How to Install Electric Hot Water Heater

Installing an electric hot water heater

Whether you are fixing an old water heater or installing a new one, installing your electric hot water heater is an easy task. However, you will need to do some plumbing and electrical work before you can start the installation process. If you love DIY projects, this will be a fun and enjoyable task.

You will need to have some equipment that will aid in the installation process. Some of the necessary equipment you need are an electric water heater, garden hose, water heater drain pan, flexible hos kit, plumber’s tape, pressure gauge, and hand pump.

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of how to install electric hot water heater, let’s look at how to prepare before making the installation.

Preparation Before Installing an Electric Water Heater

You will need different tools and supplies for a successful installation. Getting ready before beginning the installation process will help save time and make work easier. Assemble all the necessary tools and materials you need before you embark on the installation process.

Some of the tools needed are:

  • Gloves
  • Pipe cutter
  • Voltage Detector
  • Safety glasses
  • Pencil
  • Hand Truck
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Screwdrivers

tools and materials needed

  • Buckets
  • Plumbers Tape
  • Garden Hose
  • Pressure Gauge
  • Plumbing Pipe and Pipe Fittings
  • Tire Gauge
  • Thermal Expansion Tank/ Pressure Tank
  • Electric Water Heater
  • Hand Pump
  • Wire Connectors
  • Bucket

After collecting all these requirements, it’s now time to install the water heater.

Installing an Electric Water Heater: Step by Step Guide

This is the part you have been waiting for! Now that you have all the tools and materials ready, it is time to replace your water heater. Read on to get the installation process of replacing an old water heater and installing a new heater from scratch.

Uninstalling The Old Hot Water Heater

Uninstall the old heater

These instructions will apply to installing new hot water heaters to replace worn-out heaters.

Before you begin the installation procedure, it is important to turn off the power circuit at the breaker box. In most cases, the water heater is supplied by a double-pole circuit breaker of 30-amp. Disconnect the electrical

Step One: Drain The Old Heater

Draining the worn-out heater will make it easy for the new water heater to carry off. You also get to cut of the mess caused at the worksite. If you are going to carry the old tank from the attic, draining it will make work easier.

Step Two: Shut Off Gas and Remove The Flue

Safety should be a priority during the entire installation process. Turning off the gas ensures that you steer off any accidents that electric issues might cause. Make sure the gas is turned off at the valve before you disconnect the gas line.

Check the flue to determine whether you can reuse it. If it is in good condition, keep it aside for use when installing the new water heater. However, it is good to be careful not to wrench the joints because they can become stiff, leading to breakage.

Step Three: Disconnect The Main Gas Line

Disconnect the main gas line

This is considered the most delicate step in the installation process. Disconnecting the gas line needs utmost care. Loosen the gas line slowly while keeping an ear out for the sound escaping explosive gas. If you hear the explosive gas sound, tighten the gas line as quickly as possible.

The sound should not occur when the gas line is switched off, but it is better safe than sorry. With the necessary precautions in place and you’ve managed to disconnect the gas line, remove the portion of the line that is still attached to the tank. You can reuse it if it is in good condition.

Step Four: Remove The Water Lines From The Old Tank

Cutting off the hot and cold water lines from your tank will have different procedures. When disconnecting the hot water side, draining the tank is recommended as it takes care of the mess that would result from cutting the line. When cutting the hot water line, you should ensure you cut close to the tank. If the valve is in the right shape, you can use it in the cold water line.

Now that you have installed the old hot water heater, it is time to install the new heater.

How To Install an Electric Water Heater

Installation of a new hot water heater is not as complicated as you think. The process is similar to taking out the old one; the only difference is that you need to work backward.

If you are installing a water heater for the first time, you might need to do the following.

Build a Platform

You will need a convenient place to place the tank. Find a flat surface and place a minimum of two blocks or a maximum of three. Putting the blocks on the floor helps prevent the tank from damage and ease water drainage.

Center the Tank

Slide the water tank on top of the blocks ensuring the drain faucet remains at the front. Rock the tank to ensure the blocks do not move. When the tank is in a stable position., the blocks are not supposed to budge.

Solder the Basics

One of the easiest skills to acquire is soldering fittings and copper tubing. In order to have a smooth smoldering process, you will need a propane gas torch, tuning, tubing cutter, fittings, paste soldering flux, a wire brush, steel wool, and lead-free solder. You can get the tools and materials at a hardware or home center near you.

Rules to follow: Mating surfaces should be covered with flux, fittings can’t be distorted or bent, and the tubing cuts have to be square.

First, cut a 6 to 8 inch 3/4 inch tubing to act as the cold water line. Use the tubing cutter to keep the wheel in a square position to the pipe while working.

Then clean the inside of all fittings using steel wool. However, if you have the brush designed for this kind of job, the better. Insert the brush into the fitting and turn the unit until the surface is clean.

Add flux inside the fitting and slide it over to the end of the tubing.

Heat the joint using the torchlight, the inner blue flame being 3/4 inches long. The flame’s tip should be at the top of the joint and heat until all flux melts. Given that copper conducts heat better, keeping the flame in one position will heat the whole joint.

Use some solder on top of the joint after the flame burns out. Push the solder to the end of the joint. Remember to make use of your gloves to avoid burning.

Installing the hot water unions has a similar procedure to that of cold water supply lines.

Once you finish assembling, use Teflon tape to seal pipe threads on the tank nipple, embedding it in a clockwise direction.

The tubing and adapter should be threaded onto the tank and tightened with an adjustable wrench. Join the halves of the union and tighten the nut.

Clean the shutoff valve for the cold line and move it to the end of the tubing. Solder it firmly in place. You can use a ball valve or gate valve the has sweat fittings.

After that, it is time to get the new electric water heater up and running!

Step One: Set The New Water Heater in Place

In a drain pan, place your new water heater. You can use a pipe to drain the pan to avoid flooding.

Step Two: Install the T&P discharge pipe and T&P valve

The temperature and relief valve (T&P valve) is a device that enables water to escape if the pressure in the tank rises to a hazardous level. Temperature and pressure relief are necessary every once in a while.

If the hot water heater does not have a valve, twist the new drain valve in place.

You should not not reuse an old valve because it is dangerous.

Step Three: Install the Discharge Pipe

Discharge pipe

The discharge pipe should be position towards the floor or a drainage system. A bucket can also be used to collect dripping water. Ensure that the pipe is not more than 6 inches above the draining bucket.

Pro Tip: You should only use a Copper or CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) pipe for temperature and pressure discharge.

Step Four: Connect the Water Source

Connect the water source

Using a flexible hose kit, hook up the water source. Use the plumber’s tape to secure heat trap nipples thread. Ensure the hose is connected to a tank with water.

Step Five: Install Necessary Fittings

Fittings depend on the metals present. Dielectric types are suitable when two metals are involved in preventing corrosion. Also, area codes in different parts dictate the installation specifics.

Step Six: Secure the Fittings

When you install a new heater, everything needs to be well secured. Use the plumber’s tape to secure the connector body threads to the hose. Connect the hose up the pipe and cut any slack to remove burrs.

Step Seven: Ensure the Compression Nut is Secure

Secure the connection nut

The compression nut should be ringed onto the pipe. Push the pipe up the fitting and ring the nut securely. If you experience any trouble during connection, consult the manufacturer’s guide.

Step Eight: Put the Seismic Straps in Place

Earthquakes might strike and damage your electric water heater system. But having a seismic strap will cushion you from any damages. Seismic traps brace your water tank against the wall preventing it from topping over. If you earthquakes are not common in your area, you can skip this step.

Using a socket and ratchet, secure one end of the strap to a stud. Wrap the strap around the new water heater and adjust it to size. Secure the bracket placed on the opposite side. Pull the strap and repeat this process for all straps.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instruction In case of any difficulty.

Step Nine: Fill the Water Tank

Use the nearest aerator and open the hot water line. Turn on the water supply and check for leaks. If the heater is leak-free, fill the water tank. If you experience any leaks, shut off the water supply and tighten up the connections. Repeat until all leaks are taken care of.

Repair all leaks

Step Ten: Flush the Tank

You will know the tank is full when water runs from the faucet. Leave the faucet running for three minutes to get rid of air and debris. The tank should be well filled before you attach the electric wiring to prevent dry frying. Dry fire ruins the electric element of the heater.

Step Eleven: Connect the Electrical Wiring

Connect the electrical wiring

Locate and remove the junction box cover. Attach the ground wire to the ground screw. The masking tape connection tape acts as a guide. Use the wire connectors to twist the wires together in readiness to transmit power.

Step Twelve: Turn The Power On

Turn power on

Place the junction box cover in place and secure it with a screw and a screwdriver. Turn on the power at the circuit. If the water heater doesn’t have power, turn off the circuit and look at the electrical connections.

Step Thirteen: Set Water Temperature

The water temperature should be set according to the instructions that came with the gadget. You will need to be patient because it may take several hours to heat up for the first time.

Step Fourteen: Check on The Discharge Pipe

A few hours after installation, check out the drainage pipe that is attached to the T& P relief valve. If the pipe is dripping, the pressure is high. Turn the pressure relief valve to ensure the pressure is below 80-PSI.

Step Fifteen: Check Aeration

One of the problems you might encounter after you install the heater is the faucet malfunction. If the faucet stops working, eject the aerator from the hot water faucet and let the water run to clear any loose sediment. Then rinse the aerator and replace it.

Your heater is now ready for use!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I install an electric water heater myself?

You can install an electric water heater without the help of a professional. You only need to have the right tools, materials, and a guide. DIY lovers will enjoy this activity since it involves plumbing and electrical work.

2. How do you hook up an electric hot water heater?

Hooking up water heaters varies from model to model. It will help if you look up the manufacturer’s instructions on the particular heater you buy.

3. What is the average cost to install an electric water heater?

The cost of installing an electric water heater varies depending on the brand and type you choose. However, the cost ranges from $1,000 to $3,000. Strive to get one that is within your budget.

4. Is it hard to install a water heater?

Installing a water heater is not hard if you have experience soldering copper and handy with plumbing and electric basic tools.

Wrapping Up

Installing a new water heater will be easy if you have the basics of plumbing and electrical knowledge. You will need to have tools and materials ready and follow the manufacturer’s guide. We have prepared a detailed guide to help make your work easier.

Before you begin, get your tools ready to minimize distractions. Remove the old heater, replace it with the new one, check for leaks, and turn on the power. You’re all done!

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