Understanding Hot Water Heaters and Installation Techniques

hot water installation guide

As a homeowner, it’s easy to forget or take advantage of a hot water heater. Until it begins to leak or completely stop making hot water, we oftentimes spend little to no time thinking about the heater. We only gain respect for this valuable appliance when our hot shower turns cold.

That aside, there are several types of popular hot water heaters; gas and electric on the market. Each comes with special advantages. It all depends on your home’s specific needs and situation. The two most common water heaters are electric and gas. Installing a new one of these in your home yourself may save you money, but it doesn’t help when something goes wrong or when the product malfunctions. It’s recommended that homeowners seek the help of a professional.

When it becomes time to purchase a new water heater, you can simply go to most hardware stores and home improvement centers, but make sure you draw a diagram of your current water line connection so the salesman can help you select the proper unit for installation. This is where it really benefits having called an expert to not only help with the system but also with the installation.

Here’s how it works.

Draining the Old Hot Water Heater

Always be sure to turn off your home’s circuit breaker running to your current electric hot water heater, or shut of the gas valve if your home has a gas hot water heater. Also, turn off all water supplies running to your home’s existing one. Consider attaching a hose to one end to the drain valve and run the hose outside. Slowly open the heater’s drain valve. This can be achieved by slowly and generously turning the drain valve, releasing all signs of water lying in the pipe.

Installing the Hot Water Heater

Closely examine the unit and its positioning before removing or installing a water heater. This will ensure you know the correct positioning for the new unit. Once the electricity and gas have been turned off, and your current heater has been drained, it is time to install your new heater.

Set your new heater into the empty space with the drain valve and thermostat facing outward. Use a level to make sure the unit is sitting level. This is a very important step, as an un-level unit can run into problems. Once the unit is set into place, reconnect the water lines to the new unit.

Fill the Tank

Slowly open the cold water valve and allow the tank to fill. Allow the hot water faucet to remain on until the water freely flows from the faucet. Once the water flows freely, this means the air is out of the tank, and it is time to turn the faucet off.

Carefully Inspect Connections

Slowly and carefully inspect all connections of the water supply lines. If needed, tighten. Turn the gas valve back on to supply gas to the unit. Make a 50/50 mixture of dish soap and water, using a paint brush, lightly brush over the pipe checking for leaks. If bubbles occur, this is a sure sign you need to tighten the connection lines. Turn the circuit breaker back on, only after you have inspected all connections and there are no leaks.

However, though you may have the directions to install a hot water heater, you may not have the confidence or resources. An expert can help!

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