Which are the best places to install a tankless water heater?
Manufacturers and users agree on one thing. The location of the tankless water heater affects its efficiency. Ideal locations ensure that water remains hot even during the coldest season. There is a direct correlation between the heater’s performance and where it is. For example, installing it closer to the demand source ensures that less water goes to waste.
Possible areas of installation
There are various options when it comes to where you will position the heater. Take time and assess the different places you can place it, as it means a lot to its performance.
The tankless water heater is small in size. Thus it can be put in small spaces such as under-stair storage areas, closets, in pantries or under the sink. Be careful to ensure that your water heater is convenient and safe in case future servicing.
A tankless water heater is for indoor installation only. In case you install it outside, get a suitable enclosure. This is to protect it from splashed water, rain, insects, direct sunlight and debris. Avoid installing it in locations that may subject it to freezing.
Frozen water inside your tankless water heater may cause severe and permanent damage. And most of the time it isn’t covered by the warranty. For a frozen water heater system, wait until it has thawed before turning it on and inspect leaks in the system. If you water has frozen inside your water heater contact the manufacturer.
Selecting the location
Choosing the best place for your water heater is quite tricky. Luckily, there are several options. Lack of proper planning may lead to irregular water temperatures. Poor flow of water, need for regular maintenance, or worse still, damage to the whole system.
It’s better to install the tankless water heater in the same location where the old heater was. Only a few changes are necessary. This way you will cut the installation costs. You will use the hot water line, and water and gas supplies that are already in place. Change the venting to accommodate the new tankless water heater if you’re to follow this idea.
Otherwise, consider the existing plumbing configuration. Your desired location should not demand significant alteration to the existing plumbing work. This is because relaying the entire system afresh may lead to unnecessary costs.
The site should be close to the main electrical panel. Keep it close to all the areas that need hot water including bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry area. When it’s near the points of use, the time taken by the hot water to travel from the heater to the fixture will reduce.
A dedicated gas line is also required. When the furnace and water heater are in the same room, you only need one gas line to supply the duo. But, this can create an issue whenever the 2 are operating. Even worse, the 2 units may not get enough gas if the supply line isn’t large enough. In most cases, the water heater always gives way to the furnace thereby depriving you of hot water supply. This can be a huge inconvenience.
To reduce these occurrences, consider following the manufacturer’s installation manual. You may also involve an experienced plumber if plumbing isn’t your thing. It pays in the long run. Always ensure that that the heater is accessible for maintenance.
You’ll enjoy greater flexibility during installation if your home is custom built. But slight renovations will also fit the bill if you bought your house.
As mentioned earlier, having the water heater placed where hot water is much needed is vital. For instance, for a home with two stories and a basement, the worst place to install the heater is in the basement. The best place to install the unit is on the second floor. This is assuming that your laundry room is in the basement or first floor.
Ensure that the heater or outlet water pipe doesn’t touch the combustible materials. Keep a distance of 24″ between the combustibles, the water heater, and the output hot water pipe.
Again, remember to be a law-abiding citizen. Install your tankless water heater according to your State or City’s local codes. If they’re none, at least follow the recent edition of the National Fuel Gas Code.
For safety reasons, the water heater should not be on air conditioning lines or under pipes that can drip. Also, don’t put the water heater above an electrical box. This could cause a fire in case of water leakage.
Tankless water heater requires a higher voltage power supply. As such, ensure you have large diameter gas supply lines.
Do not adjust manifold gas pressure as it’s computer controlled and is preset at the factory.
Ensure that children can’t reach the electrical sub-panel, outlet water pipes. This will prevent them from injuries or tampering with temperature controls. The outlet water pipe can get boiling at times, which may pose a danger to children.
Venting Features for Tankless Water Heater
There are 2 options when it comes to venting a tankless water heater; direct and power venting.
A Direct vent unit features an intake and exhaust vent since it pulls in the air outside the building. Place the power vent unit in an area with enough air quantity for combustion processes. Unlike the former model, this one requires the exhaust vent only.
The water heater’s structural design also has a bigger say on the venting options available for you. Depending on the model, you can vent through the sidewall or from the roof.
Tankless water heater built with condensing technology has lower costs of installation. These heaters have polypropylene or PVC exhaust vents, which translate to greater flexibility.
For your family’s safety, opt for a water heater with concentric vent design. A vent with this design has insulated intake and outtake pipes. Thus, the 2 pipes remain cool to the touch. To keep the home’s aesthetics, use pipe covers and creative termination points.