Tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular among campers and homes. The advantages of owning this type of small design unit are that they save space and improve energy efficiency.
However, one problem has always confused most buyers — which unit will best meet your needs? We do our best to outline the difference when it comes to indoor vs outdoor tankless water heaters.
In this article, we’ll outline the benefits and drawbacks of indoor and outdoor tankless water heaters, that way you can decide which is best for you. Let’s get started!
Indoor Tankless Water Heaters
Indoor tankless systems are set up similarly to tank-based systems. Only the absence of a storage tank stands out. These systems are often mounted along a wall in a location that enables proper system venting.
Most often, indoor tankless systems work best in newly built homes. This is because compared to being added on afterward, you can specify venting guidelines during the home’s design phase itself.
An indoor water heater can reduce the risk of freezing damage if you reside in an area that regularly suffers freezing temperatures throughout the winter. When in use, tankless water heaters can produce significant amounts of condensation.
When the unit has sufficient drainage, an indoor installation decreases the possibility of water damage to the home.
Additionally, indoor systems are shielded from the dangers of adverse weather, such as high wind events that could cause impact damage to outdoor systems. What’s more, indoor units have built-in freeze protection like outdoor units, making them winter-ready.
The anti-freeze system shields the water heater from Winter temperatures between -5 and -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pros of Indoor Tankless Water Heaters
If you intend to place your tankless water heater indoors, consider its advantages and disadvantages. This will offer you a clear understanding of all of the aspects behind installing your water heater indoors. The pros include:
Increases the Resale Value
The resale value of your house will skyrocket. If you’re selling a property, the indoor tankless water heater installation will tick off an important box on an estate agent’s list. You’ll benefit from increased appraisal values. Yes, you sacrifice space by placing your tankless water heater indoors, but you also significantly boost your home’s resale value.
Excellent for New Construction
An indoor heater should be your first choice if you’re building a new house. If you choose a gas water heater, you won’t need to make any adjustments when setting up the venting and gas lines. You benefit from a lower chance of water heater damage, cheaper energy expenses, and possibly higher resale value.
Perfect for Cold or Windy Climates
An indoor tankless water heater is the best option if you live in a region commonly undergoing minus temperatures. Your heater will keep your water warm throughout the Winter season, and you won’t have to worry about weather-related damage.
There’s no need to perform other upkeep to protect your heater. Similarly, an indoor heater would be more suitable if you reside in a region with brisk winds or salt air.
Cons of Indoor Tankless Water Heaters
While there are obvious advantages to installing a tankless water heater indoors, there are also drawbacks to be aware of. Here are some disadvantages of installing an indoor tankless water heater:
They’re Quite Loud
Some indoor tankless water heaters can be incredibly loud. Both electric and gas water heaters generate noise while heating the water, but the issue with gas heaters is more intense.
If you’re a light sleeper, it’ll be challenging to sleep when someone is taking a bath, particularly if you’re next to the water heater. Some families may have a problem with this.
Gas tankless heaters tend to produce a lot of condensation when heating water. You may also notice water droplets dropping down because of condensation — not a leak. They require a good drainage system to prevent water damage to the interior of your home.
This includes setting up a condensate drain and diverting it to a utility sink or a floor drain.
Leaks are always a concern. While it’s unlikely if you installed your heater perfectly or paid an expert to do it for you, it’s always a possibility. This can result in significant property damage, mainly if you reside in a flat. Be highly cautious — it won’t do any harm to check your water heater once every morning.
Outdoor Tankless Water Heater
An outdoor water heater is placed outside of a building and is built to endure harsh weather, such as rainfall, snow, and strong winds.
Of course, if you reside in an area where the temp drops below freezing, you should take the appropriate protection to control freeze damage, like with any other piece of machinery. For example, frequently draining an outdoor device can prevent the unit from freezing.
An outdoor water heater like the Rheem low NOx can endure much stress with the proper protection. Usually, this protection also covers air vents and water pipes. These vents must be clean to facilitate good air passage. The only problem you can run into with these heaters is that the electric units can be vulnerable to Winter damage when there is a prolonged power outage.
An outdoor tankless system may be the best option if you’re switching from a tank-style water heater, since they don’t require additional venting. Installation is typically simpler and less expensive.
Pros of Outdoor Tankless Water Heater
Having learned all about indoor tankless water heaters, let’s look at their outdoor counterparts. Here are some benefits of installing an outdoor type heater:
If you want to install a tankless water heater outside, the good news is that it’s simple, even for a gas heater. Because of the shorter, outside venting, you do not need to change your home’s structure. Additionally, you’ll save money by not having to install a ventilation system.
Keep in mind that things outside can still fail since they’re prone to Earth’s elements.
Installing outdoor water heaters can be a significant space saver. You have plenty of room on your land, and you could probably put it behind your garden to keep it out of mind and out of sight.
Bear in mind that it’s ideal for placing an outdoor water heater near the hot water-using appliances, like outside the bathroom. The hot water will take a few seconds to get through the pipe if the heater is installed far from the heater.
Have a Long Lifespan
When outdoor tankless heaters feature all of the necessary measures against the cold, rain, wind, and Sun, they last exactly as long as indoor models. Since enclosures are made of aluminum, they’re fully rust-proof. Additionally, every part of the water heater is made to withstand the elements, so you won’t have to worry about your outdoor water heater breaking down any sooner than an indoor installation.
Cons of Outdoor Tankless Water Heaters
We’ll now look at a few concerns that tag along with outdoor tankless water heaters:
The biggest drawback of outdoor tankless water heaters is that they require freeze protection for heat exchange if they’re exposed to freezing weather. Since they’re electrically powered, freeze protection systems could need a separate power source from the heater. This increases the heater’s energy costs.
To put it another way, the money you save on installation fees can be used towards weatherproofing expenses.
Vandalism and Theft
If you reside in a region that’s susceptible to theft, an outside tankless water heater may not be right for you. Such units include copper wiring, and anyone could easily remove any mountings using a few tools. If you can, keep them hidden or behind fences.
Indoor vs Outdoor Tankless Water Heater: Which One to Choose?
Should you invest in an indoor or outdoor model? Well, the answer here is pretty straightforward. You should probably get an indoor model if you reside somewhere that gets relatively cold, like below zero-degree temps in the winter. Consider getting an outdoor heater if you live in a warm region where storms or ocean wind are rare. Some outdoor units are stronger and endure weather conditions than indoor ones but require more upkeep.
Since both outdoor and indoor water heaters are incredibly energy efficient, they’re almost a no-brainer over conventional heaters. If you reside in a secure region and can make a few adjustments to fit the unit, you should get an outdoor unit — installing an outdoor tankless water heater is less expensive, quicker, and simpler. An indoor water heater should be your first choice if you’re in a location where vandalism or severe weather is a possibility.
Hopefully, we’ve given you everything you need to understand the differences between indoor vs outdoor tankless water heaters. The climate you reside in is ultimately the key consideration when deciding between indoor and outdoor tankless water heaters.
Indoor units are ideal for cold, windy climates with winter temperatures below freezing. However, if freezes are rare where you live, you can enjoy all the benefits of an outdoor tankless water heater!
Ventilation is the next factor after climate. Outdoor tankless systems are preferable for families who don’t want to install vents, while indoor tankless systems are appropriate for families whose ventilation may be customized.