Power Vent water heater questions...

Just had a new furnace installed and now looking at replacing the water heater so I can eliminate the need for a chimney.
Current water heater is 50 US gal flue/chimney vent type. It's only 9 years old. It's rented at $14 a month. No idea what the efficiency factor is.
Possible replacement is a 40 US gal power vent, rental, for $22 dollars a month or a 50 US gal for $23 a month. Efficiency factor I'm told is .67
Government of Canada may pay me $190 to seal up my chimney as it a big source of drafting but will not pay me to convert to power vent heater. The only other reason to replace the water heater is to pick a more suitable place where it does not have to rely on chimney location. Water heater is presently in an annoying position.
Because my small town has very hard water, I'm keen to rent only and not buy. Current family size is 2 adults plus baby with one dishwasher load a day so a 40 US gallon might just suit our needs until babies become teenagers
So if the rental cost is increased 8 bucks a month for me, what sort of efficiency gains can I expect from a power vented water heater. Is there any way to calculate if I can make back some of that 8 bucks a month if we don't change hot water usage habits? Or is the only gain getting $190 back for sealing up an unused chimney?
Rental terms are 7 years so that is an 8 dollar a month increase over 84 months.
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Assuming you have a gas, something to consider is that your existing HW heater does not rely on electricity. This is a big plus in case you have a power outage. If you get a power vent, now you are dependant on the electric.
I have been hit with power outages a few occasions, most noteably when Hurricane Irene hit and left my block with no power for 5 days.But at least we had hot water.
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.

I'm near Toronto and the three most common causes of electricy loss are Freezing rain Summer blackouts from lack of electrical supply and a car.truck hitting an electrical pole on the hiway.
We have a gas stove that can be lit and fuction without electricty if the need for hot water should arise. We do lose power from time to time, maybe 3 times a year here.
So yes I have considred the loss of electricty as a factor in deciding if I should power vent however can can heat water on a gas stove if need be.
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Forgot to mention that these are natural gas water storage tank water heaters, not electric.
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14 x 84 = $1176.

22 x 84 = $1848

8 x 84 = $672
A direct vent can be bought for about $850US. If you have it installed, maybe another $200 sot that eats up the rebate.
I'm amazed that you are worried about the cost saving and payback, yet you piss away a thousand dollars by renting. If you water has rock in it, it will probably outlast the 7 year rental costs and you put 1000 bucks in your pocket. Use that money to buy a water softener if that is your concern.
I'm thinking that I should install your heater and let you rent from me. Great profit to be had!
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Very mind boggling!!!!!!
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The Henchman wrote:

Rent? A water heater? That's crazy talk!
$22 x 12 = $264. One year's rental pays for a new water heater - or pretty close!
Two year's rental pays for a water heater AND a service contract.
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For the bucks the OP is spending he could buy a Vertex high efficency tank and have it installed. efficeny in the 90% range plus endless hot water
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On 1/14/2012 11:09 PM, The Henchman wrote:

$22 x 12 x 7 = $1848 = one expensive hot water heater, hard water or no. What is the advantage here?
John
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How hard is your water, how long do neighbors heaters last, renting as I see It Is a waste of money. You present tank may be 45-50 EF but now you add the Cost of running a fan. Buying a tankless or condensing tank for the money you will Waste renting would save . I don't know if you will save anything now, does the EF rating Include electricity, and at what cost per kwh?
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I just went through a similar evaluation when I replaced my furnace with a high efficiency one and was left with an orphaned water heater on a chimney sized for the old furnace plus the water heater. I looked at the cost/efficiency tradeoffs and came to conclusion that what made the most sense was to just add a 4" chimney liner for the existing water heater. I picked up an aluminum one for about $100.
I'd question how much draft air is being wasted if you install a liner. When my water heater isn't fired up, I have no draft that you can feel with your hand at the hood. Some air is probably moving up, but it's also located in an unheated basement. If yours is located in living space, then I guess it becomes more important. But by gettting rid of the old furnace, you've already greatly reduced the airflow up that chimney. With just a water heater it's going to be moving a fraction of the air.
You would save some money by the power vent being more efficient, but IMO with typical usage and gas prices, it isn't going to make up $8 a month. You can get some feel for the savings by looking at the annual energy usage numbers for conventional vs power vent.
Unless water heaters fail in 4 years with your water, renting seems like a very bad idea and will cost you a lot more than any energy differences. In 4 years, you've spent $1000 which is in the ballpark for a power vent water heater. Less if you can install it yourself.
Another factor with power vent is that they make noise from the blower and it can be annoying depending on where it's located. And they have more parts to fail.
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On Sun, 15 Jan 2012 05:25:52 -0800 (PST), ransley

DON'T waste your money on a tankless. Cost more to buy. May need larger gas supply Maintenance, particularly in hard water areas in ONEROUS. and they don't last. I know plumbers who will install them, but will NEVER recommend or sell one. They've gotten better over the years, you say??? It'll take a LONG time before they are good enough to be worth the trouble.
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On 1/14/2012 11:09 PM, The Henchman wrote:

I would think that electricity would be relatively cheap in your area. Why not buy an electric water heater and a water softener, and save the rest of your water using appliances and your pipes.
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Ontario hydro and cheap in the same sentance???? Nope. But a water softener could be a great investment.
Near HogTown - hard water - What small town???
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count on any large savings.
$22 per month is $1848 over the 7 year life of the lease. That will install at least 2 GOOD power vented water heaters - and your rental is already 9 years old - so renting a gas water heater doesn't make ANY sense. Electric water heaters are more sensitive to hard water, so might make more sense to rent - but only cost half as much - so the case for renting THEM isn't very solid either.
Basically the only gain you can count on for changing to a power vent heater is the grant you'll get for sealing the chimney.
Your cost, with a rental heater, to get that $190 is $672..
I've done the math. You make the decision.
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