Installing a Gas Water Heater in the Attic

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

Installing a water heater in the attic space is in some households, the best solution or the only way. What most owners don't know is 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 if installing the electric unit.

Ventilation and attic installation

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

The gas water heater 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, so the attic temperature will reach critical temperatures, which will affect the correct working condition of the gas water heater.

Natural draft present in atmospheric-vented gas water heater works only if the difference between the exhausted gases and surrounding air temperature is greater.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 for the proper ventilation soffit vents used in combination with the ridge vents or electrically powered fans.

It should be checked regularly does the insulation cover and block any vents, and clean them if necessary.

It is easy to check does the attic get 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 see the daylights, yes, some air is coming into the attic, but if you don't, then you might have a problem.

During the winter time, 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 connection leaks; the water will flood rooms in the lower level and do the damage. For this reason, a suitable drain pan should be installed under the water heater and piped to an adequate drain.


The suggestion is to install a gas water heater in the attic space only if you have to. The inconvenience and hard to handle it, installing or replacing one, are just a few of the main reasons. However, remember to provide the required conditions for proper heater work, such as the sufficient amount of fresh air, proper clearances, and water leak protection/alarm. The controls, components such as the TPR and drain valve must be accessible for use and service.

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