How to Change Your Water Heater

This article is not intended for someone who is not a handyman. If you have done plumbing and electrical work before then you can save yourself some money in replacing your own water heater.

There are two types of water heaters; one that is heated by gas and the other is heated by electricity. The same principle applies for both heaters as far as the plumbing goes.

First thing you will need to do is shut off the circuit breaker to the water heater if it’s heated by electricity. If it is heated by gas then locate the shut-off valve, which should be close to the gas line that goes into the water heater, and turn the gas off.

Next thing to do is shut off the cold water supply leading into the water heater. There should be a gate valve located close to the cold water intake into the water heater. If you can not find a shut off valve for this then you will need to shut off the water main.

Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater and drain out all the water from the old water heater. You may want to open some water faucets in the house as this will let air out of the water line.

As you are waiting for the water to drain out, disconnect the electrical line form the water heater if it’s electrical and tape up the wires. If it’s gas remove the gas line from the water heater.

Once all the water has been drained out of the water heater, close the drain valve and remove the hose. Carefully disconnect the cold and hot water line going into the old water heater and move the old tank out of the way.

Position the new water heater into place and size up the hot and cold water lines that were disconnected from the old water heater. Now depending on the height of the new tank, you may have to change the length of the cold and hot water lines so they match up to the new hot water heater.

A hot water heater typically uses Ã?¾ inch pipe. You may need to purchase a different length nipple so that you can reconnect the water lines to the new tank. You may also want to use a Ã?¾” unions as this makes it much easier for reconnecting the water lines to the heater. Also don’t forget to use Teflon tape on all pipe threads so that they will not leak. Four to six wraps on the thread will do.

Once the hot and cold water lines are reconnected, check all pipe connections to make sure they are tight.

Reconnect your electrical line or gas line to the new hot water heater. Turn the circuit breaker back on if it’s electrical. Turn the gas valve back on if it’s a gas water heater. Check the gas pipe connection with soapy water to make sure there are no gas leaks on your new connections. If you see large bubbles forming then close the gas valve and tighten the connections. Be sure to use Teflon tape on the pipe treads.

Once everything has been secured, turn on the cold water line going into the hot water heater and check for any leaks. Also turn on the hot water valve from your water heater.

If everything looks good, light the pilot on your new hot water heater if it’s gas. Follow the instructions on your new hot water heater for lighting the pilot.

You are now done and just saved yourself a few hundred dollars in installation cost.

Check your owner’s manual on how to adjust your water temperature and ways you can conserve energy.

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