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How to Install an Electric Water Heater

November 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Plumbing Service, Tips, Water Heater

Waterheater installationTo install an electric water heater, you will need your basic plumbing tools, a voltmeter or circuit tester, pipe joint compound compliant with potable water, and a metal drain pan if your local code requires it.

If the home has copper pipes, an installation kit containing compression fittings that don’t need soldering is ideal. If the home has plastic pipes, you will need a kit that contains connectors or fittings that match the pipe.

Preparing for Installation

Turn off the disconnect switch and circuit or pull the fuse that goes to the heater. Check all incoming wires with the voltmeter to ensure power is cut off. If unsure, consult with a plumber.

Next, open a hot water faucet to let the hot water run until cool. The cold water supply to the heater should be off. A garden hose connected to the drain valve with the other end going to an outside drain or bucket will drain the tank.

Third, the expansion tank attached to the cold-water inlet line will need to be pressurized with air. Consult with a plumber with questions or refer to the tank’s instructions. You can open the pressure relief valve to relieve pressure, but do not reuse the valve. The discharge pipe to the tank should be placed according to local code.

Install Water Lines

Pipe should not be directly soldered to the connections. Threaded adapters should be soldered to short pipe pieces so that soldering occurs a foot or more from the water heater connections. The cold water supply valve should be turned on so the new tank will fill. Opening a hot-water faucet will emit air and sputtering at first.

Evaluate for Leaks and Set the Thermostat

Check connections for leaks. Most leaks involve connections. If you need help, you can call a plumber. If there are no leaks, check the wiring diagram on the water heater to ensure electrical connections are sound. The ground wire should also be connected to the green ground screw. Now you can turn the power back on.

After the power is on, set the upper and lower thermostats. The recommended temperature is 120 degrees. Because the water in the water heater is cold, it will take several hours for it to heat. In the meantime, replace all plastic protectors, covers, and doors. Check water pressure after a few hours. If the pressure isn’t normal, use a voltmeter to check incoming voltage. Also check temperature settings. If issues still exist, contact a plumber.

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