Best direct vent water heater for residential homes

Ted Curley
Journeymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in...Read more

Ted Curley
Journeymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in...Read more

In modern days, running out of hot water is never an option. A big variety of different appliances are available on the market to ensure that hot water runs from the tap any time of the day. It is now even possible to not only buy a water heater but rent one. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to purchase or rent a device, it is important to select the one, which is suitable for installation at your particular home. It is quite easy to get lost among the myriad of offers but choosing a water heater that can be safely installed in your building is essential for the comfort of your family.

How to choose the best direct vent water heater? Is it difficult to install it? Does maintenance require a lot of effort? In our article, we will try to answer these and many other questions that worry a person who plans to have a direct vent water heater in his house.

General information  

When a direct vent heater is working, water gets warmed up as it’s being used. Although tankless units are often considered to be instantaneous, it still takes several seconds for the water to reach faucets. After that, hot water flows constantly at the temperature that you’ve chosen. Many models can offer an option of using a recirculation pump, which will ensure that you have hot water instantly.

The purpose of direct vent water heater 

Direct vent water heaters are meant to provide hot water in different types of houses (both new and old buildings), including mobile homes. Such units have a lot of advantages, that's why this type of heater is on the favorites list of many buyers. Direct vent is less noisy compared to other systems and many customers cite this as the reason why they’ve chosen this particular kind of water heater.

Different venting types

When you decide to purchase a heater, you need to consider that there are four main venting types such as a direct vent, atmospheric, power vent and power-direct vent. Which type you need to choose depends on your needs, the location of the heater and installation requirements. Obviously, local building codes for safe venting must be considered regardless of the type of fuel that may be used.

How it works?  

The unit takes combustion air in from outside and then vents exhaust gases directly back outside through a separate vent duct. Optionally, combustion gasses can be vented outdoors through a separate chamber of the same pipe and this will require a double-wall vent duct. The effect of backdrafting doesn’t occur and the risk of accidental fires caused by flammable vapors concentrated around the water heater gets reduced to a minimum.

A.O. Smith Vertex GDHE-50-NG Residential Natural Gas Water Heater


Vertex 100 power direct vent 50 gallon gas water heater has 96 per cent efficiency and is meant to supply hot water continuously thanks to its advanced and fully condensing design. A constant flow of more than 4 gallons per minute can be easily delivered by the internal heat exchanger with 100,000 BTU input. Electronic controls are also advanced and include large LCD, which shows precise temperature and diagnostics data. The burner and fan are quiet enough to wonder whether the unit is actually on. A full 50 gal tank of cold water can heat up to about 100 degrees in less than 15 minutes. Special attention needs to be paid at condensate drainage since quite a lot of it may get produced by this heater.

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Venting goes outside through the side of the building and steaming water from the pipe can create mildew on the surfaces close to the pipe. Therefore, the installation is pretty much straightforward but needs to be done by a professional to avoid any issues in the future.


We found the performance of the Vertex water heater to be satisfactory since it does its job to supply enough hot water for domestic use. Simultaneous multiple showers together with working dishwasher or other household items are not a big deal for the unit.

Rheem RTGH-95DVLN 9.5 GPM Indoor Direct Vent Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater


All Rheem products are designed with the aim to exceed all possible reliability and quality standards, which are quite strict especially if it concerns safety.

This direct vent tankless natural gas water heater can boast with its thermal efficiency of up to 96 percent together with low flow fixture compatibility, which ensures that the hot water is supplied even in the very demanding situations. The condensing heat exchanger is made of stainless steel, which is a winning feature for such models like this. In order to increase safety and energy efficiency, advanced electronic controls were incorporated into the unit.

The heater is designed with a built-in condensate neutralizer and has such a unique feature as “Maintenance Notice Setting Alerts”. A warning signal will flash whenever the system detects some sort of failure so that you could call for service before it’s too late. Maintenance codes and temperature levels are shown on the digital display.


Rheem Direct Vent Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater is a high-efficiency unit with built-in recirculation. The variety of extra functions and features is impressive so it can be truly called one of the best direct vent tankless natural gas water heaters available on the market nowadays. Rheem is a great brand with an excellent reputation and those who already used any electrical devices made by this company can confirm that the purchase is worth it.

Rinnai V75IN Indoor Low NOx Tankless Water Heater


Here is another great example of a high-efficiency interior unit that has many convenience features, which make installation, maintenance, and usage very easy and enjoyable. Rinnai direct vent tankless water heater can offer 82 percent thermal efficiency and comes with error code indicator.

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If you decide to take two showers simultaneously, the tank will ensure that you get a steady flow of the warm water at a stable and consistent temperature. Washing hands and running washing machine or dishwasher at the same time will not cause any change in water temp.

It is a high-tech machine, which will require careful regular maintenance. The water heater looks sleek and the temperature adjustments are easy to use.


According to multiple reviews from many happy customers, after the water heater correctly installed, it works really well and can be pretty much trouble free.

A.O. Smith GPVL-50 ProMax Power Vent Gas Water Heater


The ProMax has a good reputation for offering a wide variety of effective water-heating solutions for residential homes. Majority of their products can be installed almost anywhere in the building because they are designed in such way that they may vent up to 40 feet.

A.O. Smith direct vent water heater also positions itself on the market as a quality product, which does its job as expected. Its electronic gas control is state-of-the-art and allows more precise temperature control. Many users don’t like the standing pilot because of its unreliability. Here we have a hot-surface igniter, which is considered to be more trustworthy. In order to minimize cold areas of the water, Dynaclean II dip tube is used to optimize the water pressure in the tank. More flexibility is brought by the unique 3-position rotatable blower outlet. Design of the power vent is also exclusive since because of it the venting pipes can be installed both vertically and horizontally. In addition to this, the pipe may use different materials so they can be ideal even in buildings with limited space.

As an additional feature, A.O. Smith direct vent water heater has thick 2-inch foam insulation that minimizes the heat loss. It adds to overall performance in terms of energy efficiency and appears to be environmentally-friendly.


A.O. Smith direct vent hot water heater seems to be a really viable option available on the current market due to the number of its impressive features combined in one unit. The system is advanced and the design of the heater is aimed at protecting the environment while really providing efficient service in accordance with the intentions of the designers.

Tips and Hacks 

Tip #1 

Be prepared to conduct thorough preliminary research. The final decision regarding which water heater to choose is important for every homeowner. Not every heating unit can bring the desired result of lowering energy consumption, decreasing utility expenses and simply enjoying the convenience of having hot water running from the taps whenever you need it. Obviously, you can change the heater that you didn’t like after using it for some time but it’s better to buy the most suitable one from the first time to avoid extra costs.

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Tip #2 

Think of some esthetically pleasing pipe covers since the functionality is the first and foremost factor but creative termination points can make a lot of difference.

Tip #3 

You are welcome to try installing the high-efficiency gas water heater direct vent by yourself since the majority of companies provide full-proof instructions on how to correctly install the unit. Check out gas supply lines and plan out your water lines thoroughly as well. However, it is always better to contact a professional who can safely do all the work for the peace of your mind. It might not be cheap but it will be worth it.

Direct vent water heater FAQ 

What is a direct vent water heater? 

The direct vent water heater is a specific type of electric appliances that makes water warmed up by the heat of fuel combustion.

What is a difference between a direct vent and a power water heater? 

There are several factors that make one heater be unlike the other. The main difference though is that the power vent water heater gets rid of combustion gases from the atmosphere via a powered venting fan when a direct vent water heater removes gases into the atmosphere using an exhaust pipe.

How to install a direct vent water heater? 

Depending on a model, the process of installation may vary. The majority of products can be installed by yourself since many manufacturers provide straightforward instructions on how to get the heater working safely. Nevertheless, we recommend getting a reputable plumber to do all necessary works for you.


Direct vent water heaters can be really helpful when you want to have a reliable source of hot water in your home. Buying the best water heater requires some research and knowledge but once you’ve chosen the item that suits you best, you will realize how good it feels to have no more worries about long showers.

Ted CurleyJourneymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in various roles. Let me take you through my journey and my passion for electricity and space heaters. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at

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