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How To Install a Water Heater

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Removing an Old Water Heater

The replacement water heater will go in pretty much in the reverse of the steps to take out the old one. So note your steps as you take the old water heater out. Start by turning off the power at the breaker for electric water heaters or turning off the gas at the nearest shut off valve for gas water heaters.

Next, turn off the water supply at the nearest shut off valve. Turn on the hot water taps throughout your home. In order to drain the tank, connect a garden hose to the drain valve of the water heater. You can drain it into a sink, toilet or to the outdoors. Use caution as the water may be hot, avoid situations where pets or children might interact with the hot water. Now open the drain valve to release all the water from the tank. Once empty, close the valve and disconnect the hose.

Next, disconnect the fuel or power. Test the wires with a meter to make certain the power is off before disconnecting any wires. Mark each wire as you disconnect it. It is often helpful to take a close-up photograph to refer to when reconnecting wires. If replacing a gas model, use a wrench to disconnect the gas line from the regulator on the front of the water heater.

Disconnect the water supply and hot water output connections. If these are hard-plumbed, you will probably have to cut the pipes. Cut them close to where they connect to the water heater.

If your water heater has vent, disconnect the vent shroud at the top of the water heater. Also, disconnect any bracing and remove any obstructions to allow removal of the tank.

The empty tank is both heavy and ungainly. It is very useful to have a helper to assist with the removal of the old heater as well as with positioning the replacement unit. Most garbage collection services offer a water heater pick-up program, contact your local service to schedule a pick-up.

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