Condensing water heater - Considering an HTP Phoenix

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opto_isolator

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My present water heater is installed in my garage, and the closest drain is a water softener drain that is located about 25 feet away. I am researching a replacement water heater for my existing one that is going on 7 years, and has never been serviced. Its a power vent 50 gallon 44k BTU and I am considering replacing with either an HTP Phoenix, or Westinghouse equivalent, since I have a water softener.

I have some questions I am hoping someone can help with:

  • I'm concered about how to drain this thing, as well as the requirement to drain to an actual drain, or if it can be drained outside? The water softener drain is located on the block wall (not on the floor), meaning I would probably need to install some sort of condensate pump if I'm required to drain into an actual drain. Not sure what the code would be on this. I am located in central FL.
  • I see that Home Depot sells the Westinghouse equivalent of HTP - these seem like fairly complicated devices to install / setup. From what I read on HD's web site they require tuning? Who would I hire to install and tune this thing? Would I be able to hire any licensed plumber to install this thing?? I've also seen folks mention an HVAC person? I contacted a local HTP sales agent / installer - but I am concerned there will be a signifcant markup if I go that route vs getting from HD and paying a contractor to install.
Thanks
 

Reach4

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I'm concered about how to drain this thing, as well as the requirement to drain to an actual drain, or if it can be drained outside? The water softener drain is located on the block wall (not on the floor), meaning I would probably need to install some sort of condensate pump if I'm required to drain into an actual drain. Not sure what the code would be on this. I am located in central FL.
The drain water would be acidic, so you could drain onto your rock garden, but the plants right around it would not like it. You could dig a hole, fill with rock, and put water there. That will limit the flow of the water to nearby plants. I have no help for bullet #2.
 

opto_isolator

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I could install a neutralizer - I imagine that should take care of that issue. From what I can see reading the FL building code, there doesn't seem to be any requirement in chapter 28 regarding condensate drain (unless it's covered under a different section). How much condensate do these things actually put out? Its it similar to my AC units?
 

Phog

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The amount of condensate is proportional to the amount of water heating output -- so it will be different for different houses, different incoming water temperatures etc. (The same as how your AC condensate will depend on the humidity outside, how much your windows leak, the air volume of your house etc). The water heater condensate will be on the same order of magnitude as your AC, very very roughly. But could be anywhere between 1/4x to 2x. In your climate I'd guess the AC will produce more condensate, but that's just a guess.
 
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Reach4

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I could install a neutralizer - I imagine that should take care of that issue.
Or you could have a little area that does not grow plants. In Florida, that could be an architectural feature.
 
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