Hot water heater decision; AO "prosumer" Vertex 100?

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I will be doing some work in the laundry/heater room shortly, including installing a new natural gas hot water heater.
At one time I had no problem doing my own plumbing "sweats", but, for now I think I will call a real plumber. I have some additional work that needs done, and a *real* plumber would be oh so helpful.
I am in Willow Grove PA in case someone who is reading this wants to volunteer! (give me to spring to move some stuff out of that room prior to)
The question I have is when upgrading my 40 gallon unit, I came across this $2000 96% efficient hot water heater by AO Smith called the Vertex 100. Sure it's pricey, but it looks like it could almost take the place of my baseboard heater unit by some of the advertising I have seen on it.
A couple of questions, specifically.
Are the "guts" of this unit significantly different than a standard hot water heater (we're talking gas here, not electric)? I think so, but, I don't know.
The chimney on the unit today is a 3" stack going into an 8-10" chimney also serving the purpose of venting the baseboard hot water heater, or, err, heater. One guy I called, locally, told me that Vertex would have to vent to an outside wall. Period. Huh?
And lastly, I made the part up about it replacing my heater-heater, but it does say that it can run some radiant heating systems as well as provide all the hot water I need. Anyone care to state real world results?
And, getting back to the original question; hot water heaters come in "residential" and "commercial" but I am having a dickens of a time trying to figure out --- besides warranty and price --- what makes them different.
Thanks again...
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The exhaust temp is to cold to go up a chimney since its a condensing unit. I have a condensing AO Cyclone I think 90 gal 180000 btu. I found online for maybe 500$ cheaper in Kentucky at 1800$. My old AO lasted maybe 25 years commercial use, they are well made to last. The efficency number is not overall efficency, EF rating is, thats Energy Factor and AO doesnt like to give that out since it may be around 82-85. For that money you can look at a Takagi TH1 that is 94-96 EF. Using a water heater for heating is alot more work on it, you can get a boiler of up to a real 98% at under 140f from Canada but baseboard usualy needs higher temps so at 180f some boilers go to down to about 90% efficent. Before you think HW tank to heat the home first look at what the boiler is heating the water to right now on these cold days, if you need 180 to be warm forget tankless and a tank, you are stuck with a boiler. For domestic HW you have alot of choises. Compre EF ratings at www.energystar.gov You will be suprised maybe 95% of Ng tanks are only 55-65% efficent.
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Nor do I. By "guts", if you mean the tank itself, I doubt it is much different. The burner certainly is.

For a chimney to work properly you need a minimum temperature for the outgoing exhaust. YYou can get rain inside the chimney. Condensing units are not hot enough, thus the need for the direct vent. This is usually just a PVC pipe. It probably has a fresh air intake for combustion air also, instead of burning your already heated air from inside the house.

Do you now have hot water heat? If so, consider an indirect fired water heater. They are very efficient and well insulated and supply plenty of water. I've only had mine about 3 weeks now, but I'm convinced it is far superior to most other standard systems. At least check it out to see how cost effective it is compared to a new stand alone.

I can only guess that it may have some heavier materials and duty cycle but that is just a guess.
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Yeah, hot water heat and hot water via NG hot water heater. They sit right next to each other. As for the "indirect fired water heater", I'm led to believe that is just a storage tank for hot water. If that's the case, and I think they aren't much different in cost than one that actually *heats* the water, I'll take the all-in-one.
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Heat and hw by a water heater tank, that is the least efficent set up you can get, you are likely 55-65% putting 45cents of every dollar up the chimney, Boiler minimums are 82% and go to 98, with many 96% models. Tankless start at 82 and go to 94% or so. A tank to heat a home is not the best idea unless you live in south florida
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It's one of those "it all depends" deals. If you have a relatively new and efficient heating boiler and put in a 96% water heater, you are in good shape. If you have an older boiler that has to be replaced or a tankless coil that is very inefficient, there is considerable savings to be had.
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Useful reply of the day:
Why would you want to heat HOT water? It's already hot, so it shouldn't need heating.
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Knew it'd happen sooner or later :-)
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Because, in the case of a tank, we like to keep it hot, and otherwise it would cool off.
Wayne
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Theres a TV Show deconstruction that just had a episode detailing how the vertex is designed,, amazing technology flue out temp under 110 degrees normal tank and tankless hundreds of degrees
Vertex must have power line voltage, in a power outage mo more water will get heated. its a limitation
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If you want the best, go for a stainless steel commercial water heater, a couple of manufacturers make them, but be prepared for a shock when you hear the price. The Vertex 100, model GDHE-50 is also sold as a commercial water heater as model BTX-100 with a few changes, shorter warranty and the ability to heat water hotter.
I am planning on ordering a GDHE-50 tomorrow, as they have just been released in Canada. I have found that most contractors don't know anything about them and/or only want to install what they have on hand, so I am ordering it direct from a plumbing supply house and arranging for a licensed gas fitter to connect the gas. I can handle the copper plumbing and the PVC vent. Note for any Canadians installing PVC vents for water heaters or furnaces, you cannot use regular ABS, PVC or CPVC pipe. It must be certified to ULC S636 standards. This vent pipe is available in some Home Depots in the Toronto area.

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I am in Canada, so prices will be different and most commonly they will be higher than US prices even when taking in account the difference in exchange between the two currencies.
I got prices from two large plumbing supply houses. One was $2420.00 CDN and the other was about $90.00 CDN more. All prices are plus sales taxes totaling 13%.
I want to get rid of the rental atmospheric vented unit with a pilot light that I have now. At 14 years old it must be ready to start leaking because as a retired gas company employee, I know they purchased them real cheap. I have had a high efficiency gas furnace for the past 25 years and it really sips the gas. I hope to reduce the gas consumption and monthly rental payments, as I hate giving a chunk of my pension money back to the gas company. After it was bought out, it is not the same caring company any more.

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<snip>

I just re-read that.
Not quite sure exactly what that means but here in the "states" we have something called "public utilities". They are regulated by elected officials and traded on public stock exchanges.
Education and healthcare which polite society should offer at a token cost of their real value, is way over priced.
Energy is just expensive.
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Where can I get a AO SmithVertex GDHE-50-100 hot water heater in Canada?
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On Sat, 31 Jan 2009 05:05:00 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@telus.net wrote:

Uhmmm, do you guys have phone books in Canada? How about a Yellow Pages directory? You obviously have the internet I see. How hard can it be? I can actually send you one if you would like. Shipping and Customs duties and taxes might be a bitch though. Bubba
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He asked for help, not a Bubbaass response, which is just insulting crap.
Alrem.. I bought a US $ 2400.00 Cyclone by shopping online and calling, I saved 600$
Is Bubba an ass, poll says 98% yes....He Haw
Is Bubba impolite, poll says 98% yes
Is Bubba rude , poll says 98% yes
Is Bubba informed poll says ?
Is Bubba a pro poll says ?
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On Sat, 31 Jan 2009 22:06:57 -0800 (PST), ransley

..and is ransley just a chattering mindless windbag of shit? Poll says 100% without a doubt, YES! Bubba
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lotta anger there bubba. it can be a poisen. word to the wise.
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