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Thread: Tankless water heaters should not be sold in cold climates

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Katharina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Saskatoon SK

    Default Tankless water heaters should not be sold in cold climates

    After spending all of that money to have a tankless water heater installed to have it
    Freeze and break.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Land of Cheese


    Your statement is a symptom of a customer who does not comprehend how things work.

    Any part of house's entire plumbing system could freeze and break if left exposed to freezing temperatures. A tankless is no different. If you let it freeze, it will break.

  3. #3
    Scotsman mcconnellplumbing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Wellston, OK


    Some tankless water heaters have an internal freeze protection to prevent the unit from freezing as long as the gas and electricity is available. Navien and Rinnai do. Pipes to and from unit are up to the customer/plumber

  4. #4
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009


    The freeze protection schemes for many tankless units aren't up to the extremes of Saskatchewan weather, and none work when there's a power outage (which of course NEVER happens during extreme cold high wind weather! :-) )

    Most units either have backdraft prevention dampers or have that option as a retrofit, but on units that aren't sealed combustion that alone may not be adequate, particularly on shorter vent runs. Heat exchangers work in both directions- if you have even a trickle of -40 air backdrafting in through the heat exchanger in a high wind, there can be heat exchanger freeze up damage. That cold air trickle is orders of magnitude lower on sealed-conbustion direct-vent units than those that use room air for combustion. Installing it in fully conditioned space helps, and going longer than minimum length on the vent runs both mitigate that risk.

    You have to be a bit more careful in product selection and how they're installed to avoid freeze damage in very cold climates, but it's doable.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member ak_2011's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011


    I live in Alaska with temps regularly below 0, my water supply is via well and is 40 degrees at best when it hits the heater. Since I installed my Palomo tankless heater in a conditioned (heated) location it's never froze and has always supplied plenty of hot water.
    Last edited by Terry; 03-18-2011 at 11:30 AM. Reason: added link

  6. #6
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    northfork, california


    Unless its weekend house, everyone I know with one has had endless issues and failures.

    Give me a 200$ tank any day.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member vinman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Ontario, Canada


    And I suppose the millions of people that live in northern europe where tankless water heaters are the only water heaters that exist , are dealing with endless issues .....
    I guess in europe they have many more brands and models to choose from , and since they've been using them since the 60's they have all the issues figured out.
    The heading on this post should read " Tankless water heaters should not be sold in cold climates to people who don't comprehend how to use them ."
    Yes I'm a newbie , and this is my 2nd post , but as i wrote in my first post 2 years ago , I use a miniscule tankless (220 volt) that is supposed to be used for one sink only and I've been heating the water for 2 baths and 1 kitchen (from my well) for 3 years without any issues.
    I'm in canada , it's frigging cold and we still have 2 feet of snow outside.
    When it breaks I'll go to the Depot and buy a $200 tank like all my neighbours have.

    Funny thing is that no-one follwed up my very first post in 2009 when I spoke of this puny water heater.
    I would not want to be the last reply in this thread either , anyone curious or doubtfull ?
    I'm willing to share what I've learned .......................tanx Vin.
    Last edited by vinman; 03-27-2011 at 10:54 PM.

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