Power vent water heater and power loss??

cindywhitallAugust 5, 2012

I will be getting a power vent water heater soon. I understand that means I won't have hot water in the case of a power failure. Will I at least be able to use the hot water that is in the tank when the power fails and how long will it stay hot? (it's a nat gas. .63 eff Bradford White). Yes, I have to get power vent due to getting professional air sealing being done.

What could be done to enable me to have hot water if I did lose power for an extended period? How much would it cost?

I probably wouldn't stay in the house once it started to get really cold. Hopefully I'd be able to go somewhere else....but in the event of an ice storm or something it would be nice to have hot water and my fireplace to get us through.

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Sophie Wheeler

Get a generator that can handle the vent and a refrigerator and a TV. Have in wired in correctly. In the event of a power outage you can now have hot water, hot coffee, and even microwave popcorn while you pop in a DVD.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 4:58PM
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One of the reasons I stuck with my flued heater. I also have a gas fp that doesn't require power...not that we get many outages here.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 4:22PM
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You can continue to use the water in the tank (unless you are on a well and the pump quits working). How long you have hot water depends on the size of the tank and the rate you use it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:42PM
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Weed, thanks, that's one good thing. I wonder how much of a generator I'd need to heat up a tank....maybe some kind of battery backup?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Your tank is gas. A generator to run just the exhaust would be pretty small. What Holly suggested is better, a generator capable of running your fridge, freezer, maybe your furnace blower (if you have gas backup to that HP you were talking about) and some lights.

I've seen some 8kw units at Lowes/HD for less than US$1000. But you would still need to have some electrical work done for installing an outlet and subpanel.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:11PM
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" What Holly suggested is better"

And better is very often the enemy of 'good enough.'

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 12:20PM
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That's 1000 I'd rather not spend. Never in my life have I needed a generator, never had the power out long enough to throw away food. However, my brother lived in KY when an ice storm took them down for 5 days. He lives here in NJ now, but he has a generator. Hopefully if we get a bad power loss it won't be from ice and I can just go to his house!

I was looking for something cheap and easy....like maybe hooking up a spare car battery or something. I have to look into what kind of battery options are available. Any idea how long it would have to run to heat up a tankful??

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 4:51PM
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I found out I can get a Generac brand 5000W unit for about 525 (plus tax). Hubby reminded me he would be able to take it tailgating! I found out there are interlock devices where it is wired in to the breaker box but for less money than a separate panel. I have to ask my electrician friend about that. It sounds cool. I think the 5000w would be all I need to be comfortable as I think it can run the furnace as well. We'd just have to be conscious of what we were running at one time and not overload it.

Does anybody know if these power vent hwh are usually hard wired to the breakers, or if they plug into an outlet? (which I believe would have to be wired separately.)Since it's a new install I'd think I could go either way if installer was willing.

I never considered getting one until people pointed out the power loss issue with the water. That doesn't concern me THAT much, but it did get me thinking...

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 2:28PM
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