Installing a Gas Water Heater in the Attic

Is installing a gas water heater in the attic space a good idea? Find out about the problems and how to solve them to have the proper attic installation, safe, and reliable water heating.

Installing a water heater in the attic space is for some households the best solution, while for others, the only way.

Most homeowners don't know that such installation brings problems such as the pilot light and main burner outage. To help you with the attic installation, check the following tips found in this article.

If you own a gas water heater, keep in mind that the attic installation can be more hostile than installing the electric unit.

Ventilation and attic installation

The main reason why one should be cautious when installing a gas water heater in the attic is inadequate attic ventilation with little or no traffic, and high or low freezing temperatures.

Gas water heaters must get enough fresh air for the proper gas combustion and provide unobstructed and efficient drafting of the products of gas combustion.

Atmospherically vented gas water heaters are especially affected when installed in the attic space.

Weather conditions and attic heater installation

Gas water heaterGas water heater

The attic space should be appropriately ventilated, especially during the summer, as the outside temperature and humidity could increase to high values. The attic temperature will reach critical temperatures, which will affect the proper working condition of the gas water heater.

The natural draft present in atmospheric-vented gas water heater works only if the difference between the exhausted gases and surrounding air temperature is greater. A lower difference in the temperature creates the problem for the heater to get enough fresh air, so the pilot light and the main burner might go out.

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Bradford White and other manufacturers of water heaters recommend proper ventilation soffit vents used in combination with the ridge vents or electrically powered fans.

Your should check regularly does the insulation cover block any vents, and clean them if necessary.

It is easy to check does the attic gets fresh air or not. This test should be done during the daytime. Turn the lights off in the attic and close the door. If you can see the daylight through the openings, gaps, and cracks, yes, some air is coming into the attic, but if you don't, then you might have a problem.

During the wintertime, a water heater and piping in the attic space should be insulated to protect against freezing temperatures.

Another reason why installing a gas water heater in the attic is not a good idea is if the tank or any connections leak, the water will flood rooms in the lower level and damage the house. For this reason, a suitable drain pan should be installed under the water heater and piped to an adequate drain.


Since tank-type water heaters are large, heavy, and bulky, they are hard to handle, install or replace. And these are just some of the reasons why the attic installation is challenging or even not possible in some situations.

That is why it is recommended to install a gas water heater in the attic space only if you have to.

But, remember to provide required conditions for proper heater work, such as the sufficient amount of fresh air, proper clearances, and water leak protection/alarm.

Many controls and components, such as the, anode rod, dip tube, gas valve or heating elementsTPR and drain valve, must be accessible for use, service or replacement.

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