The short answer to how long it takes to install a water heater is that it usually takes about two hours to install a water heater. However, the time it takes to install a water heater can vary depending on the type of water heater and the complexity of the installation. With that being said, expect a plumbing company to install traditional water heaters in a little more than an hour.
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How Long Does it Take to Install a Water Heater?
If you have a plumbing company do the water heater installation for you, be sure to ask how long it will take to plan your day accordingly.
Water supply line: 1-2 hours
Drain line: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Water heater: 2 hours
Total: 3-5 hours
Water supply lines
The water heater installation process begins with the water supply line, so it is essential to know where yours is located and how it functions before disconnecting water supply lines. You don’t want to cause a water heater leak.
The water supply line for a water heater is the pipe that delivers the cold water to the unit. The size and type of pipe used will depend on the water heater model you have.
Most homes have a 1/2-inch copper pipe, but some may have a 3/4-inch or larger diameter pipe. You will need to consult your water heater’s owner’s manual to determine the size and type of pipe you need.
Different types of fittings can connect the water supply line to the water heater. These include compression fittings, soldered fittings, and threaded fittings. Again, consult your owner’s manual or a licensed plumber to determine the best type of fitting for your water heater.
How do I install a hot water tank?
Most people don’t attempt a water heater installation on their own, but if you’re feeling handy, you can follow these steps:
Related article: How to Flush Your Water Heater
Water heater installation
1. Turn off the power source to your home at the breaker box.
The breaker box is usually located in the basement or garage. You need to find the main breaker and switch it to the “off” position to turn it off.
2. Shut off the cold water supply valve to the tank.
The cold water supply valve to your water heater is typically located near the bottom of the tank. To turn it off, simply turn the knob or handle clockwise until it stops.
3. Open a nearby faucet to release pressure in the tank.
Any nearby faucet will work. This pressure relief valve releases pressure in the water heater by allowing the water to flow out of the tank. The pressure is released because the water has somewhere to go instead of being trapped in the tank.
4. Disconnect the water supply line from the tank.
The water supply line on a water heater is generally located at the top of the tank. To disconnect it, you will need to turn off the water supply to the tank and then unscrew the line from the fitting.
5. Drain the tank by opening the drain valve at the bottom of the tank.
While it is safe for you to drain your water heater, you should always consult your owner’s manual before doing so. Additionally, it is important to note that draining your water heater may cause your warranty to become void. Therefore, please contact your tank’s manufacturer if you have any questions or concerns.
6. Remove the old anode rod from the tank (if present).
An anode rod is a metal rod that is inserted into the water heater to help protect it from corrosion. The anode rod sacrifices itself to corrosion instead of the tank, thus extending the tank’s life.
The anode rod is located near the top of the water heater. It is usually a long, thin rod made of metal.
7. Transport the new water heater to your home and position it in the desired location.
One of the best ways to transport and position a new water heater in your home is to use a dolly. This will allow you to easily move the tank and secure it. Make sure that you follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions when transporting and positioning the water heater.
8. Install the new anode rod in the tank (if present).
Assuming you have a typical water heater with an anode rod, the process for replacing it is as follows:
- Shut off the power to the water heater. If it’s a gas water heater, turn off the gas at the shutoff valve.
- Drain the tank by attaching a hose to the drain valve and running the water into a bucket or drain.
- Remove the old anode rod by unscrewing it from the tank. You may need a wrench to loosen it.
- Install the new anode rod by screwing it into place. Again, you may need a wrench to tighten it.
- Turn the power back on and open the shutoff valve.
- Check for leaks and make sure the anode rod is secure.
9. Connect the cold water supply line to the tank.
10. Turn on the power to your home at the breaker box.
11. Open the cold water supply valve to the tank.
12. Check for leaks at all connections.
There are a few ways to check for leaks in a newly installed water heater. One way is to simply turn on the water and look for any drips or leaks around the unit. Another way is to use a pressure gauge to test the unit’s pressure. If the pressure is too low, it may indicate a leak.
The pressure in the water heater is considered normal if it is within the range of 40 to 60 psi. If the pressure in your tank is outside of this range, it may indicate a problem with the tank itself.
13. Bleed air from the tank by opening the hot water faucet until water flows steadily from the tap.
This will ensure that all of the air has been purged from the system and that your water heater is operating correctly.
14. Close the hot water faucet.
15. Set the thermostat on the tank to the desired temperature.
To set the thermostat on a newly installed water heater, you will need to consult the user manual that came with the unit. Each model is different, and the instructions for setting the thermostat will be specific to your particular unit.
Generally speaking, you will need to locate the thermostat control knob or dial for a traditional water heater and turn it to the desired setting. Again, refer to your user manual for specific instructions.
When to get a new water heater?
Most experts and professionals will recommend replacing your water heater every 8 to 10 years. However, if your unit is more than 20 years old, it’s time to replace it.
Where to put your old water heater
Water heater installation is a fairly simple process to follow. But many people may be wondering, what do you do with the old water heater? Here are some tips on properly disposing of an old water heater.
- First, gas water heaters need to be disconnected from the gas line and a licensed plumber or specialist should professionally drain the tank. Once the tank is empty, you can cut it up and recycle the metal.
- If you have an electric water heater, you can simply unplug it and disconnect it from the power source. Then, drain the tank completely and recycle the metal.
In either case, be sure to check with your local recycling center to see if they will accept your old water heater. Some centers may have special requirements for disposing of these items.
If you can’t recycle your old hot water tank, you’ll need to dispose of it as hazardous waste. Contact your local solid waste department to properly dispose of hazardous waste in your area (1).
Choosing a New Water Heater
Now that you know how to install a water heater, you’ll need to choose the right water heater replacement for your home. There are a few things to consider when selecting a water heater replacement.
First, decide whether you want a gas or electric model. Gas models are more expensive to purchase and install, but they’re also more energy-efficient. Electric models are less expensive upfront, but they’ll cost more to operate over time.
Next, consider the size of the unit. You’ll need a bigger tank if you have a large family or if you use a lot of hot water. Conversely, a smaller tank will suffice if you live alone or have a small family.
Finally, think about the features you want in a water heater. For example, some models come with built-in timers, while others have energy-saving features. Choose the most important features to you and compare prices to find the best deal.
How do I know if I need a new water heater?
There are a few things you can look for to know when it is time to replace your water heater. First, if your unit is more than 10 years old, it might be time for an upgrade. You may also notice that your energy bills have increased recently, which could be due to an inefficient water heater. Finally, if your water heater is making strange noises or leaking, it is time for a replacement.
What are tankless water heaters?
Tankless water heaters are a newer type of water heater that doesn’t use a storage tank. Instead, they heat water on demand, saving you money on your energy bill. Tankless water heaters are more expensive than traditional models, but they’re also more efficient. So if you’re interested in saving money and reducing your carbon footprint, a tankless water heater might be the right choice for you.
There are many benefits of a tankless water heater:
- First, they’re more energy-efficient, which can save you money on your energy bill.
- They also take up less space, which is ideal if you have a small home or apartment.
- Additionally, tankless water heaters provide an endless hot water supply, so you’ll never have to worry about running out.
Once your tank is installed use this Hot Water Tank Maintenance Checklist
(1) – https://www.epa.gov/hw/household-hazardous-waste-hhw