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Q & A: Are there any Natural Gas Tankless Water Heaters that don’t require a Stainless Steel Exhaust?


Question by trentrockport: Are there any Natural Gas Tankless Water Heaters that don’t require a Stainless Steel Exhaust?
I need to replace my water heater and am considering a tankless model. My greatest concern is that they all require special all-stainless steel exhaust ventilation. Not only is this impractical for my installation environment, but it suggests that the appliance generates so much waste heat that it’s not so energy efficient after all. Are there any natural gas tankless water heaters that can use an existing galvanized steel exhaust vent?

Best answer:

Answer by Tim E
The only ones I know of are the outside versions. That’s what I went with when I bought mine. Unless you live in an extremely cold climate this can be a good option. I’ve had mine for years now with just a little heat strip wrapped around the piping that I plug in during the winter months to protect it against freezing up.

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2 Responses to Q & A: Are there any Natural Gas Tankless Water Heaters that don’t require a Stainless Steel Exhaust?

  1. Bruce A

    Actually, it’s because they are so efficient that you need stainless.
    Bear with me.
    All exhaust gases contain some amount of water and some acidic properties.
    Most exhaust gases are so hot that they will travel through a normal flue and not condense until they reach the outside.
    Exhaust gases from a tankless will condense on a flue pipe, depositing acid which will eat through galvanized steel. It will also eat concrete, mortar and brick, so you can’t send it up a chimney either.

    Of course, you can move the water heater to an exterior wall and vent it through the wall. That way, you only need a few pieces.
    Or get an outside (no venting required) model. I’ve seen them advertised as “good to -30deg. f.”.

  2. Bob L

    You may void the warranty by not using specified hardware.

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