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The Home Depot

Water Heater Installation Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > Water Heater Installation Guide
Water Heater Installation Guide

Bathing in ice cold water is something that penguins like to do. Same with Polar bears. However, the folks who call Coldwater, Michigan their home are like the rest of us. These residents enjoy a nice hot bath or a steaming shower, too.

  1. 1.Gas or Electric

    Enlist a friend to assist with the heavy lifting. When you make your purchase, ask if the delivery people will cart the old one away. Just make sure when the delivery people arrive, the old one is disconnected.

    You have either a gas-powered or an electric water heater. If you want to do the old switcheroo – convert from one form of energy to another – your best tool for this project is a telephone. Call a plumber.


    Plan to continue to use gas? You also need to bring in a pro. It’s never wise to engage in a project which employs gas if you don’t know what you’re doing. Call a plumber.


    Going to stay electric? Then let’s round-up some tools. Here’s what you’ll need: screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches, pliers and a hacksaw. Is the unit attached to the water source with a copper pipe? Grab the propane torch and some solder. You’ll need to cut the line from the old water heater.

  2. 2.Get Some Help

    Enlist a friend to assist with the heavy lifting. When you make your purchase, ask if the delivery people will cart the old one away. Just make sure when the delivery people arrive, the old one is disconnected.


    Remember, once the antique is disconnected, you don’t have hot water. You’ll want to co-ordinate with the folks bringing the sparkling new unit. It’s a bummer to sever all ties with the ancient heater only to discover that the new water unit won’t be coming for a week.

  3. 3.Getting Started

    Flick off the water heater's power at the breaker. Get some masking tape and a marker pen. Every wire you disconnect, label where it came from.


    It’s always best to have the Installation manual, for the new unit nearby, turned to the appropriate page.

  4. 4.Getting Ready

    Time to turn on all the hot water taps. Now, quickly, twist off the water supply to the unit. Bring your garden hose inside, but leave the other end outside thorough a window or door. Drain the tank. If you have hoses that aren’t hard-plumbed to the unit, unscrew them. What if they are connected to the old water heater with solder? Cut the lines and put them together later.

  5. 5.Installation

    Installing the new water heater is pretty much what you did when removing the old one, just in reverse. Place the new water heater on the staging area. Here’s where you screw-in or solder the connections of water outlet pipes to the cylindrical heater.


    Turn-on the water supply and double-check that all of the hot water faucets remain open throughout the house. You want to make sure they’re still on because of the pressure that will build in the network of pipes. If you don’t, when you do turn the spigots on after the tank is filled, you might hear an ear-piercing burp.


    After the water starts splashing from each faucet, let it run for about a minute, before tightening them to the “off” position. That Installation manual has almost completed its job. Refer to it as you rejoin the source wires to the water heater. Power-up at the breaker-box.


    Make sure there are no unexpected leaks. Set the thermostat on the water heater to a comfortable and efficient level. All that’s left is for the water to boil.


    A new water heater should supply you with hot H2O for many, many years.

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