Attn plumbers, electricians, etc

Bought a house last year built in 2002. Water heater stopped working a couple months later. Turned out to be just an easy fix. (Clogged hose on the fan unit)
Which brings me to my dilemma.
Never seen a unit like this before.
Brand is "Bradford White" (Natural gas)
It has a recirculating fan on top of the unit to cool the vented air.
Reason is this unit uses PVC flu pipe to vent out the soffit of the house.
(Unit is located in garage, and there is a bonus room above)
Problem is. No one around here stocks these types of water heaters. Lowes and Home Depot said they could order them but would be up to 2 weeks from the time it gets ordered, until it can be installed.
Definitely don't want to be out of hot water for 2 weeks.
I've replaced water heaters before. It's pretty straightforward. Problem is the having to order, and wait.
Keep in mind Unit is 13 years old, and could go at any time.
Options I've come up with are run 220 to it and be ready to switch to electric water heater. (No flu necessary)
Problem is breaker panel looks pretty full already, and we are wanting to add a hot tub or pool.
Or move the unit, gas line, etc to the utility room downstairs, once it goes out, replace it with a regular gas unit, and tap into the furnace flu.
Any other ideas? Phone Post 3.0

Can you change the unit to a standard gas unit and replace the vent piping ? Phone Post 3.0

Oh nm just reread.. Phone Post 3.0

What you have is called a "power Vent" water heater. In many states it is illegal to sell one to a regular person (meaning non-contractor). Call a professional plumber.

If its vented with an inducer motor I would install a tankless. (Navien) and call it a day. Pay a HVAC company to do it, these waters heaters cost a bit more. But they last double the time, uses less fuel and youll never run out of hot water Phone Post 3.0

You could also try the tankless route

Electric tankless water heaters @220v use a lot of amperage .. Specially If you are trying to heat the whole house and not just one bathroom . What size is your electrical service ? 100amp ? 200amp ? Phone Post 3.0

Don't do electric tankless, do gas and hook up to the existing PVC flue pipe.

Have 5 bathrooms, and 3 kids still living at home.  200 Amp service.

The issue here is down time when it does go out.  Any normal water heater can be replaced that day by a homeowner, or in a day or 2 by any plumber.  Not this one if it takes 1 week or 2 to order it.

It was my understanding that a gas tankless still requires a metal flu pipe which is not possible in its present location. Electirc taknless is not an option for me no way it could keep up with demand.

no you can get a tankless that requires PVC pipe.

DiscoNfrno -


Have 5 bathrooms, and 3 kids still living at home.  200 Amp service.



The issue here is down time when it does go out.  Any normal water heater can be replaced that day by a homeowner, or in a day or 2 by any plumber.  Not this one if it takes 1 week or 2 to order it.



It was my understanding that a gas tankless still requires a metal flu pipe which is not possible in its present location. Electirc taknless is not an option for me no way it could keep up with demand.

Ya .. For a straight electric wAter heater to supply that big of a house .. You would be pushing 175-250amps lol .. And that's a small one .. Unless you have 3 phase at your property ? Which I doubt :) Phone Post 3.0

Also .. A lot of gas tankless water heaters I see installed have a 3"-4" pvc flu pipe on them .. No metal .. But I'm in Cali so maybe not available in your area ?? Phone Post 3.0

Ok, will check out tankless with PVC.  Thank you.

 

Rock the Gaspare - If its vented with an inducer motor I would install a tankless. (Navien) and call it a day. Pay a HVAC company to do it, these waters heaters cost a bit more. But they last double the time, uses less fuel and youll never run out of hot water Phone Post 3.0
This. Especially with a big house and lots of kids it will pay for it's self time and again. Phone Post 3.0