Water Heater in the Attic

Can You (And Should You) Install a Water Heater in the Attic?

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Short Answer: Generally yes (particularly for a tankless water heater). If you can easily climb into the attic and you are not worried about leaks, you can usually get better energy efficiency in the summer and save space in your home if you put your water heater in the attic. However if you think the installation might leak or you don’t like climbing into your attic every time you need to do repairs on it, then try another area like your basement or the utility room.

The water heater is considered a must-have addition to any home because of the convenience of having hot water available on demand. If you’re building a new home, it’s safe to say that you will need to consider the right location for installing a water heater. It doesn’t matter if it’s tankless, tanked, or some other style, the water heating system should be put somewhere in the house where it can be easily accessed but also concealed while not taking up precious space.

Some homeowners opt for installing the water heater in the attic. At first, it makes sense to put it in a less used area of the house, but then you might be wondering whether this location is a viable option. Having a big and heavy water tank sitting right above your head at all times doesn’t sound like a good idea. Even though it seems counterintuitive, there are actually many practical reasons that make it worth putting the water heater in the attic or crawl space. Let’s take a closer look at all the benefits and drawbacks of this location.

Benefits of Installing a Water Heater in the Attic

  • Great accessibility

Being able to access the water heater quickly as needed should be an important factor to consider during its installation. The attic is superior in terms of accessibility to other areas of the home. Although it’s typically hidden from view, you can quickly climb into the attic with the help of pull-down stairs. If you experience any issues with the water heating system, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to reach the unit and repair it.

  • Saved space

Many types of water heaters show a bulky design that will occupy precious square footage in your home. Gaining around 10 or 12 extra square feet sounds appealing which is why many homeowners opt for an attic installation. The garage is usually another good location to put the water heater but it can be quite inconvenient to give up a big chunk of space there which could be better used for other things.

  • Quick water distribution

Although it may not be a deciding factor, having the water reach your plumbing fixtures quickly can be considered a nice advantage of using the attic for the water heater. It might not make a significant difference in some cases but the added convenience of hot water coming out faster could make it worth choosing this location.

  • Better efficiency in the summer

If you live in an area with a hot climate, you will be able to take full advantage of superior heating efficiency. The attic heats up considerably during the summer which in turn makes it much easier for the water heater to perform its duty. Anyone worried about large heating bills should seriously consider the idea of an attic installation for their water heating system.

  • Concealed placement

The attic is the favorite location for homeowners who need to store rarely-used items. These things won’t get in the way throughout the rest of the home. In a similar way, the water heater won’t add to existing clutter and help you maintain a more organized house if you install it in the attic. Keeping the water heating system hidden away from view is recommended because it’s not exactly a pretty appliance that you’d wish to display.

Disadvantages of Putting the Water Heater in the Attic

Water Heater Leak

  • Risk of leaking and structural damage

If a water heater installed in the garage has a leak, it’s a considerable problem but still manageable. If it’s placed in the attic, however, leaks suddenly become very dangerous and might cause major damage to your house. No water heater out there is immune to leaks and even tiny pinhole leaks could be enough to create some serious structural damage.

The risk of troublesome and expensive leaks might be sufficient for some homeowners to avoid putting the water heater in the attic. That being said, it’s still a great location to consider if you plan to install a tankless water heater. It’s best to avoid storing a large amount of water right above your head. Therefore, tank-type water heaters shouldn’t be placed in the attic without strict maintenance procedures.


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