Water Heater Installation: A DIY Guide

Water Heater Installation

Water heater installation may seem to be a job for the pros, but it’s not as challenging as you think. It is probably the easiest to call a plumber for this kind of service, but you can do it yourself. This installation will save a lot of money and time.

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Installing the heater, yourself is not difficult, yet you should not underestimate the challenges in the process. It is also notable for acquiring enough knowledge before diving into the process; otherwise, you will find yourself in a spot of bother.

Things to Consider Before Installation

Consider a few things before you go onto the installation process yourself.

Source of Energy or Fuel

The first thing is to check the energy source, which you will review before purchasing a new water heater. The most common energy sources for a water heater are gas and electricity. If you are replacing your older water heater, it is better to go with the same fuel, or it depends on your constraints.

Size of the Water Heater

Afterward, you will need to determine the size of your water heater. If you are installing a new water heater, choose the size such that the load can increase in the coming years, and the heater should be able to deal with the increasing demand. If you are replacing an older version, buy the next bigger size compared to the size of your previous heater.

Steps to Water Heater Installation

If you are a beginner and want to install the water heater on your own, this guide is for you. Here are the steps that you need to follow for water heater installation.

1.      Prepare the Tools

A soldier cannot fight a battle without the armory; such is the importance of plumbing tools for installing a water heater. Therefore, it is essential to prepare your tools, and we have made a list of the essential tools you will need to accomplish the mission. You can find the list below:

  •         Screwdriver and wrench set
  •         Drill
  •         Measuring tape
  •         Teflon tape
  •         Level
  •         Stepladder
  •         Electric current tester
  •         Garden hose
  •         Pipe cutter or hacksaw

2.      Position the Water Heater and Install Earthquake Straps

The first step is to position the water heater correctly, and you can do that by following these simple steps:

  • Use a water heater drain pan as the indicator to position your new water heater—you can prevent potential flooding by setting the heater on the drain pan and connecting a pipe from the drain pan to the drain. If your water heater doesn’t have one, measure the hot and cold water pipe lengths to ensure correct clearance for the new unit.
  • Place the water heater on the bottom pan and cut and remove old piping if you are replacing about dated version.
  • The next step is to install the earthquake straps.
  •  Make sure the air filter and front panel are accessible.
  • Use shims to Check that the unit is level. A shim is a piece of material used for leveling the taper ends. Shims are usually made of plastic, metal, or wood.

3.      Get Rid of the Pipework

After you position the heater, you have to complete the pipework. The following steps will elaborate on the procedure for pipework.

  • Bridge water pipes using flexible pipes. Teflon tape is an excellent option to use on all threaded connections.
  • There is a valve named temperature/pressure relief valve (TPV); you need to install this valve.
  • Insulation is mandatory to keep the water heated, and you can do that using a flexible pipe.
  • Now, turn on the hot water faucet and then the cold water faucet to fill the tank.

how to install a water heater

4.      Drainage Connection

Drainage connection is a vital step in the procedure. Point the PVC pipe from the port on the heater to the drain. You can point to an existing drain. However, if it is draining outdoors, insulate to avoid freezing. If there’s no drain, a condensate pump is a must-have.

5.      Source Connections

If you are installing an electric water heater, you need to make electrical connections and feed the water heater with the electrical supply. It is better to provide a dedicated safety breaker to the water heater’s connection to protect it against any electrical issue. A separate breaker can also help you do the heater’s maintenance without disturbing the electrical supply of other parts of the house.

If your water heater operates on gas, you need to install a connection pipe to feed the heater with the fuel. Make sure to turn off the main supply while making the connections.

6.      Turn On and Test

It’s time to check the results of what you have done in an hour or so. Turn on the supply water heater and review for the leakages, if any. Afterward, check if the water heater is heating the water. If everything is all right, you have done a great job.


Water heater installation is not as difficult as it may seem to be. You can install your water heater with instructions to help you through the process. If you keep an eye on the installation guide and read this article, it is sure that you will succeed in completing the process.

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