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What are water heaters choices that don't require chimney?

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Mike says:
October 27, 2010 at 4:49 pm
I have a wood framed “chimney” chase from which a prefab metal fireplace unit and its flue have been removed. The only thing remaining in the chase is the metal flue pipe serving my gas hot water heater. I would like to eliminate the hot water heater flue from the vertical chase, also.
Are my only choices:
  1. A tankless heater (which I planned to do until research uncovered too many negatives vs a conventional tank type);
  2. A new tank type with built-in power vent to allow horizontal venting; or
  3. Is there an add-on power vent that could be used with my existing tank unit?
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks
asked in Gas Water Heater by darekrudy (21,730 points)
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1 Answer

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Hi Mike,
All 3 of your choices plus and electric, solar, solar-gas, solar-electric, and geothermal water heater. Your existing natural draft water heater cannot be converted into a fan assisted / power vented unit, unless it was designed for such venting.
For that you’d have to ask its manufacturer. My approach would be to look at all those water heater options from the financial angle. If you’re planning to stay in this house for several more years and you can invest some cash into it, consider something that will save you energy in a long run. Check Energy Star guidelines for water heaters.
Electric water heater would be the cheapest solution (to install), power vent equipped gas – second, tankless, and everything else it’s over a $1000. Personally, I would go with tankless water heater, or some solar combo (if possible), but this might not work for you.
answered by darekrudy (21,730 points)


I have the same situation. We would like to remove the chimney to make the upstair bathroom bigger. The option (the only option) we chose was 2-pipe PVC water heater. My plumber said it can be installed in clawspace in our basement without making ahole on the wall. Total cost $2200.
Both my plumber and sales guy in local Homedepot didn’t suggested me to install tankless water heater because it inconsistent water temperture. Plue expensive.
My personal experience from traving to other countries (Europe and Asia where people use tankless water heater)is that tankless doesn’t supply you the water at consistent temperture.