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I have a room in my apartment that can sometimes get around 40°F (4°C), and that's where my new tankless water heater is installed. Should I take any special precautions to keep my pipes from freezing or to avoid any other weird problems with my water heater? I live in the US Midwest in a second-floor apartment.

  • I assume you mean the tankless water heater is installed in this room that gets down to 40 F (4 C). Is this an electric or a gas fired water heater? If gas, how is it vented and where does it get its combustion air? – Jim Stewart Sep 9 at 18:10
  • @Jim Stewart you are correct! I hadn't noticed that ambiguity in my question until you pointed it out. Editing question. – capet Sep 9 at 18:42
  • @Jim Stewart it is an electric water heater. – capet Sep 9 at 18:43
  • In the Dallas TX area in unusually cold spells some apartment management will instruct residents to leave cabinet doors open or even allow faucets to drip. Does your apartment management ever do this? – Jim Stewart Sep 9 at 19:20
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    Why is the room getting that cold to begin with? – ThreePhaseEel Sep 10 at 0:03
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40°F is above freezing, so freezing shouldn't be a problem.

If the weather is getting cold and you're concerned that this utility room might dip below the freezing point, prop the door open a bit to allow some heated air in.

Also, since this is an apartment, talk to your landlord about your freezing concerns and ask him to address the issue - maybe adding some insulation to all the pipes in this room, or, even better, adding heat to the room!

Additionally, based on reading the comments on the OP, talk to the landlord about your freezing concerns and ask him if this is something for you to worry about at all. It may be that she's fully aware of the temperature issues and purchased heaters that have an anti-freeze feature built right in so this won't be a concern at all. It's still possible for piping to freeze, but again, 40°F is above the freezing point and it's unlikely to be a concern unless a serious cold spell hits and gets this unheated room really cold. Simply opening the interior door to this room should allow more than enough heat from the rest of the apartment into the room to keep it above freezing.

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  • Thanks! How much do you think it would help just to insulate the exposed portion of pipe? – capet Sep 10 at 22:06
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    Depends on how much piping is exposed, but 'round here, pipe insulation goes for around $1-$1.50 per 4-foot section (it was a couple of years ago that I last bought it, price has probably gone up - that's why pricing is off-topic). Make sure you get insulation sized for the diameter of your pipes. Also, they make special pieces designed to go around elbows if you want to be really thorough, and there are probably pieces for T-joints/valves, too. – FreeMan Sep 11 at 11:25

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