It is necessary for a home to have hot water and the water heater is the appliance that accomplishes this task. It heats the water to a designated temperature and provides it to the hot water faucets throughout the home. These appliances do not last forever, so they will eventually need to be replaced. If a homeowner learns how to install a water heater, it will save a service call and some extra cash spent on a professional installer.
You will need:
- Tongue and groove pliers, pipe wrench, or slip joint pliers
- Torpedo or full level
- Water heater
- Joint compound or pipe dope
- Teflon tape
Step 1: Select a new water heater that has the same fuel type as the existing appliance. The size of the tank can be a bit larger, as long as the appliance can clear the wall.
Step 2: Use the main water shutoff valve to turn off water supply. Turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker for an electric water heater. Turn off gas at the main gas shutoff valve or gas supply to the tank. Disconnect the gas and electric lines.
Step 3: Drain the hot water tank by opening the closet hot water faucet, attaching a hose to the water heater drain valve and putting the other end of the hose into a drain. When doing this, slowly open the drain valve on the tank so it will not clog with sediment.
Step 4: Remove the plumbing using the tongue and groove pliers, pipe wrench, or slip joint pliers. Disconnect both the cold water line and hot water discharge line.
Step 5: Disconnect the flue.
Step 6: Remove the old water heater. Clean the floor in the area.
Step 7: Place the new water heater in the area. Line up the appliance’s plumbing with the existing plumbing lines.
Step 8: Make sure the new appliance is level by using the full or torpedo level. Place shims underneath the appliance legs until the heater is straight.
Step 9: Install the fittings on the water heater. This includes the discharge drain pipe, temperature valve, and the pressure relief valve. On the galvanized fittings, use joint compound or pipe dope. On copper pipes, use Teflon tape. Install other fittings as directed by the manufacturer.
Step 10: Connect the cold and hot water plumbing lines. Use supply lines made from flexible copper if the openings to the inlet and outlet will not line up. If the cold water line does not have a shut off valve, add one. Use dielectric unions to connect all pipes. On threaded copper lines, use Teflon tape. On galvanized fittings, use joint compound or pipe dope.
Step 11: Connect the electric or the gas line. The gas line on the gas heater should be connected to a gas burner control valve. Connect grounding wire and power lines to the electric water heater junction box.
Step 12: Attach the flue on the gas model heater, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. The flue should have a draft diverter attached over it.
Step 13: Turn on cold water supply and main water valve. Turn off the faucet used for old heater draining. Fill the tank with water. Turn the power on by opening the gas valve and lighting the pilot on gas models and resetting the electric circuit breaker.
Step 14: Set the water heater thermostat to somewhere between 110 and 130 degrees.