Water heater in metal shed outside

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by jdf405, May 28, 2009.

  1. jdf405

    jdf405 Electrical Engineer

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Los Angeles Area
    Hi All,

    I am planning on moving my gas water heater to the exterior of my house (in Los Angeles) in the near future and have begun researching tanks & sheds. I am leaning towards a Bradford model but I have a few questions I'm hoping you can help with:

    Is a 24" square shed large enough to accommodate a 20" diameter tank? I can always go to a 30" shed but it makes the alley way at the side of my house 6" narrower...

    Given the limited head room inside these 72" tall sheds above the tank, how / where could I fit an expansion tank?

    Any other random bits of advice regarding exterior sheds?

    Thanks much!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,324
    Location:
    New England
    Won't likely meet code...you need air to make the gas work, and even if the whole thing was made of louvers, you may not meet the manufacturer's requirements for fresh air makeup. In LA, you also would need to strap the thing for earthquake and use flexible supply lines for both gas and the water. The expansion tank needs to go between the cold water intake and the shutoff valve to the WH. Suppose you could install the shutoff in the house and the tank, too, but it is better at the tank. 72" tall might not be enough, either, for the flue. Unless the thing came apart to work on stuff, it would be a pain as well. Piping the T&P valve could be problematic, too.

    Sorry to be so negative...maybe I'm missing something, but I don't think it would work well and I think you'd have problems with the inspector. See what others have to say.
  3. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Moving water heater outside !

    Jadnashua you give pretty good advice most times for not being a professional, !

    But this is something a lot of eastern plumbers would have missed also !

    These sheds he is talking about are very common in the southern Calif.
    Area and all over L. A.

    To answer the O.P. The way i have done it is cut a hole in the side wall and run a EXTENSION of the cold water out and mounted my thermal expansion
    tank aganst the side of the house side ways using a earthquake bracket

    a 24" shed would work but it is very tight to work in !
    You would do much better with 30"
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tank

    The term "alley" disturbs me, because if this is a traffic alley, then you would also need "bolsters" to protect the shed and heater from impacts.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,324
    Location:
    New England
    When I think shed, I think closed building...if this is more like a lean-to with an open side, you shouldn't have problems with combustion air except that the wind might blow out the pilot light. LA is probably hot enough most of the time to not have cold ambient temperatures require more energy use than if the WH was inside in temperature controlled areas, but I'm not sure of that. My guess is that it might end up costing more in energy to keep that water hot than if it was inside.
  6. jdf405

    jdf405 Electrical Engineer

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Los Angeles Area
    Hi All,

    Thanks for the various feedback. My "alley" is a 5 foot wide path that runs between my house and my property line. No cars, just foot traffic - and its fenced off from the street.

    I think I'll need to go with the 30" wide shed - it'll make things easier in a number of ways.

    It doesn't get very cold here at all. Typical winter lows are 45-50, with one or two nights a year hitting the high 30s. I've seen a lot of houses with the HWH outside in my area. I'm sure it might not be as efficient as if the hwh was in my garage or house. My house is very small and we need to make an extra pantry out of the closet hwh is in now. The garage is too far away from the points of use to make sense (no gas or water there to boot).

    Thanks!
    Jonathan
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