How to Install an Electric Water Heater

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Installing an electric water heater is not brain surgery--especially if you are replacing one electric heater with another of a similar size. The only real difficulties can lie in running new water lines, if necessary, and in making certain that you have an electrical connection for your new heater that is the proper voltage (120 or 240 volts). If a new electrical connection is necessary consult an expert; it is not recommended that a novice run new electrical lines, especially a 240 volt line.

Things You'll Need

  • Electrical hot hot heater
  • Couplings for making water connections as per manufacturer's instructions.
  • Two Flex Hoses
  • Pipe Wrench
  • Crescent Wrench
  • Plumber's Tape

Installing an Electric Water Heater

  • Find a level and secure place to set up your heater. Make certain that a cold water line is available coming into the bottom of your heater and that a hot water line is available to come out of the top of your heater before you move your heater into place.

  • Turn off the water. Set your new heater in place with all controls and fittings easily accessible. Level the heater using shims if necessary. Put a heat-retaining blanket around the heater to conserve energy. If living in "earthquake country," attach a strap around the tank and bolt the ends of the strap into wall studs.

  • Using your flex hose and your wrenches connect the cold water pipe into the cold water inlet at the bottom of the tank. Before screwing fittings together, wrap plumbers tape around the threads of the male couplings.

  • Connect the hot water outlet at the top of your tank to the hot water line using your flex hose. Again, wrap plumber's tape around the threads of the male couplings and make certain that all connections are tight.

  • Turn on several hot water taps in the house to bleed air out of your water lines. Turn on water to the new heater and carefully check each fitting for leaks. Turn off the taps in the house when they are running normally without "spitting" air. When you are certain there are no leaks plug the new unit in and wait for the water to heat, following the tank manufacturer's instructions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Normally electrical water heaters do not require special venting, but check with your particular manufacturer first to make sure that you do not need venting.

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