Water heater venting is essential if your water heater burns any fossil fuels to produce heat. It is not however required with most electrical systems. Venting gas and oil fired water heaters is normally essential. If your house already has a chimney then there's a good chance that this will be used for the vents in your heating system however it's also possible to install separate vents if required.
Why Do I Need a Vent?
Whenever you burn anything fumes are produced, although you might not always see the fumes they do exist. With a smoke fire the fumes are contained in the smoke which is clearly visible.
The chimney was designed as a way to get rid of the smoke and fumes from coal fires and works very well.
Gas fired water heaters may not produce any visible smoke, however it will produce lots of fumes. If the fumes are allowed back into the room then this can create carbon monoxide which will be very dangerous.
Oil fired water heaters also require the same venting requirements to get rid of fumes because they can cause any harm to your room.
Do I Really Need a Vent?
It really is essential that you vent a gas fired or oil fired water heater then you will really need to vent it. Installing one of these water heaters without the vent will cause serious problems to your health.
The fumes from a gas water heater are similar to your car and you wouldn't want to breathe these fumes in anyway.
Types of Vent
There are actually a number of different types of vent which can be used to get rid of the fumes caused by hot water heaters. You must ensure that the right type of vent is installed for the type of heater you are fitting. Spend time choosing the vents depending on your buildings characteristics and whether or not you have a chimney.
Traditional water heaters used a traditional vent, this was where heaters got rid of waste fumes up a flue, this was basically a chimney. Fumes would rise up the chimney because they were hot, this worked well but was not overly efficient.
Many modern water heaters use a balanced flue or a power vent. This is where a motor forces the emissions from the water heater out through a pipe, this means that it can be vented out the side of a building rather than having to rely on the fact that hot fumes will rise. If you don't have a chimney then a power vent is normally much cheaper and easier to install.
A power vent makes it much easier for you to mount your water heater anywhere you want to. As long as the water heater is located on an external wall you will be able to easily fit it by drilling a vent hole out of the wall.