People who have never had to replace a hot water heater before are reluctant to try a water heater installation by themselves, however installing a new water heater is a relatively simple procedure and you can easily tackle this project yourself.

There are a few things to consider before deciding whether or not to install the heater yourself.

The first thing you need to consider is the disposal of your old heater.

There are codes in almost every area that dictate where and how a hot water heater is to be disposed of.  You need to know what the codes are in your area and whether or not you have the means of correctly disposing of the old heater.

Depending on where you purchased your product from, this may not be a problem.  Some companies will take your old heater and dispose of it for you, thus saving you the hassle of that chore yourself.

The next consideration is whether or not you can handle the water heater yourself.  These heaters are heavy and bulky and you might need some help moving it to where it needs to go to install it.

You also need to make sure you have the necessary tools to do a water heater installation.  These tools will include adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, some good pliers, and a hacksaw.  If you are working with copper piping you may also need a propane torch.

If you are converting from an electric hot water heater to a gas or propane heater or vice versa it is wise to have a professional do the water heater installation as there will be things such as venting and other changes that will make changing the heaters more complicated.  It is also wise to at least consult a professional if you do not feel comfortable installing the heater yourself.

How to Install a Hot Water Heater

The first step in installing your new water heater is to take your old water heater out. Here are the steps necessary to accomplish that task.

1. Shut off the water connect to the old heater, the valve for this is usually on the waterline.

2. If your heater is gas or propane shut off the gas line coming into the heater.  If your heater is electric unplug the electric header. You might first want to shut off the power to the heater at the breaker.

3. Turn on all the water spigots in the house. Connect one end of a garden hose to the tanks drain valve and place the other end in your bathtub or sink and drain the tank completely

4. Disconnect the water inlet and outlet pipes from the top of the heater. If your heater is gas unscrew those fittings as well.

5. Remove the hat on top of tank so that heater is no longer connected to the pipe.

6. Remove the old heater.

After completing those steps you are ready for the new water heater installation.

  • Wrap the threads of the water inlet and outlet fittings with pipe tape.
  • Screw water inlet and outlet lines into the top of the new unit
  • Open water line to fill the tank making sure that you have left the house spigots on so that the lines to the new tank will bleed.
  • Reconnect the gas lines or plug in the unit if it is electrical
  • Reconnect the flu hat so thank is properly vented.
  • Check and make sure you new tank is not leaking.

What to do if a Professional is Installing Your Water Heater

If you have decided to leave the new water heater installation into the hands of a professional, there are still some things you need to do to make his job simpler and to save you some money in labor.

You can both completely disconnect the old heater and have it ready for removal, or at the very least you should follow the disconnect directions as far as emptying the water tank.

Whether you decide to install your hot water heater yourself or have a professional tackle the job, is up to you. Either way, it won’t be long before you once again can enjoy a nice hot shower.

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