Install a vent pipe for a power-vented water heater by gluing the appropriate-sized polyvinyl chloride pipe to connect the exhaust from the tank to the nearest outside wall. Install a vent cover over the pipe where it exits the wall. Provide pipe supports to hold the vent in place.
Installing a new water heater and vent requires a permit in some communities. Homeowners should check with local authorities before beginning any new work.
Power-vented water heaters are more economical to operate than atmospheric-vented units. The older style water heater has an open vent from the burner through the center of the tank and out a metal vent that exits through the roof. They waste up to 40 percent of the energy they consume. Power-vented models have a sealed combustion chamber for greater operating efficiency. This combustion chamber ensures near complete combustion of the fuel being used. Because the exhaust gases mix with fresh air, they are cooler and do not melt the PVC pipe vent. However, they require access to a power outlet to operate the fan.
Direct vent water heaters can also vent through the wall. These units are also highly efficient. The direct vent provides an air intake through a larger pipe that surrounds the outlet pipe. They do not consume room air, making them a better choice for areas where ventilation is a problem.