Home Improvement

DIY Water Heater Installation: Can You Do It Yourself?

The typical water heater lasts between 11 to 14 years, depending on the heating method and maintenance routine. Without a maintenance routine, you’re looking at closer to eight years.

Are you looking at a water heater installation a little earlier than you thought? It’s a major appliance that usually comes with a major price tag, so DIYing your project could save you considerable money.

Although, two questions come up right away. Should I DIY my water heater installation? How can I do it?

Keep reading to find out the answers to questions like this!

Should You DIY Your Water Heater Installation?

Before taking on your water heater installation, you need to consider a few things about it. What kind of water heater are you going to buy?

Electric water heaters require a bit of electrical knowledge, and natural gas or propane a little less so. Your skills for dealing with natural gas and propane should be top notch before you even attempt it. This is especially true with tankless water heaters.

Gas leaks can kill, cause breathing problems, dizziness, flu symptoms, cause headaches, and explosions.

Water heater installs are not the place to learn about installing natural gas or propane appliances or soldering. It’s best to leave it to the local professionals if you’ve never worked with it before.

Lastly, you’ll need the tools to do the job. Here’s a list of common tools you’ll need to do the job well. Again, if you don’t have access to these tools, it’s best not to proceed on your own.

  • Safety goggles or glasses
  • Plumber’s tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Tape measure
  • Voltage tester
  • Wire stripper and cutter
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pipe wrench
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Soldering torch
  • Fire Extinguisher

How You Can DIY Water Heater Installation

Before you start, you may need to obtain building permits to install a new tank. Check with your local rules regarding appliance installation first.

The materials you’ll need, other than your new water tank, are:

  • Fittings
  • Connector
  • Pipe thread compound
  • Solder
  • Water and gas piping
  • Discharge pipe
  • Vent pipe
  • Pressure relief valve

We can take this step-by-step now that you have all the materials. Remember that you don’t want plastic piping within 6″ of your tank. If you have CPVC piping, you can get a special plastic-to-copper connector.

It’s a twelve-step process to removing and connecting your new water tank.

  1. Shut off the gas, water, and electricity to your water heater
  2. Drain the water in your water tank
  3. If you have a gas heater, remove the gas line from the control valve
  4. remove the draft hood vent pipe if you have a gas heater
  5. Cut the water lines off
  6. Attach the temperature and pressure relief valve to the new appliance
  7. Attach your new pipe assemblies to the new water heater
  8. Alight and attach the new pipe assemblies to the existing water lines
  9. Reattach the vent and vent hood
  10. Connect the gas control valve to the gas line
  11. Check for backdrafting
  12. Use a soap and water mix to check for leaks at all gas connections

Things Are Heating Up

Let’s be clear about something as we finish. It’s important to get your water heater installation done right, than it is to save some money. This is especially true when flammable gases are involved.

Now that you know how to install your water heater, you might need tips on soldering or other home improvement skills. Keep browsing our articles to get up to speed quick!

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