How to Install a Conventional Water Heater

This article assumes that you are installing a new electric water heater, as a means of replacing an old one.

To know if you require a water heater installation and not just a water heater maintenance, you should check your current electric hot water heater for any leakage. If the leakage is coming from the tank itself and not just any of the fittings connected to it, then you need to replace the whole water heating unit completely. This installation will be for a conventional water heater that requires electricity and makes use of heating elements.

Step One: Platform building and tank centering

You need to get the new hot water heater out of the packaging that it comes in and make sure you read the instruction manual.

If you don’t already have one before, you need to build a platform on which you will place your hot water heater. You can easily do this by finding a convenient spot around your house and build a platform that is at least three concrete blocks off the floor in height. This elevation will help to make sure that you get proper hot water delivery to your house and prevent damage to your new hot water heater tank from minor floods.

When placing the water heater on the platform, make sure that the drain faucet is facing the front. Also, rock the water heater back and forth to make sure that it is perfectly balanced on the platform. If it moves at all when you rock it, you should adjust and reposition the water heater until it is relatively stable.

Step Two: Soldering

The copper fittings and tubing need to be soldered to your water heater for it to work properly. You will need a Mapp gas torch, a tube cutter, paste soldering flux, enough pads of steel wire, lead-free solder, and a wire brush for cleaning.

Make sure you clean the surfaces that are to be joined, then cover them with flux. Make sure you cut the tubing to an absolute square and make sure that your fittings are not bent or distorted in any way.

  • Cut about 8 inches of a ¾ inch diameter tubing to be used as the entrance of cold water into the tank. Make sure that you use a tube cutter and not a saw.
  • Clean the end of the tubing that you cut with a piece of steel wool. Do this for at least one minute until you can see a bright copper color.
  • Then put some soldering flux around the cleaned area of the copper tubing.
  • Use your wire brush to clean the insides of all your fittings until the surfaces are clean.
  • Add some flux on the inside of the fitting and slide the fitting over the cleaned end of the first copper piece.
  • Start heating the joint with the torch and keep adjusting the flame until the inner blue flame is approximately ¾ inch long. Heat the top of the joint with the tip of the blue flame. Keep heating till the flux melts and burns out. You can heat a single position of the copper, the heat will reach all around the fitting because copper is a great conductor.
  • After the flux melts away, immediately put solder on top of the joint, if the joint is hot enough, the solder will melt right away and help to solidify your joint.
  • Keep pushing the solder into the joint until it starts to drop, this means that the joint is now full. You can now remove the heat and wipe away any excess solder with a rag.
  • To make it easy to perform a hot water heater repair, you can use a union fitting on both the cold and hotlines as they leave the tank. You can easily install a union by cleaning the tubing ends and fittings, then adding flux before soldering the appropriate parts together.
  • After completing your assembly, allow your fittings to cool off before applying Teflon tape to help seal the pipe threads on your water heater nipple. Apply the Teflon tape in a clockwise direction to prevent it from coming loose when tightening the pipes.
  • Thread in your tubing into the tank firmly with an adjustable wrench, and join the two halves of the union together.

Install your temperature and pressure valve, and you can call an electrician to help you with the electrical installation of the water heater circuit.

However, if installing a water heater seems tedious to you, or you require water heater emergency replacement, you can give us a call to help you with your installation. We offer fast and efficient water heater installation services and maintenance that will keep your water heater replacement cost on the low side.