There are plenty of reasons to replace your old conventional water heater with a newer, more efficient tankless design. These units can save you money by reducing energy usage and, when sized correctly, provide "endless" hot water for showers, appliances, and sinks. However, tankless heaters are also much different from storage tank heaters, so additional installation considerations exist. 

Choosing where to place your new tankless water heater is one of the first and arguably most important decisions you'll need to make. While your plumber will guide you through this process, here are three crucial factors that will help guide your placement decision.

1. Vent and Fuel Access

You can install a tankless water heater on any vertical space, but installing them on exterior home walls is a common choice. If you're using a gas or oil-fired tankless water heater, it will need access to the outside to vent combustion gases and, depending on the model, for fresh combustion air. Exterior walls make it quick and easy to install these vents.

An exterior wall is also often a good choice for a gas water heater since it means closer access to natural gas lines. Running gas lines along a basement wall can add more to your installation costs, so choosing an exterior wall close to existing gas appliances or your gas meter can help simplify the amount of plumbing required.

2. Accessibility

Tankless water heaters typically last longer than conventional storage tank models but also require slightly more maintenance. Depending on the hardness of your water, you may need to flush and descale the unit periodically. For most homes, this process will be an annual task that you can either carry out yourself or hire a professional to handle.

Whichever option you choose, it's important to have clear access to your tankless water heater to make maintenance less of a hassle. The more space available around the heater, the easier it will be to keep it well-maintained. Since these units usually cost more than conventional storage tank heaters, simplifying maintenance is a great way to help ensure you get as much value from your heater as possible.

3. Plumbing

The large size of conventional storage tank heaters means there's usually less flexibility when placing one. As a result, these units often go wherever there's enough space for them, which is sometimes in the middle of a basement or crawl space. Unfortunately, these locations typically aren't ideal for tankless water heaters.

If you're installing your new tankless water heater in a different location from your old conventional storage tank heater, you'll need to consider plumbing costs. In some cases, installing your tankless heater on the nearest wall to the old unit may be ideal since this placement will minimize the amount of new plumbing you will need.

Contact a local plumbing service to learn more about tankless water heater installation.