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Pros and Cons of Power Vent Water Heaters

Compared to direct vent systems, Power vent water heaters can be located anywhere, reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and increase energy savings.

The term power vent is used to describe the way your water heater exhausts harmful combustion gases from your home. The two most popular venting configurations are power vent and direct vent. If you’re looking for a new water heater, understanding the difference between these water heater types is essential to finding the water heater that’s right for your home. In some homes, depending on the location of the water heater, a power vent may be the only option. Power vent water heaters are more expensive than direct vent units, but also come with several benefits. Now let’s learn about the two types of water heater vents and the pros and cons of a power vented system.

power vent water heaters

Direct Vent Water Heaters

With a direct vent system, the water heater draws air from the atmosphere outside your home. Then, the combustion gases and excess heat are exhausted through the vertical vents that lead directly to the home’s chimney. This type of water heater is typically seen in older homes.

Power Vent Water Heaters

On the other hand, a power vent water heater is vented horizontally and exhausts through a horizontal pipe that leads out the side of your home. The fan that blows the exhaust gases through the horizontal pipe requires additional power from a source separate from your water heater. A power vented unit can be a gas water heater with an electrically powered power vent.

Before upgrading to a new power vent water heater, you should know that in Ontario, TSSA regulations require that all Black ABS venting for high efficiency equipment needs to be upgraded to White PVC venting to prevent any carbon monoxide leakages. This means that if your old venting is behind the ceiling or walls, they would need to be demolished for the old venting to come out and for the new one to be installed.

Pros and Cons of Power Vent Water Heaters


  • They can be installed anywhere. Because they don’t require chimney access, a simple horizontal vent can be placed anywhere to exhaust gases from the heating process.
  • They provide an added layer of safety. Since a power vent water heater removes the potential for backdraft, they greatly reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • They save on energy. Power vent water heaters require less gas to operate and are more energy efficient.


  • They’re more expensive. Power vent units are 50-75% more expensive than direct vent water heaters. You should also consider the additional expense of the electricity to run the fan and additional piping that may be required. Power vent water heaters also typically have a shorter warranty.
  • They’re noisier. With the added noise of the fan operation, power vent water heaters are a bit noisier than their direct vent counterparts. This may not be an issue depending on where the water heater is located.
  • They need electricity. Power vent water heaters use a fan that needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet. This isn’t a problem if you have a nearby outlet, but if not, you will need to have an outlet installed. A power vent heater won’t work during a power outage as the system won’t be able to vent its gases without electricity.

If you’re unsure whether a power vent water heater is right for your home, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance from our team of water heater experts. If you’ve decided that a power vent water heater is right for you, it’s important that it is installed by a licensed and trained professional. Our goal at DeMark Home Ontario is to make upgrading to a new water heater as simple and convenient as possible. We offer a free installation done by our highly trained and experienced technicians. You’re saving more when you rent your water heater from DeMark Home Ontario. Our customers get the lowest rental rates on the market for top-of-the-line equipment with professional and reliable service.

Give us a call at 1 (855) 998-2998 or fill out our online request form and we will be happy to assist you.

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Notice for Power Vent Water Heater Customers

Effective August 2007, gas code requires technicians working on venting to replace black ABS vent pipe with white UL-certified vent pipe.

We will upgrade your venting pipes at no additional cost.

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