Spring is supposed to usher in warmer weather, but a receding winter won't make it easy. If you're thinking about buying an outdoor tankless water heater, chances are you're concerned about how it'll handle a sudden cold snap, let alone weeks or even months of sustained cold.
The following offers a few ways you can steel your outdoor tankless water heater against any sudden bout of chilly weather. These tips are also great to follow if you already own an outdoor tankless water heater and need a little extra protection.
Make Sure Yours Has Built-In Freeze Protection
When choosing your new water heater, make sure it offers built-in protection against freezing caused by sudden cold snaps and sustained cold weather. This protection usually consists of an electric heater that's built into the outdoor tankless unit. When activated, it offers enough heat to keep water from reaching its freezing point, thereby preventing blockages and other problems.
The only downside is that this built-in protection requires a constant power source, so a sudden blackout could leave you up a frozen creek without a paddle. Fortunately, you can avoid this issue by having a backup generator on hand to keep your outdoor tankless water heater going. You can also install a solenoid valve that automatically turns off and drains your water heater in the event of a power outage.
Don't Be Afraid to Go Big
Going for the biggest water heater money can buy isn't always the best answer, but keeping size in mind is important when finding an outdoor tankless water heater that can stand up to cold weather. During periods of cold weather, your water heater may not be able to produce as much hot water as it can during warmer periods. For instance, an outdoor tankless water heater that's capable of producing 8.5 gallons of hot water per minute may only produce two-thirds of that amount per minute in cold weather.
Shield Your Unit Against Cold Winds
Placement counts when it comes to installing your tankless water heating system outdoors. One important piece of advice to remember is to keep your unit away from direct winds. Outdoor temperatures may already be cold, but the added wind chill factor can easily turn your outdoor tankless water heater into an icy ornament.
You can protect your water heater against cold winds with these useful tactics:
- Install your outdoor tankless water heater on the side of your house that offers the most protection against the wind.
- If you're limited in where you can place your water heater, try building a wind break near the unit. Wooden fencing and strategically planted shrubbery make for excellent wind breaks.
Wrap Up Those Pipes
A little protection for your pipes can go a long way when it comes to shielding your water heater from cold snaps. You can start by wrapping your exterior supply pipes with fiberglass or polyethylene pipe wrap. The wrap should offer enough insulation to prevent the water within from freezing during a sudden cold snap.
For particularly harsh periods of cold weather, you can go even further by wrapping your pipes in electric heater cable. Unlike the passive insulation offered by the pipe wrap, an electric heater cable delivers warmth to your pipes, keeping them from freezing during those cold snaps.
Keep Those Faucets Running
Many plumbing experts encourage homeowners to crack open their faucets and allow a little water to trickle out. This is because running water is much harder to freeze than water that's sitting stagnant within a water pipe. This small measure of insurance can go a long way towards keeping your pipes and your outdoor hot water heater safe and sound during those sudden bouts of cold weather.
Visit a site like http://www.rbincorporated.com/ to learn more about water heater installation and maintenance.