Replacing your water heater is a significant home improvement project that needs to be done correctly. It requires specialized plumbing, electrical and gas work.
Regardless of the type of water heater you need, hiring a professional to do the job right is always best. This will save you time, money, and frustration.
Obtaining a Permit
There are a few different types of permits that you can obtain when installing a new water heater. These can include a plumbing permit or an electrical permit.
These permits vary from state to state, so check your local laws for more information.
The main reason that a permit is required for water heaters is to ensure that the installation meets safety regulations. This includes scalding, legionella bacteria growth, fuel gas leaks, ignition sources, fires, explosions, water leak damage/mold, and structural stability.
Most cities and towns will have a simple process for obtaining these permits, and you don’t need to be an expert at plumbing or electricity to get the job done. This is an essential step for homeowners, as it prevents a lot of potential hazards and keeps your home safe.
Choosing a Water Heater
Choosing a new water heater is a complicated process. You must consider several factors, including fuel type, energy efficiency, and size.
Licensed plumbing specialists can help you choose the best unit to meet your needs and provide hot water that is safe, reliable, and efficient. They have years of industry experience and are experts in the water heater models that are most suited for your home.
They will also be able to help you evaluate the installation cost and the annual operating costs associated with the model. They also know the different energy-saving features available in today’s market.
The process can be pretty simple if you are ready to install a new water heater. But if you are not an experienced plumber, hiring a professional to complete the installation correctly and safely is recommended.
First, you must determine the type of water heater needed for your home. You will have three options: a gas, electric, or tankless model.
Before installing, check with your local plumbing codes for requirements and regulations. This will ensure your installation is safe and complies with all necessary code standards.
Then, get the right tools for your job. For instance, a lifting trolley or a forklift will help you lift the water heater and align it with the pipes.
Installing the Water Heater
Knowing what to expect when you’re ready to install a new water heater is essential. The process varies depending on whether you have a gas or electric model.
Regardless of your choice, disconnecting the old one is the first step in installing the new water heater. This involves shutting off the power source and draining the tank.
Next, cut the hot and cold water lines using a tube cutter. This can be messy, so use two people to help you.
Once the pipes are cut, solder them together. Solder in a pair of 45-degree elbows to offset lines that don’t align correctly. If your local codes require plastic-lined nipples, install them before you connect the cables. Then, click the temperature and pressure relief valve to the tank.
Testing the Water Heater
If installing an electric water heater, you must test the heating elements. They have a short lifespan and can be weakened by mineral deposits in your water supply.
To do this, first, locate your electric circuit breaker and turn it off. Next, flip the metal cover on your water heater box open.
Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the metal panel(s) on either side of your water heater. This should reveal a plastic safety cover and insulation depending on the age of your heater.
Using a multimeter, set the dial to the lowest ohms setting (the ohms symbol O looks like an upside-down horseshoe). Touch one probe of your multimeter to the loosened screw on the face of the element and the other probe to any metal part of the unit.