Hot Water Heater Installation Tips
Before beginning installation, read through and carefully review printed installation instructions and all safety warnings.
Also ensure that your electrical supply can reach the new water heater and that access can be granted to its panels and drain valve for maintenance purposes.
Work on an energized circuit only after turning off power at the breaker box and removing its cover to verify with a non-contact voltage tester that it has been de-energized.
Your energy needs may dictate that you invest in either an electric or gas tankless model for your home.
These units don’t require storage tanks and offer hot water on demand with reduced ongoing operating costs compared with traditional units.
A highly qualified professional can help you identify an appropriate tankless unit suited to meet both your individual needs and budget requirements.
As part of your selection process for a contractor, ask about their experience installing tankless units and what their installation times typically consist of.
Furthermore, ask about any credential they possess like BBB membership or chamber membership to determine which candidate may best fit your needs.
After uninstalling the old heater, a plumber will connect cold and hot water lines to the new unit according to manufacturer’s specifications for placement and location, taking special care not to block vent or drain lines with its installation.
They will also install shut-off valves before and after it for convenient maintenance access or emergencies.
Plumbers will install a cross-over valve between the hot and cold water lines. This one-way valve opens or closes according to temperature changes, allowing hot water to flow back towards its heater thereby saving energy by not continually pumping warm water into it.
This is especially beneficial in homes experiencing hot water shortage.
Gas water heaters tend to be cheaper to run than their electric counterparts, though their complex plumbing and wiring connections, plus any necessary vent connections (if applicable) require professional plumbers for installation and safety testing.
Any DIY attempts could potentially cause leaks of propane or carbon monoxide that pose serious safety risks.
Disconnect both power and water supplies to your old water heater from either a main breaker in your home’s service panel, or from its branch breaker directly at the unit itself. Furthermore, switch off its gas supply valve.
Connect your cold and hot water lines to the nipples at the top of the new water heater. These nipples are usually threaded, although rubber couplings may be needed if working with copper pipes. Use pipe wrenches or channel-lock pliers to tighten any fittings as required.
Connect the flexible gas line to the water heater’s gas control valve without kinking it, using either hand tightening or tightening with a wrench. Tighten by hand as much as possible while leaving some slack; for optimal results use a wrench and leave a little slack for adjustment later.
Test for leaks by brushing a soapy solution onto any joints where gas lines meet, using soap bubbles as an indicator; tighten any connections where you find bubbles immediately.
Electric hot water heaters are relatively straightforward devices; unheated water enters one side, and heated water flows out on demand.
Before installing one, make sure that its electrical supply can meet its demands, and that you have easy access to its tank and drain valve for maintenance purposes.
If your old electric tank is located inside of your home, shut off its power at the breaker box and use a voltage tester to make sure it has completely died out.
For tanks located in garages or barns, however, this may involve taking further measures such as disassembling panels from walls on either side or lifting it using an appliance dolly with assistance from an assistant who is strong.
Start by taking steps to access and mark where the black and white wires are attached, before disconnecting them using a cable connector and using new wires with cable ties to splice into existing ones.
If your tank contains a pressure and temperature relief valve, disconnect and drain its lines before cutting the relief valve tube to length. Solder a male adapter on one end while covering threads with Teflon tape to avoid potential thread corrosion issues.
Electric hybrid water tanks may differ from standard hot water heaters when it comes to their inlet and outlet ports, necessitating longer supply lines and possibly adding an additional safety measure such as connecting a bonding wire between cold and hot water pipes serving your tank (this step is not required by either National Electrical Code or Uniform Plumbing Code; however, local authorities may require it for safety).
Traditional tank-style water heaters (sometimes referred to as hot water storage tanks, thermal storage tanks, heat storage tanks or geysers in South African English) utilize cylindrical metal vessels with cylindrical interiors designed for holding hot water, powered either by gas burners or electric heating elements and connected directly to domestic cold and hot water lines. Size range can range from 20-60+ gallons.
As with any major project, when replacing a tank-type water heater the first step should be shutting off power or gas supply to it and removing and disposing of its old unit according to local codes. Once that step has been completed restore power by either switching on its breaker again or opening the gas valve and turning the pilot light back on if applicable if using gas model water heaters.
Connect the new cold and hot water pipes to the nipples on top of the tank, tightening threaded nipples using channel-lock pliers or pipe wrench. For soldered connections, separate and prepare them before soldering again.
Apply soldering flux to both fittings and pipes before joining them together using a propane torch, making sure the T&P relief valve is correctly capped off and installed, and opening up the water valve at the tank to release any air bubbles that might remain.
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