How to Keep Tankless Water Heater From Freezing: Useful Tips to Follow

The cold season brings many problems when it comes to basic plumbing and keeping your water heaters operational. Hence, it is most likely that you will have increased problems in maintaining the heat in your pipes with the snowstorm approaching.

If you are living in a cold place, you most probably know the struggle of keeping your heaters working through the nights while saving them from freezing and potential damage.

This is because water that is left in the pipes or tanks can expand and eventually burst, leaving you with the need to invest significantly in repairing. So, it’s ideal that you turn to traditional tricks that can help you in saving your unit from potential damage.

If you are still confused, need not worry as I have brought together some simple tips and tricks on how to keep a tankless water heater from freezing. So, dive right in for more.

Tips to Keep Tankless Water Heater From Freezing

Below we have briefly described some of the most useful and tested tips to keep the tankless water heater from freezing during winters. Let’s read these out.

Maintaining the Pipes

To keep your heaters ready for the winter season, the first and foremost important thing you should do is to check the pipes. This is especially the case with modern tankless water heaters as the water cools down while flowing through these pipes, unlike the traditional units.

Hence, there is a high chance that your pipes will freeze in wintertime, which can disrupt the working and can damage the pipes, costing you a lot.

To solve this issue, it is absolutely important that you insulate the pipes and heater. This will help you in keeping the pipes at a certain temperature (on average, below 30 degrees) that would keep them from freezing. Many people think that it is complex and costs a lot of money; the good news is that a simple yet quality pipe can save you from all the struggle.

Drain the Heater

Likewise, as we already know, standing water in your heater’s pipes can cause it to freeze in the snowy season which can be damaging to your unit, specifically if it is not made up of stainless steel.

Once the water freezes in your pipe, it can cost you a lot of money to change the internal heat exchangers. So, to prevent this clogging issue, I would suggest you drain your heater before the season hits you.

Here, another thing to consider is having an uninterrupted power source, as it can help you in saving your pipes from clogging. For this, just keep your heater plugged in throughout to make sure that it is protected from potential damage.

If you are in a place where there are constant power issues, it is ideal that you invest in a battery backup to facilitate the requirements.

For this purpose, follow these steps;

  • Turn off the gas supply.
  • Make sure that temperature control is on.
  • Disconnect the heater from the main power source.
  • Place a bucket under the unit to get all the water from it.
  • Finally, remove the drain cap and open the valves. Make sure that the inlet filter is removed.

You are good to go.

Install Recirculation System

In addition, another thing you can do to save your heater from the cold season is to invest in a quality recirculation system. If you have been living in a snowy area for quite some time, you most probably know the importance of regulating your plumbing system.

Hence, installing a recirculation system will help you in keeping the plumbing system working that reduce the risk of your heater freezing.

Check the Tank

It is equally significant to check your tank from time to time if you own a traditional heater, as with these units, the danger of freezing is absolutely increased.

Hence, it is ideal that you just quickly check whether the tank is drained for the most part. After this, make sure that you have an insulated blanket for the unit so it remains safe from freezing.

Keep Your Heater System Running

Another way to keep your heater unit from freezing is by adjusting the temperature to your own liking. For this, keeping your water running (approximately one gallon out of ten) for a minute allows you to save it from freezing.

If you have a tankless heater, I would recommend you use a high-pressure setting so that it remains warm for the entire night. If it still gets blocked. It is time you get professional help for maintenance.

Always Monitor the Location

Similarly, it is absolutely important to check the placement of your water heater as it can make a huge difference. For this purpose, I would recommend you not to use chilly garages, basements, closets, and sheds as it can potentially increase the chances of damage to your tanks.

Hence, make sure that it is in the hot place of your home. Also, you can add further insulation to the pipes to keep the unit safe and secure from the snowy weather.

Monitor Exhausts Pipes and Intakes

In addition, it is ideal that you have checked all the exhaust pipes and intake sources to make sure that the heater has smooth ventilation. For this, you just quickly have to check whether there are any leakages or blockages due to debris or insects.

All in all, anything that blocks oxygen and carbon dioxide from existing and entering the system can damage your water heaters. For this purpose, I would recommend you go for a mesh covering as it can provide you with smooth ventilation.

Check the Flood Stop Systems

Last but not least, if you are going for a holiday or vacation, it is ideal that you go for a flood stop system. These mechanisms are installed in the water heaters and are directly linked with the electrical sources or battery backups.

The sensor from this system is dropped into the system so that it shuts off the supply on detecting water in the tank. Hence, this will help you in minimizing the water damage and floods.

In the end, I hope you now know how to save your heater from freezing in the winter season.


What causes the water heater to freeze?

There are a number of reasons why the water in your heater freezes. The most prominent is an extended period of a power outage or natural blockage because of the external environment. Hence, keeping your water heater placed in cold areas and no battery backup can result in your tank and pipes being damaged for the most part.

For this purpose, make sure that the fuel is supplied to the unit and that you are maintaining it properly.

Can a water heater freeze and burst?

Yes, if not taken properly, a water heater can burst eventually. As water expands when it keeps freezing for quite some time and it doesn’t have the required space in the tank, it is most probable that your heater might explode after some time.

Here, an extended period of no fuel and power supply can lead to this freezing. So, it becomes important that you keep your heaters working with the needed maintenance.

Can the water heater freeze in the garage?

If you are living in a place where cold is harsh and approach you with a set of problems, it is most likely that your garage doesn’t get too low. However, it varies on the placement of your garage and surroundings.

So, if it remains considerably high, it is ideal that you keep your heater in the garage. As long as it is kept in a warm place, you are good to go.

Can water in hot water heater freeze?

Yes, any water heater with water left inside it can freeze eventually. If you have a traditional tank heater, it can approximately carry about 50 gallons of water. So, if there is no proper power or fuel supply, it is most likely that you will be provided with freezing water.

Likewise, if it keeps freezing for quite some time, it can eventually expand and burst your heater, which could cost you a lot to repair.

Should you turn the water heater off in freezing weather?

Yes, turning off the heater in cold weather can help you in keeping its performance consistent. Considering the fact that pipes in your home are freezing, keeping a constant supply of fuel will help you with an operational heater that will keep the pipes warm.

Keeping your heater placed in a warm place can also prevent damage. However, it is equally important to consider basic plumbing maintenance checkups that can help you with smooth performance.

Final Thoughts

In essence, if winter is approaching you with new plumbing problems, you most likely know the struggles of keeping the water heater functional. This is because water that is left in the pipes or tanks can expand and eventually burst, leaving you with the need to invest significantly in repairing.

Therefore, I hope that these comprehensive tips and tricks can help you in saving your water heater from freezing.


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With years of experience under his belt, Adam decided to put his water heater knowledge to work. By providing high-quality content and expert guides, Adam hopes to help anyone looking for expert water heater advice.