Most of the time, we don't put much thought into where a water heater will be installed. Conventional tank-style water heaters are often installed in the corner of the basement or a closet, while tankless style water heaters can be installed in the same location as a tank water heater would be, or closer to the point of use. Are there any places a water heater can't be installed? Here we look at the considerations to keep in mind wheninstalling a water heater, and where you should avoid installing a water heater.
Too Far from a Fuel Supply
It's best to choose a location for your water heater that's near existing gas piping and an electrical outlet. Having to repipe or retrofit your gas or electricity supply to fuel your water heater can add a lot of expense to your water heater installation. It's important to identify the fuel sources needed for your water heater and ensure they are available. For example, even gas powered tankless water heaters require an electrical connection to power the computerized central unit.
Venting for a Gas Heater
Gas water heaters need sufficient space around them for combustion air, as well as venting for the by-products of combustion. Local codes usually specify these requirements, so it's important to be aware of them, mainly if you are installing a gas water heater for the first time, installing a larger tank than previously, or moving the water heater to a new location. An experienced plumber can help you install your water heater to ensure adequate combustion airspace and venting.
Not Too Close to Combustible Material
Local codes also specify how close water heaters can be installed to combustible material. Water heaters cannot be installed in small, tight areas, or up against flammable material as this represents a fire risk.
Not Too Far from The Outlet
If you install your water heater too far from the outlet or the appliance you're using hot water from, your hot water may not stay 'hot,' and the efficiency of your water heater will be diminished. This can also be a result of uninsulated pipes or tanks that lose heat before the hot water gets to your faucets. Try to choose an installation location that's not too far from hot water outlets. Tankless water heaters particularly can benefit from being installed closer to appliances and outlets.
Exposure to Elements
You don't want to install your water heater in a place it will be exposed to the elements or potential damage. If your water heater is taking up too much space indoors, you can install it outdoors in a shed or protective enclosure, provided there is adequate ventilation space, and the distance from a combustible material is observed.
When it comes to locations for installing your water heater, there are more and less ideal positions, as well as locations that are downright dangerous. Check with local codes or a professional plumber for expert advice and assistance in installing your water heater.