Water Heater Installation Tips

Water Heater Installation Tips

Depending on your home’s location and the type of water heater you choose, installation costs can vary. This project is best left to the professionals at https://tidalplumbingnyc.com/.

Water Heater

Connect a new temperature and pressure relief valve to the top of the tank. Cut a length of copper tube and solder it to the valve’s opening.

Water heaters need to be properly vented to remove combustion gases, which can pose a safety risk. Improper venting can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or fires in the home. When installing a gas-style water heater, make sure it is connected to an approved venting system with adequate size, height, and draft. Consult the National Fuel Gas Code (ANSI Z223.1-NFPA 54) and local building and plumbing codes for venting requirements.

There are several types of water heater venting systems. The most common is atmospheric venting, which uses a vertical duct that runs upward to carry exhaust gases from the water heater and through the roof (likely via the property’s chimney).

Chimney-Style Venting: Often used with natural gas-fueled water heaters, this type of venting utilizes an existing chimney to remove combustion gases. Depending on the setup, it may use an electric fan in order to create better airflow and/or venting pressure.

Power Venting: This type of water heater venting is sometimes used with electric water heaters. Rather than using an unused chimney or flue, it uses inlet and outlet vent pipes to create a flow. This is a highly effective form of ventilation because it uses inlet and outlet pipes to create the necessary flow of exhaust gases, which can be assisted by an electric fan.

The venting system must be properly sized for the water heater, and it must not be shared with another gas-fueled appliance or flue, such as a fireplace or a solid-fuel stove. The venting system must also be free of blockages and obstructions.

If you decide to do your own water heater installation, you’ll need a variety of tools and supplies, including copper tubing, tube cutters, teflon tape, solder, copper slip couplings, and copper adapters. A pipe wrench and screwdriver are also helpful. Unless you are experienced working with electrical wiring, it’s best to have a licensed electrician or an electrical inspector check your work and connect the electric wires.

Once the new water heater is in place, attach the temperature and pressure relief valves. These should be purchased from your local hardware store and are rated for the specific water heater. They are typically installed in a location near the bottom of the water heater and can be secured with metal screws.

Electrical Connections

Electric water heaters require an electrical connection to provide power to the heating elements. Most homes have a 240-volt circuit that supplies this, although this will vary from home to home. If you don’t have an existing circuit, a certified electrician will need to add one.

Before touching any wiring or wire connections, shut off the breaker that powers the water heater. This is typically a 30-amp double-pole breaker, and you can confirm that the power is off with a noncontact voltage tester. You will also need to remove the junction box cover to access these wires, and you should wear gloves during this step to prevent electrical shock.

After shutting off the breaker, drain your water heater by opening both hot and cold taps in an upstairs faucet positioned closest to the system’s lowest point. You will then attach a garden hose to the valve at the bottom of your water heater, turn on the hose to flush out the system, and make sure all connections are secure.

Once the pipes are connected, it is important to install a new temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P). This will protect your house from damage caused by excess pressure from the tank. Ensure that your new valve is the same size as your old one and that it is rated by the American National Standards Institute for your home’s water heater.

In most homes, the electrical connection to the water heater is made with copper or PEX pipes. If you are using copper, you should use compression fittings or dielectric unions. These tools will allow you to connect the pipe without soldering, and they are available at most hardware stores. Most water heater installation kits come with the appropriate fittings for your pipes and include a pipe wrench to help you install them.

When installing your water heater, remember that a 240-volt circuit carries live current on both the black and white wires. Make sure you connect the correct wires to the terminals on the water heater, and wrap the white wire with black electrical tape at both ends of the circuit (at the breaker box and the water heater) to indicate that it carries live electricity. You should also connect the circuit ground wire to either a green ground screw on the water heater or to the circuit’s ground lead.

Plumbing Connections

When the new water heater is in place, plumbing connections must be made. Most residential tanks require copper water lines from the gas valve and cold and hot water inlet ports to your home’s water pipes. These lines can be connected with copper pipe soldering, compression fittings, or dielectric unions. Some installation kits include flexible stainless steel connectors that don’t need soldering and can be used with PEX, CPVC, or copper water pipes. If you’re using the latter, check your local plumbing codes to make sure they are compatible with your piping. In some areas, you must use short plastic-lined “nipples” to shield the pipes from galvanic corrosion, especially if you have hard water or if your city requires it.

Before you start working, disconnect the existing hot and cold water supply lines from the old water heater using tubing cutters. Connect the water lines to the new water heater using compression fittings or union fittings. If your new water heater is a different size than the old one, cut the water lines to match and install adapters at the ends of the lines. You can also add short, plastic-lined nipples to the ends of the water pipes for added protection against galvanic corrosion.

You must also install a pressure relief valve and a temperature and pressure gauge on the new water heater. The temperature and pressure gauges help you keep track of the tank’s performance, while the relief system will release excess heat and pressure automatically.

If you’re installing a new gas water heater in an area with flammable or combustible materials, install a metal or fiberglass jacket around the heater to protect it from fires and explosions. You should also insulate the water pipes to help reduce energy costs.

Before you start the project, make sure that you have a permit from your local building department. Many states have regulations on water heater installations, including specific rules for venting and electrical connections. Failure to follow these regulations can result in fines and potential safety problems. A professional plumber can ensure that your water heater installation complies with all local codes.


A faulty water heater can cause cold showers and other problems that are expensive to fix. It’s critical that you follow all the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a new water heater. Missing or partially completing one step may lead to a faulty unit that malfunctions and floods your home. Moreover, you must use the correct materials and tools for the job, as specified in the instructions. These materials can include discharge pipes, fittings, tees, gas valves, copper pipe and water heater insulation, solder, plumbing tape, pressure release valves, and more.

Start by removing the old water heater, which will be heavy and will need to be taken away for disposal or recycling. If you’re not able to take the heater out yourself, hire a removal service for a safe and quick process.

After removing the old unit, turn off the power to the water heater and disconnect its drain line. Then, connect the new water supply lines to the hot and cold inlets on the new water heater. If necessary, solder the connections. You also need to install a temperature and pressure relief valve. There should be an opening for it on the bottom of the unit. Buy a replacement valve that’s rated the same as your heater; refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for optimal torque.

Vent the water heater to the outside using a stainless steel pipe sized to fit the vent opening on the new water heater. Make sure the pipe is spliced into a tee and that all joints are sealed with heat-resistant silicone caulk. Add a plastic lining “nipple” to the intake valve to protect against galvanic corrosion if your area has hard water or if it’s required by local codes.

Once the pipe connections are complete, replace the junction box cover on the new water heater and connect the home’s bare copper or green ground wire to its green ground screw. Use your label tags or a picture of the original wiring connections as a guide to reconnect them. After connecting all the wire sets, use a volt meter to check for a plugged-in circuit.