I am replacing a gas fueled power vent water heater that has reached the end of its useful life. The water heater is located in the garage adjacent to an outside wall. The current heater vents directly out through this wall. Can I replace this water heater with a conventional gas fueled water heater (without the power vent) and keep the direct through the wall exhaust? If so, are there any special code requirements for the exhaust?
Only water heaters with power vents can vent sideways, (90 degrees). All other water heaters need to vent the combustible air at a minimum upward incline, never more than 45 degree maximum.
So check out the venting angle and make sure it complies with the proper plumbing code I outlined. Sometimes the installer, if indeed you are using one, will not be aware of this important fact and will install your water heater and set up the vent at the improper angle assuming that if it was good for one and would be just fine for the other. I am hoping that your existing water heater vent is set at a venting angle that will accommodate your new water heater set up. If not, then you will need to give some careful thought on how you wish to comply with the recommended venting angle. It may not take too much of an adjustment to get the proper angle. Since you are working within the garage wall and if the garage is unfinished, meaning that their is not sheet rock on the interior of the wall, then the construction set up to achieve what you want should not be too difficult. Now if any of this is causing you heartburn, then return the water heater and purchase one with a powered vent that is compatible with the earlier model you utilized as that could potentially save you time, money, and headaches.