How to Replace a Water Heater Correctly and Save Money


A water heater has a lifespan of about twelve years before it needs to be replaced. Following these guidelines will help you avoid expensive and perhaps harmful pitfalls while maximizing the life of your new water heater.

When setting up the new machinery, adhere to any applicable building regulations. Getting a building permit and having the latest installation inspected is recommended. A professional plumber should know and abide by all applicable regional safety regulations.

If possible, you should switch out the old machinery for something similar in size and form. This will simplify the process of putting in the new machinery. Pipe, power, fuel, and vent connections won’t have to be moved, or at least not as often.

The pipe leading from the T&P relief valve should be installed such that water drains away from the valve. T&P valves are typically installed on the water heater’s roof or one of its walls. It has a brass body and a silvery handle in most cases. The T&P valve serves as an essential safety feature. If the T&P valve develops a leak anywhere along its length, the downward-flowing nature of the discharge pipe will indicate the valve is broken and in need of replacement.

The T&P discharge pipe should have a minimum of 3/4-inch diameter, and its size should not be altered throughout the pipe’s journey. Copper or CPVC piping, which can withstand high temperatures, should be used. If the T&P valve opens, the line should end no more than six inches off the ground or floor to prevent injury. Do not attach the pipe to the house’s sewage system. The discharge pipe should end with at least a one-inch air gap. The most prevalent issue with T&P systems is broken or missing discharge pipes.

Whether the water heater is in the basement, the garage, or the attic, it should always be placed in a particular drop pan designed for this reason. If the equipment is located in a potentially damaging area, such as an attic or basement, a drain pipe should be attached to the drip pan and lead outside.

If there is an existing flexible gas link, replace it. Gas connectors are corrugated pipes that can be bent to connect appliances. Typically, their length falls between 12 and 18 inches. Manufacturers of gas connectors advise against recycling used connectors.

If the cold water shutdown valve is an outdated gate valve, it should be replaced. Typically, gate valves resemble garden hose valves and are operated by turning a wheel-shaped handle. Age can cause gate valves to leak or seize open, rendering them useless. Having the plumber out to install new appliances is an excellent time to upgrade from a cheap gate valve to a higher-quality ball valve.

If your water heater has flexible water connectors, you should replace them. Flexible corrugated copper pipes are used for water connections. Not every piece of machinery has one installed. Although replacing water supply fittings is not strictly necessary, doing so is a small price for peace of mind. Always replace these connections in areas with aggressive water, like Florida. Avoid bending water pipe fittings so much that the inside diameter is diminished.

Use three sheet metal screws to attach the gas vent to the draft hood and other vent components. Carbon monoxide can enter a home through vents that have become disconnected or have become loose.

Dielectric fittings must be used when joining copper pipe to steel water heater connections. The connections could rust and leak without these specific fittings.

If your water heater is in the garage, ensure the bottom heating element (for gas) or gas burner (for electric) is at least 18 inches above the floor. The possibility of gasoline vapors in the garage catching fire is reduced.

If you live in a state with a high danger of earthquakes, like California, you should anchor the equipment to the structure of your home.

When placed correctly, water heaters can serve their owners reliably for decades. By following these guidelines, you may rest assured that your installation is secure and save money on repairs before listing your house for sale.


Errors and flaws in construction are expensive and might endanger the lives of your loved ones. Whether you do the job yourself or hire a professional, the Everybody’s Building Code will help you prevent common faults and blunders. The International Residential Code is broken down in Everybody’s Building Code and explained in simple terms with numerous illustrations. Read up on how to do things correctly the first time by visiting.

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