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3 Types Of Gas Water Heaters For Your Home

Water heaters are powered in a number of different ways – by electricity, solar power, geothermal energy, and gas. Gas water heaters are some of the most commonly chosen, because they're easy to operate and because gas is a relatively affordable and accessible type of energy. What you may not realize is that choosing a gas hot water heater isn't the end of it – there are at least three different types of gas hot water heaters for you to choose from. Check out the details of atmospherically vented tanks, power vented tanks, and condensing tanks to learn which one is right for you.

The Atmospherically Vented Hot Water Heater

Atmospherically vented gas-powered hot water heaters are the kind that you're probably most familiar with. These are the large tanks with the metal flue attached to the top of the tank. They have a few significant advantages – they're relatively inexpensive and easy to install, and they work even during a power outage.

However, these tanks also come with a few drawbacks. A major drawback is their energy inefficiency. These tanks are between 54% and 62% efficient. That means that anything from 38% to 46% of the gas that you're paying for to power the tank is being wasted – it's going through the flue and out into the air. There are also safety concerns with this kind of venting. You run the risk of backdraft – the name for what occurs when gasses that are supposed to make their way up the flue and out into the air instead filter back into your home, affecting the air that you breath. As you might imagine, this is potentially a very dangerous situation.

The Power Vented Hot Water Heater

A power vented hot water heater is essentially an upgraded atmospherically vented hot water heater. They have plastic flues instead of metal flues. Instead of simply installing a flue and allowing the gasses that enter the flue to rise naturally, a power vented hot water heater has a fan installed that will pull the gasses up through the flue. This makes the hot water heater safer, by eliminating the possibility of backdraft. However, since the fan is powered by electricity, it does mean that your power vented hot water heater won't work during a power outage.

The power vented hot water heater is also more efficient than the atmospherically vented hot water heater. This is because the atmospherically vented heater relies on the gas in order to rise through the flue and out into the air. Because of the fan in the power vented heater, more heat can remain in the tank heating the water. A power vented hot water heaters still isn't the most efficient hot water heater, but it will help lower your gas bill if you're transitioning from an atmospherically vented hot water heater.

The Gas Condensing Hot Water Heater

The gas condensing hot water heater is the newest type of gas hot water heater on the market, and it's the one that comes with the highest upfront costs. However, these hot water heaters can still save you money in the long run. Many are made of stainless steel, and designed to outlast older models. Furthermore,  they're more efficient, making them cheaper to operate. Energy Star estimates that you can cut your gas bill as much as 30% if you're switching from a regular gas water heater to a as condensing water heater.

Gas condensing water heaters are more efficient because instead of releasing used gas into the atmosphere, the heater recycles and reuses them to continue heating your water. Not only is this a more energy efficient choice, it's a more environmentally friendly choice as well.

Which hot water heater is right for you depends on how much you're willing and able to pay for the initial purchase and installation costs, as well as how much energy efficiency you're looking for. If you've decided that a gas water heater is right for your home, talk to your HVAC contractor from a sites like about your needs, concerns, and limitations for help deciding which kind of gas water heater is the best choice for you.