Since professional installation often adds $500 or more to the cost of replacing a standard tank water heater, many homeowners naturally choose to install it themselves. And while it's considered an advanced project, experienced DIYers can often do the job themselves with a little planning. It's important to note that this is not a project for beginners. The first step to learning how to install a new water heater is to examine the type of heater you already have. First determine the fuel source: gas or electricity?
Then determine the size: 30, 40, 50 gallons or more? When replacing a water heater, it's easier to keep the same fuel type and roughly the same tank size. However, if your old water heater wasn't providing enough hot water, you might want to consider upgrading to a larger unit, such as a water heater. The chimney size must be correct with the correct slope and the supplied gas pipe must be suitable for the size of the heater. (Changes to gas lines should only be made by a licensed professional.) Featured Video How to grow oregano indoors At best, replacement is a matter of a few hours of work, disconnecting and removing the old heater, then insert the new one and reconnect in exactly the same way.
There's a reason plumbers apply for a full day, though: it often gets more complicated. To replace a water heater, you need to make both water connections and wire or gas connections, plus a vent connection, if you have a gas heater. If you are not confident in your skills in these areas, it is best to call in a professional. Always follow local code when working with gas lines. Gas Water Heater Venting For many years, atmospheric venting was the standard means of removing water from a gas water heater's combustion exhaust gases vent gas.
In this system, a metal extractor hood on top of the water heater routed exhaust gases and a small amount of fresh room air through a metal duct through the ceiling or into a common chimney. In many cases, installing a new water heater requires connecting the existing chimney and hood to the new water heater, although there are factors (e.g., slope and draft connections) that make the process much more complicated. . If done incorrectly, fumes (including carbon monoxide) can remain in the home, so this project is best left to professionals.1 But building codes in some communities may require switching to a different method of ventilation. when a new water heater is installed. Many areas now require a system known as direct ventilation, where a special dual-chamber flue exhausts the exhaust fumes down the side of the house while letting fresh air in.
This is often required in modern airtight homes to prevent the flow of gas and air through the water heater duct from creating an air pressure differential that can draw gases from the water heater burner into the home. Depending on how far the direct vent needs to run, the code may also require an electric fan to help exhaust flow in the vent. In older, less airtight homes, this is rarely an issue. If your code requires you to switch from a simple atmospheric vent to a direct vent or electric direct vent, it's a more complicated task. Most people should call a professional for this job.
Warning All plumbing must comply with your local plumbing code, so check with your local building authority for requirements in your area. As installation varies by location and heater type, the following steps only show the general process and may or may not apply to your situation. As mentioned above, it's best to leave this project to the professionals. What you'll need Equipment/Tools Adjustable wrench Duct locking pliers Pipe cutter (if needed) Screwdriver Garden hose Wheelbarrow and tool straps Propane torch and welding supplies (if required) Materials Heating new water Washers (as required) Plumbing fittings (as required ) Plumbing pipe sealing tape Water heater range hood (if required for a gas heater) Temperature and pressure relief valve (if not fitted) Water heater drain valve (if not fitted) Vent pipe fittings (if required) Nipples Galvanized Plastic Coated Water Heater Pipes (2) Flexible Water Heater Pipes Water Heater (if required) Flexible Gas Hose (if required) Instructions Materials and tools for replacing a water heater rs The Spruce / Kevin Norris Turn off the water and gas or electricity Turn off the utility lines to the existing water heater. Turn off the water at the home's main water shut-off valve or at a bypass shut-off valve that controls the flow of cold water to the water heater.
Then turn off the electricity or gas supply. If you have an electric water heater: Turn off the water heater circuit breaker at the home's fuse box. This is typically a 30 amp double pole breaker. For a gas water heater: Turn off the gas supply at the gas line shut-off valve closest to the water heater. Water supply shut off with main shut-off valve Drain water heater Connect a garden hose to the drain valve near the bottom of the water heater.
Turn on the nearest hot water tap, e.g. B. in the bathroom to avoid suction in the line that can slow down the drain. Run the other end of the hose over a floor drain or place outside. Slowly open the drain valve to prevent debris from clogging the drain valve. Allow the tank to drain completely, then close the valve and remove the hose. Water heater connected to the drain valve with garden hose Disconnect the water lines Disconnect the hot and cold water lines from the water heater, with a pipe wrench or channel lock pliers.
Water lines can be connected to the heater with flexible hoses (usually connected to union or compression fittings) or with soldered connections (soldered lines must be cut with a pipe cutter). Wrench for unscrewing the heater water supply hoses Disconnect all Electrical or Gas Lines Next you will need to disconnect power to the water heater. For an electric water heater: Remove the cover from the wiring panel at the top of the water heater. Make sure the circuit is off by using a non-contact voltage tester to test each wire, then unscrew the wire connectors that connect the circuit wires to the water heater wires. Loosen the cable clamp and remove the cable from the junction box.
For a gas water heater: Make sure the gas line main valve is closed, then disconnect the gas line from the gas control valve on the water heater. This gas line can be vinyl-lined flexible hose, bare soft copper hose, or sometimes (on older water heaters) a rigid black pipe connection. The gas line is shut off with the valve handle. Disconnect the water heater vent (gas heaters only) Disconnect the vent pipe from the hood on top of the heater. The extractor hood is usually attached to the exhaust pipe with three or four self-tapping screws. If the range hood is in good condition, you may be able to reuse it with the new water heater.
Gas water heater vent removed with a screwdriver Replace the old water heater with a new one Use an equipment cart with straps to remove the old water heater and insert the new one. If it is necessary to carry water heaters up and down basement stairs, it is best to have a helper do the job. Be sure to securely fasten the heater to the cart when moving it. Clean the floor where the old heater was. Position the new water heater and align the existing plumbing with the plumbing fittings on the water heater.
Level the new water heater by placing shims under the feet if necessary. Tip If your area is earthquake prone, brackets or straps may need to be fitted to hold the water heater in place. Old titled water heater to be placed on a dolly Install the relief valve and other accessories Install the various accessories needed for the water heater. This always includes a temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) and a drain hose. If necessary, install additional accessories according to the manufacturer's instructions.
TPR valve connected to new water heater Connect water lines Install plastic coated galvanized nipples to the cold water inlet and hot water outlet openings on top of the water heater. Assembly involves wrapping the threads with plumber's pipe sealing tape, then threading the nipples into the openings and tightening them with a sewer lock pliers or pipe wrench. Now connect the cold water line to the water heater's inlet nipple and the hot water line to the outlet nipple . In some cases, this can be as simple as reconnecting the flexible hoses that you disconnected when you removed the old heater. But if the water lines were connected directly to the water heater and had to be cut to remove the water heater, then the job is a bit more complicated.
You may need to assemble various threaded adapters, short lengths of hose and fittings to connect your water heater nozzles to your hot and cold water lines. How you do this depends on the types of pipe you have and your installation. If you have copper plumbing you may need to torch weld, but there are compression fittings, grip fittings (SharkBite), and PEX fittings that can also work with various types of plumbing tubing. If you haven't Now is a good time to install flexible hoses to connect your hot and cold water lines to your water heater. This makes it easier to unplug the water heater in case you need to make repairs or replace it in the future.
This requires male adapters to be attached to both the water heater nozzles and the ends of the hot and cold water lines. The flexible hoses are then joined together with union nuts that screw onto the adapters. Flexible water supply hoses that connect to the nipple on top of the water heater Connect electrical or gas lines Connect gas or Power sources to: For a gas water heater: Connect the gas line to the gas burner control valve. If necessary, use a flexible gas line that is approved by local regulations. Check for leaks by opening the gas supply valve and applying a soapy water solution to the gas fitting and all gas fittings.
If you see bubbles, the connection is leaking and needs to be tightened. If you still cannot get a good seal without bubbles, call the gas company or a plumber for help. For an electric water heater: Attach the power cord to the wire junction box on top of the water heater. Connect the circuit wires to the water heater wires with wire connectors. Place the cover plate on the cable entry box.
Flexible gas line connected to water heater burner control valve Reconnect vent (gas heaters only) Place range hood on top of water heater, centered over flue vent, and slide onto vent tube. Fasten it with self-tapping screws. If your new water heater is a different height than your old one, you may need to trim the vent pipe by cutting it to length with metal snips or installing a shorter piece of pipe. With a shorter water heater, you may need to lengthen the vent by adding an additional vent pipe segment. Ensure the vent is connected in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and local codes.
There should be specific parts and instructions for the new water heater. Tip In some communities, common venting is done with a chimney or flue that also services a furnace (as shown here) . In this case, you may need to call a professional to reconfigure the venting on your new water heater. Replace the range hood over the water heater exhaust vent Complete the installation Turn on a water heater faucet in a remote part of the house, then open the cold water supply valve to the water heater and allow the water heater to fill with water. You'll know the tank is full when water starts to flow from the hot water tap.
For an electric water heater, restore power to the water heater circuit by turning the circuit breaker back on. For a gas heater, make sure the main gas valve is open and make sure the pilot igniter is working properly according to the manufacturer's instructions. Set the water heater thermostat as desired between 110 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees recommended) and allow the water in the tank to come up to temperature.