Replace a hot water heater before the fall! You can make it a DIY project or call a plumbing company but either way, get it done in a day!
Steps to Replace a Hot Water Heater Yourself
There are some home improvement projects you should never do yourself, but replacing a hot water heater is not one of them. If you have a working knowledge of basic tools and are comfortable soldering a bit of copper, you can replace a hot water heater yourself in less than a day with these steps.
Select the Right Water Heater for your Space
Nowadays, selecting a new water heater is a process in itself. Things to consider are supply, storage, energy efficiency, size, and fuel type. The different types of water heaters include conventional storage water heaters, tankless, and heat pump water heaters. Newer options include solar water heaters and indirect water heaters. The U.S. Department of Energy’s website offers more tips on selecting a new water heater.
Make Checks for Safety and Permits
Before digging in, you’ll need to make some phone calls. Check with your local department of inspections and ask if you need a permit. For those of you in Missoula County, building permit information can be found here. You’re likely to need a plumbing or electrical inspector to look over your work at the end, too.
Western Montana is full of top rated plumbing contractors who can do just that (and more). Do safety checks, too. Read and understand the warnings in the installation instructions about how to safely handle the gas, electrical and other connections.
Round Up the Tools and Materials
Regardless of the type of water heater system you replace, you’re likely to need and know how to use the following tools.
Tools you need to replace a hot water heater:
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Adjustable wrench
- Electrical tape
- Pipe wrench
- Plumbers tape
- Safety glasses
- Soldering torch
- Tape measure
- Tube cutter
- Voltage tester
- Wire stripper/cutter
Then, go to your local hardware and building store and inquire about the materials needed. Here’s a list to get you started.
Materials you need to replace a hot water heater:
- Discharge pipe
- Pipe thread compound
- Pressure relief valve
- Venting pipe and connectors
- Water and gas piping
Go to the Web
Familiarize yourself with the process by watching a few different YouTube tutorials. This will give you the visuals of what to do and expect. The web also provides detailed images and figures of all the different types of water heater systems.
The 10 basic steps to replace a hot water heater:
- Turn off gas and water
- Empty tank
- Cut off water lines with a tube cutter
- Attach the new temperature and pressure relief valve
- Put together pipe assemblies
- Attach the water lines by soldering
- Put the vent back on
- Attach the gas line
- Check for backdrafting and leaks
- Light the pilot light
Replace a Hot Water Heater in the Summer
It’s true that in the heat of the summer you might not be so worried about whether or not you’re getting a regular hot shower. Mind you, a functioning water heater is needed to run your dishwasher and washing machine, too. Don’t wait until you have an unintentional cold shower to replace a hot water heater. Rusty or muddy water and leaks are all true signs you need to replace your water heater. The steel tank has rusted through and is no longer at a stage of being fixed. It should be replaced immediately.
Replacing a hot water heater in the summer is a wise choice because there is less urgency of the situation. Water heaters are known to have more problems in the colder months due to pipes breaking or freezing and replacements and repairs are on high demand. Why wait until it becomes an emergency? Get yours checked and replaced before the cold creeps in.
Professional Costs to Replace a Hot Water Heater
For a DIY project, you’re likely to spend $150 to $400 for either a gas or electric residential water heater. However, more expensive water heater systems with special venting do exist. They’re more difficult to install and we definitely recommend a professional there. According to Home Advisor, electric units run $300- $2,800 and gas units are priced from $250 – $1,500. Professional installation for small and simple residential systems costs anywhere between $200 to $450. For a 50-gallon natural gas water heater installation, service fees could be between $800-$1,000.
Several factors are taken into consideration when making plumbing estimates. It’s hard to give an estimate without seeing a site first. When it comes to hiring a professional to replace a water heater, you can rest assured knowing a licensed, qualified professional has installed the system correctly, safely, and following all codes.
Let Garden City Replace Your Hot Water Heater
When your hot water heater has a leak then it’s past time to replace it. Gas or electric, water heaters last an average of seven to fifteen years, so even if it’s not leaky it could be time for a new one.