Can Tankless Water Heaters Be Installed Outside?
Yes - there are outdoor tankless water heater units that are made to withstand the elements BUT - it is recommended that electric tankless water heaters be provided with some form of shelter. Gas powered tankless water heaters that are placed outdoors do not require any form of protective shelter.
Indoor vs Outdoor Tankless Water Heaters
There are a few differences between indoor and outdoor units:
- Both indoor and outdoor units function basically the same way.
- Indoor tankless water heaters need to be vented.
- Outdoor tankless water heaters do not need to be vented.
- Although outdoor units are made to withstand the elements (including freezing temperatures) but you do need to take extra precautions such as draining the unit during freezing weather.
You can discuss these differences and their costs with your plumber.
Tankless units are a wonderful replacement for your water heater. You can save money in the long run so if you plan to stay in your home for 20 plus years, then this option will pay for itself. And because tankless units heat the water on demand, there's no excess energy spent on heating water that's waiting for you to use it making it energy efficient.
Where Should A Tankless Water Heater Be Installed?
Outdoor tankless units are generally installed on the side of your house - your plumber will be able to work with you on the best location.
...when installing an outdoor tankless water heater the unit should not be installed within four feet below or to the side, and one foot above, any door or operable window that can be opened. This is to prevent carbon monoxide from entering into the living space. - HomeInspectionInsider.com
Do Outdoor Tankless Water Heaters Freeze?
Here in Georgia, we do get freezing weather now and then. It's not as consistent as it is in our neighbors to the north but certainly if you live in the northern mountain areas of Georgia, you will see more freezing temperatures then those living in the southern part of the state.
Know that the majority of outdoor tankless water heater units have built in protection against freezing weather. But the most vulnerable part of an outdoor tankless unit is NOT the unit itself - it's the piping. So if you want to be extra cautious in caring for your outdoor water heater we would recommend to insulate the pipes attached to your tankless unit.
How Do You Insulate An Outside Tankless Water Heater?
Since the plumbing pipes are the most vulnerable part of your outdoor tankless water heater - you will want to protect those as much as possible.
The solution we recommend is pipe insulation which you may already have on some of your indoor pipes in your garage (which is normally not as insulated as the rest of your home).
These look like large hallowed out pool noodles and there are several different variations. Your plumber will help you to choose the best pipe insulation product for your situation.
If you have any questions about tankless water heaters, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.