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pt756

power vent hot water heater?

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we are currently heatnig our shop floor with a 40  gallon power vent hot water heater, well the power vent part no longer works and its older so hard to get parts for it, are the power vents that much better than a conventional one? price is almost double of a conventional hot water heater, what we should have is a small boiler about 60 70 thousand btu,s I thnk at best the hot water heater probably puts ot around 30 thousand btu,s? thanks

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That’s what I have for my shop too, but haven’t got it hooked up yet... the wood heater has been doing the job, so I haven’t made it a priority.... hoping it works when I install it..

One advantage of the high efficiency power vent unit is you can exhaust out the side wall without a chimney ... if you already have a chimney that isn’t a cost consideration to factor in.. boilers would be ideal but pricey .. 

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If you go the boiler route try Toyotomi, or some of the others that are propane.  We install a lot of smaller heaters for floor heat. They usually sell a version that is intended for radiant applications 

Here we try to avoid power vent appliances if we can, they cost more and are more complicated, so in my opinion have a higher tendency to fail early. I assume your unit on/near a wall to be normally vented?  

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Around here the cheapesst  boiler/heater is a swimming pool heater, used they are cheap.  Most will be NG few run propane/butane.  My old farmer buddy picked one up at a garage sale.  I put it on Craigslist for a few weeks with no takers.  The heater had a very high BTU input on NG.  I always thought it would make a good pole barn heater BUT he was not interested. Most people around do not winter heat sheds or barns,  record low for this area is about +15F and that is transitional in a few 100 hours.  If I can find the selling pictures I will post in an edit.

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Nothing about a power vent is better than a gravity vent. They are easier to vent but not any more efficient. They do make high efficiency models but they are even more expensive. Big thing is the heating capacity. Get one with enough BTU’s to do the job. 

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the bearings went out on our hot water heater power vent

was able to find a new power vent on amazon for $ 200.00

the rest of the heater is fine so that's a cheap way out.

Mike

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A standard vent water heater is 40000 btus on either gas. They are built for each gas and not convertible. They are right at 80% eff. 

Power vents are the same, but a little mor eff.  You said you need 60-70k btus. You really need to do a heat load to know exactly what you need. In the heating world, bigger is NOT better. If truly you need that many, I would do a small heating boiler. It may cost more, but will be better in the long run

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my old neighbor built one - took a smaller semi fuel tank, stuffed it inside another larger fuel tank, creating open area for water to reside between the two - welded front back on, fabricated a door for a fire box, put on pipe fitting for water, filled with water to heat the floors of his shop. Uses some kind of a small pump to S L O W L Y circulate the water - he said that took him a bit to figure out the speed and he kept having to reduce flow - i cant remember but seems like he ended up using a pump with a flow like something you would use in a fish tank ? anyway he said it pulled such little juice he hooked up a lil solar panel and small lil windmill generator to charge the batter and ran it off a car battery. His shop is about 2400 sq ft with 10 ft ceilings. All open. he heated it with wood

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 we do vent it right out the side, the shop is 32 by 48 and if I remember right we rolled out 4 rolls of tubing each 300 feet, we also have a woodchuck furnace in the shop. there is usually is lot of stuff that can burned. plus we have about 50 acres of woods, the wood heat sure does feel good and with the floor heat doesn't take much to go from 50 to 70 degrees, and our motor on the power vent is bad. will look around. never did get the price of another power vent, rest of the heater is okay. thanks for replies

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You might try checking with a plumbing company. You may get lucky and find a heater with a good fan that was removed because it was leaking. Long shot probably I realize. I would think you could vent a gravity vent heater through the side wall with B vent if you are close. Check the input rating of your heater. Some power vent heaters are 75-80 k btu whereas gravity are usually around 40 k btu. You can order in gravity vent heaters with higher input ratings for space heating but that will no doubt add to the cost. 

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