If you aren't your home's original builder, then it's unlikely that you've given much thought to your utility appliance locations. Water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, and other essential appliances require careful placement, however. Many homeowners choose to reuse the existing sites when replacing them, but this is not always the best approach.
Before installing your new water heater, consider these three ways that its placement may affect its installation cost and effectiveness.
1. Physical Size
Unless you were suffering from demand issues, it's typically a good idea to replace a water heater with one of equivalent size. If your old storage heater fits in your basement or utility closet, then it's reasonable to assume that your new one will as well. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case when upgrading to a more efficient unit.
More efficient standards have created larger storage tank heaters than older, less efficient units. Since high-efficiency heaters require more insulation, they take up more physical space in your home despite offering a similar capacity. If your old water heater was a tight fit, be sure to confirm that your new one isn't too large to install in its existing location.
2. Heat Loss
Storage heaters work by heating a volume of water contained within the tank. Your water will begin to immediately cool as it travels from the tank to its final destination. The longer the water must travel to reach a fixture or appliance, the colder it will be. As a result, you may find that your hot water is much colder when using fixtures on the second floor.
Heat loss is more than just an inconvenience. If you compensate by keeping your tank thermostat setpoint higher, you may wear out tank components more quickly and use more energy. If this is an issue for you, it may be worth discussing alternative placement options with your installer.
3. Gas Installation
If you're replacing an existing gas heater with a new one, then this shouldn't be a concern. On the other hand, replacing an oil or electric unit with a gas one means that you'll need to install a new gas line. Even if you already have gas serviced to your home, this extra installation step can make a big difference to your final costs.
Before choosing a location, discuss the cost of running a new gas line with your plumber. You may be able to find a suitable installation site in your home that will reduce your gas line installation costs while still minimizing heat loss to all of your home's fixture locations. For additional information, contact a water heater service.