Is a power-vent water heater right for me?

sneaky_peteMay 18, 2007

I'm having a home built and going as high efficiency as I can afford. My plumber makes his money on Bradford White products, so I selected the M1TW40S6FBN though-the-wall power-vent water heater (actually we'll have two of them), because it had the highest efficiency rating. I have plenty of room to vent the water heaters out the roof, again, I only selected this model for its efficiency rating.

But I wonder about it. I mean, if I have a power outage, I assume the thing shuts down and won't heat water at all, right? The power-vent by the way is just for the exhaust. Combustion air is still ducted in from outside. And what about the noise of that blower. I'm a light sleeper - do you think I'll hear that thing?

So I guess my question for any "experts" out there is - based on my application, do you think I've selected the right product, or should I just go with a less-expensive unit and atmospherically vent the exhaust out the roof, and not worry so much about the efficiency ratings?

Thanks for any thoughts,

Sneaky Pete

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I installed a Brad White power vent in my house a year ago after having researched the heck out of it. If maintained properly should last a very long time.

I'm not sure if it's the same model you listed, but mine draws combustion air from inside the house. You mighht want to confirm. I know Brad White was introducing a new power vent model this year so I could be wrong.

Mine is installed in my basement and unless I'm directly over the top of it, I cannot hear it. I wouldn't say it's silent, but certainly is not loud.

My 2c.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 11:50PM
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They're VERY loud IMHO. Totally NOT worth it for that feature alone. My cousin put one in for the garage apartment he did, and we stayed there for a couple of weeks. The heater was in a tiny laundry room space that didn't have the wall and access door put in yet, and the whole place has wood floors, but the bathroom and 1 bedroom were in between us and the heater. We could barely hold a conversation with the door closed while that thing was running. We had suggested a tankless gas fired for the application, as that is what we have and love, but he couldn't find anyone that'd give him a decent install price on it so he went "conventional". At least with a power vent tankless, you'd only hear it when someone was using the hot water. We were there for 2 weeks, and I never did get used to the sound of that thing kicking on in the middle of the night to keep the tank warm. Even in the daytime when you were up and around, it was startling. And,my cousin is kicking himself for installing it and not casting the net a little wider to find someone to do the tankless. What good is saving money when you have to use it to buy earplugs?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 3:29AM
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You could go with a direct vent model, eliminating the through the roof stack still, pulling all combustion air from outside, and not have the no power no water problem either.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 9:00AM
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I think it depends on how you look at the "long haul." Almost all of the energy saving devices use some kind of forced exhaust. Eventually this motor will fail. It might not be in a few years, but it will go bad. I would bet that the cost of a service call and the price of parts replacement will be more than double the savings that you hae made over the same period.
I guess I just like things simple....exhaust naturally through the roof needing no blower and for sewage, using gravity with no pumps.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 9:07AM
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Guys, thank you all for your valuable input. Truly, it's folks like you who take the time to respond who help folks like me whose skills are just not in this area. I am very grateful.

Anyway, I'm dumping the power vent model. I'm getting older and don't want to add any more noise to my life. Nor do I want another vent out the side of my brick. Nor do I want to lose hot water generation when we lose power which isn't terribly uncommon where I live. Nor do I want to pay the uplift and future repair costs - as you said, that will easily wipe out my energy savings. I'm going conventional plus it's a double insulated model - Brad White M-4-40T6FBN if you're interested. Again, thanks so much.

Sneaky Pete

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 12:17PM
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