I just had a high efficiency gas furnace installed in my 1950s house and now my natural gas water heater is the only exhaust producer for my traditional flue tile chimney. I live in Maryland and my furnace installer said that while the current water heater is fine for now, when winter comes, I run a great risk of damaging my flue/chimney because the old furnace won't be there to heat up and drive moisture out. My current water heater is a 40 gallon unit and was installed in 1992 so it's time to get something new. I just don't know how to best spend the cash.
I have a few questions that I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on.
- I've been told that I need to move to a direct vent or power vent water heater or, if I stay with a traditional heater, install a very expensive flue liner ($500.00). Is this so? I hear the chimney flue opening will need to be elongated up the stack a few feet for the liner to enter the basement at a low angle avoiding a 90 degree bend. What a mess!
- I'm getting numbers in the amount of $700.00 for installation of a traditional water heater (without the flue liner cost added), or $1500.00 for full installation of a power vent heater. Does this sound in the right range?
- If I spend $1500 for purchase and installation of the power vent water heater, it really frustrates me that I'll need to spend another $1200-$1500 10 years from now to put in a new replacement water heater. Are there any 40 gallon long life water heaters out there that will allow me to get more for my money?
- I was told that purchase and installation of a good quality tankless heater will cost close to $3000.00 given the need to upgrade my 3/4" gas line to something larger. A 3/4" line currently feeds my 95000 input BTU furnace and my 32,000 input BTU water heater. Do I really need to upgrade this line?
- I have no basement floor drain and when the heater leaks, it really creates a mess. I hear there is hardware available to detect a leak and when this happens, a solenoid controlled valve shuts off the tank's water supply. Is there some sort of kit available for this or does my installer need to buy individual parts and piece it together?
Thanks for reading and for any comments you can provide!