What Is a Direct Vent Water Heater?

A direct vent Water heater is a special heater that works by burning propane fuel or natural gas to produce the heat needed to heat water. It’s, therefore, best suited for places where there is insufficient ventilation within the installation space of your home.

As compared to other heaters, it draws its air from outside. The excess heat and exhaust gases produced are then vented back outdoors. Besides using a special coaxial venting that separates chambers, its venting runs from the water heater through the side of your home.

To prevent any back-drafting within your home, it pulls and pushes air from outside. This is to help you minimize the safety risks when using installing a liquid or gas water heater. If you lack the skills consult a professional to help you with the installation process.

Difference between a Direct Vent and Power Vent Water Heater

While most people mistake direct vent water heater for power vent unit, this should not be the case. The fact that they both have the word vent does not mean they are the same. Here are some of the things that sets them apart

  • As compared to a power vent that draws air from inside your home, a direct vent draws its air from outside
  • A direct vent vents outs the exhaust gases vertically while a power vent exhausts the gases horizontally.
  • A direct vent water heater gets rid of the gases and fumes through metal venting while a power vent heater usually removes the gases through plastic pipe venting.

When You Need a Direct Vent Water heater

Unlike a power vent water heater, a direct vent heater works because of the properties of hot air. Due to this its gases will rise naturally. With that said, you can only use a direct vent heater if your house can comfortably accommodate it.

But if your place cannot accommodate it, choose a power vent water heater that blows and pushes the air horizontally. However, one thing you must know is that a power vent heater requires electricity.

How to Choose the Best Direct Vent Water Heater


Before settling on any, know where you want to install it. While some can be installed close to the wall, others must be installed further away from the wall. All these depend on the recommended pipe length.


Fitted with a sealed combustion chamber, a direct vent water heater is quite safe. Since it works with the outside fresh air, you must ensure you can access this.

Chimney Required

You can only buy a direct vent water heater if there is a chimney in the house. Given that it does not need electricity, you’ll get hot water even when there is no power in the house. They are also silent and safe hence can be installed anywhere provided there is an outside wall where they can draw from air.

Easy Installation

Apart from the steel pipes, direct vents can use CPVC, PVC, or even ABS pipes for economical and easy installation. You can install them either vertically or horizontally depending on the installation requirements.

What You Need To Install a Direct Vent Water Heater

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Direct venting kit
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Level
  • PVC tube cutter
  • Electric wire
  • Caulk gun


Direct vent power heaters are unique heaters that you can use when you have a chimney or vertical exhaust. As compared to the power vent water heaters they have lower installation and operations costs.

To provide you with a safe and efficient operation they must be installed professionally and as per the codes. The best part is that they will provide you with hot water with or without electricity.

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