While tankless water heaters are meant to save you space over tank-style water heaters, there are still some challenges of installing them. They need to be installed inside of your home’s walls and then vented outside. Or, do they have to be? Can a tankless water heater be installed outside? It would certainly save your plumber some hassle of running the exhaust outside and the hassle of repairing the drywall. Here’s what you need to know about this potential solution.
Can You Install Your Tankless Water Heater Outside?
With a few caveats, yes, you can install a tankless water heater outside. Manufacturers do design tankless water heaters that can be placed outside where they are somewhat exposed to the elements. It is important to choose one of these models that is intended for outdoor use, as indoor use water heater installed outside will be safety hazards.
You also need to have access to the right plumbing and enough of it on the outside of your home. Tankless water heaters work by heating up the water as it moves through the pipe. They need to wrap their heating element around a stretch of pipe to do this. If your outdoor water heater doesn’t have enough pipe to work with, you’ll need an indoor one instead. Your plumber can advise you as to whether your home is suitable for outdoor tankless water heater installation.
Advantages of Outdoor Installation
Outdoor installation helps you avoid much of the hassle of indoor installation. You don’t need to worry about ripping out a section of the drywall, running the gas line over to the unit or running the exhaust outside. The unit is more accessible on the outside of the building for its yearly maintenance. It may be a bit cheaper to get your tankless water heater installed outside, but that will depend on the particulars of your home.
Advantages of Indoor Installation
In some ways, indoor installation is a little simpler than outdoor. Outdoor installations need an enclosure to help protect the tank from the elements. Your plumber might also need to run electricity out to the exterior of the home to accommodate an electric water heater. On the other hand, most outdoor tankless water heaters are gas-powered, and gas should be accessible from the outside of your home already.
When you install a water heater inside your home, it is closer to the fixtures and appliances that use the hot water. That means it takes less time for hot water to reach you when you need it, and it will be hotter when it does. This can make your heater much more convenient.
An indoor tankless water heater is also better protected from the elements and other potential sources of damage, like animals and accidents. You will typically get a longer lifespan from indoor tankless water heaters, and they may have fewer maintenance concerns over their lifetime.
Are you set on getting an outdoor tankless water heater? Or not quite sure if you should commit? Your plumber can advise you.