and piolit light.
    that never bothered no-body...........


    quietly minding its own damn business ,
    doing its job for sometimes up to 30 years.....



    why does everyone want to re-invent the wheel
    at three times the price???
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  16. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

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    1,332
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I found a rheem 40 gal power vent $602 15.not includinginstall
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  17. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

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    1,332
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I dont know .MPM
  18. Rheem power vent for 600 bucks? not too bad

    Thats about right....and not too bad a
    price......


    and a 50 is only a few dollars more

    for the quality
    you wont find anything out there much cheaper than that..
  19. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Mark,
    As for the tankless, YUP you guessed it, the requests came to me.
    Usually when I mention the pro's & con's of tankless vs tank on a WH call they opt for regular tank types, mainly over price.
    I knew, without question you'd react to my mentioning the tankless, it's all good...your inputs valid and I want your "devils advocate" approach to this.
    But, I have installed quite a few just in the past few years and there is NO question they are gaining popularity, prolly over fuel costs rising so much.
    As for the cost justifying..I never pick the model, customer does..most often a Rheem/Paloma, which runs at the low to middle 2K range installed.
    (a little less than the averaged longterm cost to install two 6 year after gas savings, rebate & tax credit, then add the benefit of never running out of hot water)
    I agree on the cost issue, I think MFG's have always had a tendency to bleed us dry, then we wind up hearing things like : "Geesh, plumbers make great money!" when in fact it's the stock.
    A large family that depletes a 50 gal tank often will reap major savings, especially when you factor the tax credit and out local gas company's rebate.
    A retired couple that washes dishes every few days won't.
    Mark, the tankless I've done have not once been "solicited" by me, though I do mention them when it's not an emergency switch-out, the fact is they are a pain in da butt to install due to the 3/4" gas feed, and the vent, also inspectors tend to be more scrutinizing over them as they're so new (permits MUST be pulled for the gas co rebate).
    I know as much as I know about them, because I like to be able to state the facts to my customers I took the time to learn all I could, still am.
    Mark, when I decided to do my first tankless, I consciously knew that the calls were coming in for them more and more..I either try to sway them to get a tank type, or lose business to the next guy that would install one.
    Not one problem yet.
  20. still waiting on my new gas meter...

    Its all Hype and glitter,,,,
    I have turned down a number of them already

    most probably becasue I am a big pussey and dont
    want to find myself scrambling someday to fix one
    ....that I installed......


    the 2000- 3000 price tag does not seem
    to sway them either...

    their is a company selling the Nortiz 6.9 gallon unit
    in town for $3500....



    they are like lemmings all wanting to jump off
    the cliff while the frenzey is still churning






    well i am waiting on my trustey little gas meter to
    get a better idea on the saveings....


    I am now thinking of my criteria...
    but going to be switching to my original thread...
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