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Everything You Need to Know About Outdoor Water Heaters

Water heaters are essential for every household, and without them, you cannot probably run your daily household activities. Your hot water needs may not be restricted only to the colder months but all season long.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

And that is why you should know how to take care of the water heater to function best throughout the year.

There are so many questions with little to zero answers when it comes to purchasing a water heater:

Can a water heater be installed outside?

Do outdoor tankless water heaters freeze?

How do I keep my outdoor water heater from freezing?

What are tankless heaters best for outdoor use?

In this article, we have answered a few common questions that customers usually ask about water heaters.

We have discussed the applications of portable tankless outdoor water heaters that meet your hot water requirements outdoors.

These days, tankless water heaters are preferred to be installed outdoors and function well even in a colder climate. The tankless water heaters are also portable and do not take up considerable space, unlike tank-style water heaters.

If you are looking to wash your dishes and clothes with warm water, read on to know more about outdoor water heaters.

Different Types of Water Heaters

Types of Water Heaters

There are different kinds of water heaters to choose from, whether for your business or home.

We will share a few of the most common water heaters.

Conventional Storage Water Heater

It is a type of water, which most customers are usually familiar with as it is most common. From the name, you are sure to understand that the water heater comes with a tank that holds on water and ensures to keep it warm till it is utilized.

The tank’s capacity determines the quantity of water available for use.

Tankless Water Heater or On-Demand Water Heater

Irrespective of traditional water heaters, on-demand or tankless water heaters do not use any tank. Instead, they instantly heat the water based on your use. Usually, they are smaller and highly efficient.

Heater Pump Heater or Hybrid Water Heater

This water heater style is unique. It utilizes heat from the air and the ground for heating the water. It does not use electricity to heat the water. Instead, it uses electricity to move heat from the ground or air to water. Thus, it is a cost-saving technique.

Solar Infused Water Heater

As suggested by the name, a solar water heater entirely depends on the sun’s power for heating the water. Such heaters need solar panels that generally get mounted on the roof and generate energy to heat the water.

Outdoor Heater vs Indoor Heater

Outdoor Heater vs Indoor Heater

When purchasing a heater, ensure to scrutinize your requirements before moving on to an outdoor heater or indoor heater’s final decision.

Ensure to pay attention to which choice would be in your favor: an indoor heater or outdoor heater. An indoor heater is best suited to be kept indoors, while an outdoor heater can simply be placed outside.

You should install an indoor water heater if your home is under construction. On the contrary, if your home is already constructed & recently becoming aware of your requirement for another heater, opting for an outdoor heater would be a prudent choice for you.

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Generally, a water heater, whether an outdoor heater or an indoor heater, can last nearly 10 to 15 years. The lifespan of tankless water heaters is approx. 20 years. It is based on proper maintenance of the heater, how heavily the water heater is utilized, and various other factors.

Signs Of A Failing Hot Water Heater

Like any home appliance, there stand chances of water heaters failing even. Those who can identify the signs can resolve the issue early before getting bigger.

We are listing a few common problems with water heaters & the signs that your water heater might be failing.

  • Your heater is over 10 years old.
  • You continuously get lukewarm or cold water from the shower and faucets.
  • Your heater creates odd noises, generally a rumbling sound.
  • Your water heater has developed a foul smell, color, or funny taste in the water.
  • Constant leakage of water around the heater.

While these might not point towards a problem with water heaters, however, getting your heater checked first better than moving on to any other appliance.

Mostly, if you detect a problem early, you most possibly can get it repaired at a lower cost than getting it replaced with a new one.

Cost Of Water Heaters

Cost of Water Heater

The cost depends on the water heater size, the water heater type, and various other factors.

Generally, a conventional water heater can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000.

Tankless water heaters, usually outdoor water heaters, can cost nearly $2000 to $4500. While that is a lot of expense charged upfront, its longevity helps beat its high cost.

Maintain Water Heaters

Maintaining a water heater is very easy. Get the heater cleaned nearly one to two times every year to eliminate mineral and sediment deposits. Doing so helps prevent corrosion & also extends the life of a water heater, whether indoor or outdoor heater.

When getting the water heater cleaned, inspect for leaks, damage, and various other issues to know whether it is good.

FAQs About Water Heater Users

Can A Water Heater Be Installed Outside?

Yes, as we discussed above, you can get your water heater installed outside (see also ‘Can Water Heaters Be Installed Outside?‘) in certain instances. Note that gas and electric water heaters are specifically not designed for outdoor installation, thus installing such water heaters indoors.

However, if you get a shelter constructed outside, you may consider installing such heaters outdoors.

On the other hand, gas tankless water heaters are specifically designed for exterior use and installed outside. Also, electric tankless heaters can be installed outdoors. However, some sheltering is required to protect the heater unit from harsh weather conditions.

To further elaborate on this, should water heaters be installed outdoor depends on 2 major factors: water heater type and climate.

Do Outdoor Tankless Water Heaters Freeze?


While a tankless water heater comes with certain restrictions, it functions well in winters. Tankless water heaters are 100% effective during winters as they use condensers to preheat the water.

Hence, it does not take pretty long for water to reach the warm water flow’s predetermined temperature. Usually, at a rate of nearly 1.6 gallons every minute, water reaches the set temperature.

Note that initially, it might flow with reduced pressure as an outdoor water heater takes time to heat the water. But ensure the water would surely be as warm as desired by you.

In contrast to a specific belief, the outdoor water heater’s warm water temperature is not restricted by the outside temperature.

Most even have this question: are water heaters highly effective in wintertime, despite the water temperature before entering the warm heater’s heating system?

The answer is Yes. However, the outdoor water heater can freeze if few specific precautions are avoided when the temperature falls below a particular level.

How Do I Keep My Outdoor Water Heater from Freezing?

Most outdoor and indoor water heaters consist of inbuilt freeze protection against the temporary cold winter temperatures that range anywhere between -5-degree Fahrenheit and -22-degree Fahrenheit.

Note that the protection fails to withstand if the temperature goes below the set freezing protection temperature. Please follow these specific steps to prevent the water from freezing in the outdoor water heater.

  • To start the process, winterize your water heater.
  • Firstly, turn off the unit and unplug the power source.
  • Next, turn off the water supply & drain out all water from the heater.
  • Lower the water pressure, then disconnect water pipes from the water heater.
  • Ensure to cover the vent termination for the exhaust and intake to keep the debris out.

After this, install a dual or concentric vent system facing the vent pipe away from the wind not to freeze. Install drain pipes in locations not subject to freezing, like inside the wall.

Allow sufficient combustion air for the gas-powered electric appliance to prevent the negative draft from water freezing in a tankless system. You can also utilize a backdraft reduction as this closes the backdraft flapper.

Lastly, you can continuously run a little stream of warm water to prevent it from freezing. Following the steps mentioned above can keep your outdoor water heater working effectively throughout winter, irrespective of the freezing temperature prevalent outside.

You might not require doing much if the temperature falls just for a little while.  If you expect the weather to remain cold for a long time, winterize your outdoor water heater. In case you are unable to do so, ensure to call a professional for the same.

Why Are Tankless Heaters Best for Outdoor Use?

Tankless Outdoor Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are best for outdoor use as they are designed to withstand freezing temperatures and various other weather conditions.

If you want to save interior wall space, an outdoor water heater is what you should opt for. Also, an outdoor tankless water heater is safer, as it is less likely to leakage and has a longer life-span than the traditional water heating system.


As a water heater user, ensure to purchase a great outdoor water heater as it runs on demand; only when you turn on the hot water tap. From multiple protective features to an ideal pressure range, outdoor water heaters have almost everything to offer.

They are safe to use, easy to maintain, and offer a longer lifespan than traditional water heaters. They are energy-saving, cost-saving, and overall, value for money.

author avatar
Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age


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