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Q: For my new 40 gal (Sears) Powermiser 12 gas water heater I bought a R-24 Watts Space Saver (24" square) enclosure in a carton marked "for heaters up to 40 gal or 22" diameter." The assembly instructions -- "pliers and a hammer for complete assembly" -- could not be followed.

Step 1: Sliding the sides into the top as far as they would go was found to leave a gap. Step 2: wrapping the short tabs of the sides around the channels of the top was impossible. The top was not sloped to shed water; the hole for the stack in the top was too close to the back, a minor blow. When the partly assembled enclosure was put over the heater, the burner control jutted out: the door could not be closed, even with the heater rotated.

The R-24 is not deep enough & has to go back, likely partly assembled, because the parts resist separation. A big enough Watts' R-30 model, 30" square, is available. Illustrations show its assembly and no-slope top are as for the R-24. Has Watts got a monopoly? I found no other makes. The enclosure for my old heater had a sloped top which supported a heavy 8 ft asbestos pipe without creating a puddle. It was screwed together.

A: I'm a little out of date on water heater enclosures, but there was a brand "Spacemaker" that had been around a while and had the sloped top you mention. Snooping around on the Internet, it seems Watts may have acquired Spacemaker.

There are sizes that might work for you. See link; https://www.watts.com/pdf/F-Spcmkr.pdf Another choice is to make an enclosure from steel studs and Hardi-plank. but that WILL be a project. One final random thought... The vent should extend above the nearest roofing. If you're putting the heater on an outside wall, the vent needs to extend up a ways to clear the roof.

Weight of the vent should not be borne by the shed roof as the pipe would likely need supports up higher ;) Yours, Larry ps. There is a double walled steel vent pipe which is much lighter than the old cement type. It might be worth looking into. -- Larry (10/11/07)

Q: I'm moving my water heater outside, to the back porch. There will be roof overhang, (wooden eaves). The water heater needs more than just a cap doesn't it? I assume it needs to have a chimney thru the roof just as if it was inside right?

A: Some other questions mainly about freezing conditions: Is this porch heated, enclosed, or not enclosed? If not enclosed consider wind chill? How much water line will be exposed between the heater and a heated wall?

In a former residence, my water heater was in an unheated attached garage. I kept the water heater off except just prior to use. One night the temperature went to low teens. I had a pipe freeze and burst behind the water heater. So if moving the water heater to the porch think about all the ways something can freeze then be prepared. -- David

Q1: It will have a shed around it. Coupled with being under an overhang with temps just below 32F only a few nights a year and for just a few hours and in a corner with two heated walls, freeze damage risk is considered none.

A1: Many times moving your heater outside and enclosing it in a water heater shed can increase maintenance required on the heater due to dusty or dirty enviorments. In my area this is the number one cause of service repairs. You can contact the manufaturer to request additional filter or screens if the water heater is suseptable to dirt. Yes you will need to raise the flue to a point above the roof where it cuts through. Here it is 12 inches. -- EJ (10/30/06)