Water heaters are among the most essential household appliances. It is important that you know how to handle yours properly, from ensuring safety and efficiency to making sure you are up to code.
Be sure to shut off the gas and water supply before working on a water heater. Also, drain the old unit before you remove it. For professional assistance, contact Water Heater Installation Denver now!
If you’re a homeowner who is handy with home improvement projects, a water heater installation is a relatively simple DIY task that can save you money. You can find a tank-style water heater at your local hardware store, and mounting it to the wall is easy enough. Just be sure to follow the printed instructions and safety warnings, which are also included with your new unit. Before you start work, check your water heater’s data plate to make sure it matches your home’s voltage, circuit breaker size, and plumbing connections.
Before you mount the tank, remove your existing water heater by unscrewing it from its vent hood and disconnecting the hot and cold water pipes with a tube cutter or pipe wrench. Then, reposition the vent shaft and draft hood to match the position of your new water heater. Before you reconnect any of the water lines, open every hot water outlet in your home and run water through them to clear out any debris that may be clogging them.
Connect the new cold and hot water pipes to the copper adapters on the top of your new water heater. If your city requires it or you have hard water, add short, plastic-lined nipples to shield your plumbing from galvanic corrosion. Solder these nipples to the copper pipes by using a soldering iron and a soldering kit, which is available at most hardware stores.
After you’ve connected the new water pipes, screw the copper adapters to their ports on the top of your new water heater. Using the label tags or pictures from the old setup as a guide, make sure you connect the wires to the correct terminals on the junction box. You can also check the water heater’s data plate to ensure the wire sizes and colors are correct.
Before you turn on the power to the water heater, shut off your house’s main gas valve by turning off the meter and moving the valve to the “Off” position. Also, turn off the electrical connections by switching the breaker to the “Off” position. Then, drain the water heater by opening the drain valve on the bottom of your tank.
Checking for Leaks
Water heater leaks aren’t always easy to locate. They can be hidden behind the insulating blanket and difficult to see when there’s a puddle around the unit. If a leak is found, it’s important to take the necessary steps to fix it quickly. This will prevent the water from leaking into areas where it’s not supposed to go, causing damage and leaving you with expensive repairs.
Leaks are often the result of failed components or rust in the tank itself. However, the leaks can also be caused by a number of other things such as the pipes, fittings, or a faulty drain valve. Depending on where the leaks are coming from, it may be necessary to replace your water heater.
If the leaking water is originating from the top of the tank, it’s probably due to excessive pressure in the cold water supply lines. The water supply pipes feeding into the tank are usually connected by metal tubing which can be susceptible to corrosion over time. The water pressure is controlled at the outside water meter and can sometimes be over 100 pounds per square inch (psi). This excess pressure can create excess stress on the metal of the tubing and cause leaks.
A leak from the bottom of the tank is most likely due to the drain valve. This is commonly a copper pipe with a spigot on the top that resembles a garden hose valve. This can be easily fixed by replacing the drain valve, which is usually relatively inexpensive.
Another common leak point is the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR Valve). This is located on the top of the tank and is typically a copper tube with an on/off spout that looks just like the spigot on your garden hose. If this valve is leaking, it’s important to replace it immediately.
Gas leaks from a water heater are extremely dangerous and must be dealt with right away. If you suspect a gas leak, shut off your water supply at the main valve to your home and open a hot and cold faucet in an upstairs room that’s closest to the system. This will allow you to drain the water heater and lower the gas pressure in your house.
Checking for Rebates
Water heaters are one of the most important home appliances, but they’re also often ignored – until they break down. Attempting to replace a water heater without professional help can cost you big bucks in repairs and energy costs. It can also be dangerous because improper installation could lead to carbon monoxide leaks and a host of other problems.
Thankfully, it’s not impossible for a handy homeowner to install an electric water heater. That said, we don’t recommend DIYers do it. If you’re not a plumber, you could wind up with a giant mess and a water heater that doesn’t work properly. Plus, you’ll likely spend more money hiring someone to do it than you would have if you just paid for an expert.
If you are installing a new gas water heater, it’s important to check for rebates before purchasing. Many areas have programs that provide cash back for appliances that meet specific energy efficiency standards, usually tied to the ENERGY STAR program. These programs are meant to encourage consumers to purchase energy efficient appliances that save them money and reduce their environmental impact.
Gas tankless water heaters are popular as replacements for old storage models because they save up to 50% on energy expenses. They also cut water heating costs by only heating water when it’s needed. The first step in sizing a gas tankless water heater is to determine your peak hour usage. This is when you and your family use the most hot water, such as during showers and washing dishes.
Once you know your peak hour usage, you can size a tankless water heater by using the first-hour rating (FHR). The FHR is a number that tells you how many gallons of hot water the unit can produce in an hour.
If you’re planning to install an ENERGY STAR certified gas tankless water heater, you can get a $100 rebate plus $1.25 per gallon capacity. You can also receive a $50 rebate for converting from an electric to a gas water heater. To qualify for the rebate, you must buy and have your new gas water heater installed in your house before August 1, 2023.
Checking for Safety
If you have a gas water heater, be sure it’s properly installed and that there are no leaks. Likewise, make sure your electric water heater has a working temperature and pressure relief valve. This can prevent damage if the tank or pipes overheat.
Figure out how much hot water you use during peak times, then choose a heater with a capacity slightly larger than your estimated usage. This will ensure that you have enough hot water available at all times, including during a busy shower or washing machine cycle.
Remove the electrical cover plate at the top of your old water heater. Disconnect the black and white wires, then mark them with pieces of tape so you know where to connect them to your new heater. Remove the cover from the junction box at the top of your electric water heater and unscrew the wire connectors. Connect the new heater’s wires to the circuit breaker using the same procedure.
If your heater has a flue, check that there’s a good draft. A good draft will draw combustion fumes up through the vent pipe and out of your house. If not, these fumes could leak into your home and cause a deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
Install a shut-off valve before and after your water heater. This will let you shut off the water supply to the heater for maintenance without cutting off water to the rest of your home. Opt for a copper valve to help keep your water clean and to avoid galvanic corrosion.
Before you switch over to your new water heater, purge air in your house by opening hot and cold taps positioned closest to the system’s lowest point. This will drain the remaining water and relieve pressure in your pipes.
Move the new water heater into place, connecting it to your existing piping as needed. For example, you might need to solder in a few elbows or offset the line to the new heater with pairs of 45-degree elbows. You’ll also want to solder in dielectric unions, which will let you disconnect the water heater for maintenance or repairs without having to cut and solder pipes.