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Chrome atmospheric water heater vent and copper plumbing pipes

What Is an Atmospheric Water Heater: Advantages and Disadvantages

What is an atmospheric water heater and what exactly makes it distinctive from other types of water heaters? Hint: it’s primarily the ventilation system. 

What Is an Atmospheric Water Heater

An atmospheric water heater is one of the most common gas water heaters. They’re popular among homeowners thanks to their energy efficiency, cost savings, and environmental benefits. If your home runs on natural gas, watch the video below or read more to help determine if you should get an atmospheric water heater.

Let’s explore what an atmospheric water heater vent system is, its advantages, and its disadvantages. 

Atmospheric Water Heater Vents

What is an atmospheric water heater vent, and how does it work? An atmospheric water heater differs from other gas-powered heaters because of its venting mechanism. Other water heater venting configurations include:

  • Concentric vents
  • Direct vents
  • Power vents
  • Power direct vents 

Atmospheric water heater vents use natural air circulation to vent exhaust gasses efficiently and intake fresh air needed to burn the fuel that heats your water. When the fuel burns and heats up, hot gases (made primarily of carbon dioxide and water vapor) are pushed out through an upper draft pipe. Fresh air is then naturally drawn into the heater from the outside. 

what is an atmospheric water heater and what makes it atmospheric? Hint - it's the vent.

Benefits of an Atmospheric Water Heater Vent

The advantages of atmospheric water heater vents include:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Money saved on utility bills
  • Quiet operation
  • Electricity is not required

The main benefit of having an atmospheric water heater is its energy efficiency, saving you money on utility bills over time compared with traditional electric-powered systems. Atmospheric water heaters are also much quieter than other heaters since they don’t rely on motors or pumps for operation and require less maintenance. Finally, atmospheric water heaters don’t require electricity to operate. That means your hot water will still work if the electricity goes out.  

Disadvantages of Atmospheric Water Heater Vents

Like all gas water heaters, if something goes wrong with the venting system, gas can leak into your home. This can be extremely dangerous. To reduce the risk of a gas leak, install a carbon monoxide monitor near your atmospheric water heater. Additionally, if your water heater is confined, you can leave the doors open for increased ventilation.


With many water heater options available, it can be difficult to decide which is best for you and your family. We hope this article has helped explain what an atmospheric water heater vent is and why you might consider installing one in your home. If you have questions about whether this system is right for your home, call Heil Plumbing. Our experts can help answer any questions you might have.

Looking for other water heater services from a professional plumber? Contact Heil Plumbing to schedule an appointment with a trustworthy plumber in Baltimore or the surrounding area.  Live closer to D.C.?  Trust our Montgomery County plumbers to do quality work you can rely on.

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