12 Apr

How To Save Money Installing Your Own Hot Water Heater

Let me guess, you went down stairs to check the laundry or grab a tool and their it was. A huge puddle of water all over your basement floor and it is coming from the bottom of the water heater. This is the obvious and most common sign you need a new water heater installation.

If you have any experience with Do It Yourself projects around the house installing a new water heater should not be a problem for you. Follow along with the steps in this article and you will have your new water heater installed in a couple of hours. Installing a water heater yourself will save you up to 300 or 400 dollars depending on the area you live in. Now if you are not very DIY you can still install your own water tank, however it may take a little longer than a few hours but if you like a challenge and are not afraid doing repairs on your home you will be able to install the heater yourself as well.

Tools And Materials You Will Need:

  • Water Heater Size – If you have a 40 gallon and want to upgrade to a 50 gallon now is the time to do it. If you do have a 50 gallon I DO NOT recommend switching to anything lower than what you have.
  • ¾ Fittings – You will need 2 ¾ couplings and possibly some elbows. Check what type of pipe you have going to your water heater. This can be copper, CPVC, PEX or galvanized. I recommend getting Shark Bite ¾ fittings because they are very easy to install with PEX, CPVC and copper piping. When you have galvanized pipe you may need to get a conversion fitting and adapt to one of the other pipes for easier installation.
  • Black Pipe Fittings – You may need a few ½ black pipe couplings and elbows to extend or shorten the gas line connecting to the heater. I install the gas line last. This way I will know exactly what I need for gas fittings.
  • 2 – ¾ dielectrics – Always replace the dielectrics when installing a new water heater. Make sure you get the proper dielectrics for the piping material you have in your house.
  • T&P Valve – usually comes with the new heaters.
  • Torch, Flux, Solder, sand paper
  • Channel Locks or offset pliers
  • Pipe Wrench
  • Pipe Thread solution or Teflon tape
  • Garden hose

Now that we have all of our materials let’s get started. The first step is to turn off the main water supply to house. Next Turn off the gas vale on the gas line running to the water heater. Now connect the garden hose to the bottom of the water heater and run the hose to nearby floor drain. Turn on the valve (this looks like an outside hose bib) and let the heater start to drain.

At this time go throughout your house and turn on all of the faucets. Make sure you leave the faucets in the on position and you have hot and cold water turned on. This will allow all of the water to drain out of the heater a lot faster.

While the water is draining out of the old heater, Unbox the new water heater. First pipe dope the two shafts coming out the top of the heater. Once they are doped screw on the new dielectrics. Next if your heater came with a T&P valve unbox it and pipe dope those threads. Screw the T&P valve into the side of the heater there will be a hole with threads on it where it goes. You may need to use your pipe wrench to get that last turn on so the valve points down. Now you got the heater prepped and ready to go.

Once the old heater is done draining disconnect the gas pipe at the union fitting. This is the fitting which has a hexagonal middle. Once the union is disconnected disconnect the rest of the pipe ONLY on the heater you are replacing.

Disconnect The Pipes

Now we will disconnect the water pipes. Use your channel locks to disconnect the dielectric. They will disconnect just like the gas pipe union fittings. Cut off the old dielectrics from the copper or other piping you may have.

Once all of the pipes are disconnected from the water heater and it does not seem like there is any more water in the tank start to remove the old water heater out of the way. Make sure you leave enough room to get the new heater in place. If you have a small area you may have to just remove the old water heater to make room for the new water heater.

Line up the new water heater with the pipes that connected the old heater. If you notice you need change some water piping, leave the pipe with the cold water valve the straight pipe and reconfigure the hot side.


Connect the water piping to new heater using the shark bite fittings or whatever fittings you decided on. You may have to solder the new dielectrics to the water piping if you have copper pipe. When soldering the dielectrics I advise you figure out how much pipe you need from the dielectric to the coupling and cut it to length and solder it on the ground. This will make for an easier solder job. You will also want to take out the washers from the dielectrics so you don’t burn them.

Now you have the water pipe all hooked up. Once everything cools you might have to do any more soldering. If so replace the washers in the dielectrics and tighten them down. Turn on the main water supply. While the water heater is filling up leave the faucets on so you can bleed all of the air out of the system.

The Gas Line

If you are not licensed for this part of the job you will need to hire someone who is. Click here for our recommended plumbing company for hot water heater installation Kelowna.

Have your man hook up the gas pipe to the heater. If you are lucky the gas pipe from the old heater will line up with the new heater. If it does not, just reconfigure it as needed. You can buy gas piping in all ranges and sizes.

Once all of the air is bled from the system turn off the faucets. Now the water heater is filled up you need to light it. Most new heaters have a manual lighting system. This works just like a BBQ grill does. You push in the pilot button and click the clicker and it will light the pilot light. After about 30 seconds turn the heater on to the desired setting and you water tank will begin to heat the water. You should now have hot water in about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the tank.