Powered direct-vent gas water heater recommendations?
My water heater is on the last legs (just started to leak). The current unit is an atmospheric vented unit that is located in the basement. Based on Martin’s article (www.finehomebuilding.com/design/articles/the-water-heater-payoff.aspx) it appears that a power direct vent (sealed) or gas condensing is the best way to go for a basement location. Besides minimizing drafting and makeup air issues, I like that I can eliminate the vent to the roof.
While there is decent information on atmospheric and some power vented water heaters, information is sparse on the power direct-vent variety. My questions:
1) Any recommendation on brands/models? Any to stay away from?
2) Is it worthwhile to go to the condensing units? Prices seem to have come down since the original article (~1,500-2000). Are these more prone to failure?
3) When sizing a unit, is the first hour rating really the best way? Are there other factors I should consider (besides physical limitations)?
4) Is there a good way to calculate payback on these based on my own use?
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