As of April 2013, all water heaters installed in new homes throughout Kansas City need to be power vent models. The power vent water heater cost about twice as much as a standard energy saver water heater.
The code change was part of an initiative to save energy. A power vent water heater requires a 4″ diameter vent and a traditional water heater only requires a 3″ vent. This can create a problems when trying to upgrade your existing water heater for a power vent water heater. You should make sure that you have a licensed plumber come out to verify that your flue is big enough to support the large flue.
A power vent water heater does have it’s advantages. This is what we recommend for anybody that is considering a tankless water heater in an effort to become more energy efficient. You should be able to make up the additional cost of a power vent water heater within the first 3-4 years of the purchase.