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Water Heater Replacement: Gas Power Vent or Energy Efficient Electric?

8 years ago

We are removing our chimney for a kitchen remodel and need to replace the existing water heater, since it currently vents out the chimney. (We have a gas water heater.) The water heater is to be installed in a currently unfinished basement with ten foot ceilings. We have had two plumbers out to scout out the situation and have been told that we cannot install a direct vent because of the height of our ceilings and the limited pre-manufactured piping those heaters come with. So we have been told that we have two options:

-Install a Power vent water heater. The two models floated to us were a Bradford White 50 gallon (which the brand gets terrible reviews on and a Rheem RTgh 84Dvln or Navien NPE 180A (which both had an installation cost of over $3000). My concern with this type of water heater is that it might be loud. We live in a 100 year old house and you can hear everything.

-Install an energy efficient electric, probably with a 50 gallon tank over tankless. A third plumber preferred to do this over the gas power vents, though did not specify why he preferred electric to gas. While the overall install might be somewhat cheaper, we would have to have an electrician come out to install a line, and it would cause our monthly energy bill to increase, probably roughly $50 a month, whereas the gas bill would probably decrease only $6. (We live in the PNW)

Here are my questions: Are the power vents loud? Of these two options, what have you installed and been happy with? We would like to upgrade for energy efficiency, and are willing to spend the money to do so, but do not want a product that's going to last a shorter length of time (that's what we were told when we upgraded to a 98% efficient gas furnace; it cost more and our HVAC guy said it would last prob 10 years).

Thank you much for any advice you can give me...