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Venting a High Efficiency Water Heater in a Pre-Existing Home

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Beverly in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you out today?

    BEVERLY: I was listening to your show and it was suggested to someone to look into the Rinnai water heater. And I am interested in Rinnai water heaters and tried previously to do that and was told that there would be a problem venting it in a pre-existing home. And I also will be needing to purchase a new heat system in the next year or so.

    TOM: OK. OK.

    BEVERLY: And so my question is, is there a way to make these new technologies happen in a pre-existing home? Are there new non-vent things or better ways of venting than they knew a few years ago? Because I’ve not looked into it in the last couple of years.

    TOM: Well, it sounds to me like you didn’t talk to the right guys because, I tell you what, it’s easier than ever to vent a high-efficiency furnace or a high-efficiency water heater because the vent pipes can be direct-vented, which means they don’t have to go into chimneys; they can go right through the exterior wall. So, I don’t know why you were told that it’s a problem to vent but it’s really not.

    BEVERLY: It’s not. See, I’m surprised because they said, “Oh, we had to go all the way through to the roof” and then I wind up buying, you know, giant, big, 50-gallon water heaters again.

    TOM: Well – yeah, well I mean you may have found yourself in a situation, Beverly, where you got a contractor that wanted to sell you a project to go in one direction and not the way that you wanted it to go.


    TOM: But it’s not hard to vent high-efficiency. It’s actually easier because it can go through the side wall of the house and out.

    BEVERLY: OK. And if your system is not at the end of the house, it’s more in the center of the basement, is that a problem or not?

    TOM: If it’s in the center of the basement, the pipes would have to go across the basement and then out. But you know what’s cool about high-efficiency is it takes so much heat out of the gases that what’s left can run through a plastic pipe.

    BEVERLY: Wow. OK, that’s great because I thought, “Gee, if she could do this, maybe I can, too.”

    TOM: Yeah. No, I think you can. I would talk to a couple of different contractors. I don’t think you’re getting the best advice there, Beverly.

    BEVERLY: Thank you. I’m glad to know that. I’m sure many other people are and I love your show.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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