DIY Guide: How to Install and Repair a Water Heater Like a Pro
Updated: Apr 27
A water heater is an essential appliance in your home that provides hot water for showers, baths, and cleaning. Over time, your water heater may require repair or replacement. Installing or repairing a water heater can seem intimidating, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be a straightforward process. In this article, we will cover how to install or repair a water heater, step-by-step.
Before starting, it's essential to understand the type of water heater you have. There are two primary types of water heaters: tankless and tank-based. Tank-based heaters store hot water in a large tank and continuously heat it, while tankless heaters heat water on-demand. The installation process for each type is different, and it's important to understand the differences before starting.
How to Install a Tank-Based Water Heater
Turn off the power and water supply. Locate the breaker box and switch off the power supply to the water heater. Turn off the water supply to the water heater. Note: some tanks are electric, while others heat with gas. If gas, turn off the gas supply line.
Drain the old tank. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Open the valve and drain the old tank. Open a hot water faucet to break the vacuum and drain the tank faster.
Disconnect the old tank. Once the tank is empty (and gas, power, and water valves are turned to the off position as completed in step one), disconnect the electrical wiring and the water connections. If gas, remove the exhaust vent and disconnect the gas line, as well. Cut the copper water lines with a tubing cutter.
Install the new tank. Place the new tank in the same location as the old tank. Connect all applicable connections. Solder the copper water line and connect the gas line, if applicable. Check for leaks. Gas lines can be checked with some dish soap. If you see bubbles, the line is not fully connected and must be addressed.
Fill and test the new tank. Open a hot water faucet in your home and turn on the water supply to the tank. This will help any air bubbles escape the system and ensure you get the most out of your new tank and don't damage it. Once the tank is full, turn on the power supply and test the hot water flow. If gas operated, see owners manual for lighting the gas pilot.
How to Install a Tankless Water Heater
Turn off the power and water supply. Locate the breaker box and switch off the power supply to the water heater. Turn off the water supply to the water heater.
Install the mounting bracket. Mount the bracket to the wall where you plan to install the water heater.
Install the water connections. Connect the cold water and hot water pipes to the unit. Use Teflon tape to ensure a tight seal.
Connect the gas supply. If you have a gas-powered tankless heater, connect the gas supply to the unit. Be sure to check for leaks.
Test the water heater. Turn on the water supply and power supply to the unit. Test the hot water flow.
How to Repair a Water Heater
Check the pilot light. If the pilot light is out, follow the manufacturer's instructions to relight it.
Check the thermostat. If the water is not hot enough, check the thermostat setting. Adjust the thermostat as needed.
Check the heating element. If you have an electric water heater, the heating element may need to be replaced. Turn off the power supply and follow the manufacturer's instructions to replace the element.
Check for leaks. If you notice water pooling around the base of the water heater, there may be a leak. Check the water connections and the tank itself for leaks. If you find a leak, turn off the power and water supply to the unit and call a professional plumber.
In conclusion, installing or repairing a water heater is not as complicated as it may seem. With the right tools and knowledge, you can complete the job yourself. You must follow local and any state rules when installing your water heater. You may need a permit and will need to install the water heater within code. Some states or local municipalities may require a licensed plumber to do the installation. If you're unsure about any aspect of the installation or repair process and/ or you are required by law to have a licensed plumber perform that installation or repair, don't hesitate to call Premium Rooter Plumbing Services for assistance.
(Disclaimer: Premium Rooter Plumbing Services takes no responsibility for any and all damages or injuries to persons or property resulting from following the steps in this article. For professional installations, contact Premium Rooter Plumbing Services.)