Moving water heater to other side of wall

I have a 20-year-old electric water heater that is still working well. It is installed in a laundry closet in the small kitchen. On the other side of the laundry closet is the garage. I am moving the washer and dryer to the other side of the wall. That has been a very straightforward process. I need to move the water heater. I have very limited resources and will struggle to pay the 400 the plumber estimated for turning the pipes 180 degrees. The tank is connected to the 3/4 supply lines with flexible copper lines that screw on at both ends. The electrical, which I am certain is no longer to code, is just a wire running from the wall to the box in the tank. (No box in the wall and no conduit) I have sweated a few very simple repairs in a bathroom but that is all. I recently used a sharkbite fitting for a repair and it has worked very well. I am wondering if I could use a push fitting, which swivels, in the supply line, and just turn the fittngs,180 degrees that way. As long as I leave an access panel, would that be acceptable? I also wondered if I could bring the electrical up to code in a few simple steps myself. I have removed the drywall and see no complicating factors, and nothing else about the installation is changing. I have very carefully switched out old outlets and light switches and replaced a few ceiling fans, but that is the extent of my experience with electrical.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, September 26, 2016 at 1:44:04 PM UTC-4, P@lc wrote:

Given what you describe, the $400 doesn't sound unreasonable. Either that or getting other quotes sounds like your best option. Or find a friend that knows what he's doing to help you. This isn't a real difficult job, but to do it right and not wind up with a hack job takes some plumbing skills, probably soldering, and electrical skills that sound like they are beyond what you have done. Another factor is if resale is a concern? If it's done right for $400, you're good to go. If you hack it up and a buyer's home inspector flags it, then you get to do it over. I've put in water heaters before, but I'd have to do some research to figure out any code reqts specific to putting a WH in the garage. I seem to recall something about it having to be a certain distance above the floor, for example. Also, in earthquake areas they have to be secured, etc. Some of that is what you're paying the $400 to know. If you're getting plumbing and elec for that price, sounds OK to me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The OP said theires is "electric" so no vents required
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to trader_4, P@lc wrote:

Ugly old water heater in the kitchen won't do much for resale either, I think. But I have decided to leave it there. Thanks for the response.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, September 26, 2016 at 1:44:04 PM UTC-4, P@lc wrote:

Is the $400 just for the plumbing? That sound a bit high, but I have no idea where you live or what the job actually entails. Moving a WH into a garage and running pipes from the "exterior" to the "interior" may entail more than just "turning the pipes 180 degrees". What did the plumber say that you will get for your $400? Will permits need to be pulled? Inspections done? Earthquake proofing?
As far as the electrical, I'd be concerned about the fact that whoever installed the electric last time doesn't seem to have known what they were doing (or didn't care). I doubt that "a wire running from the wall to the box in the tank. (No box in the wall and no conduit)" was *ever* up to code. I'd be concerned with what's going on upstream from the WH. Do you know of the hack job starting further up the line?
I'll never say that this is beyond your skill set and that you should hire it out because there was a time when I wouldn't have known how to do it or what factors to consider. However, if you are capable of doing some research and learning new things, it may certainly be something that you can handle.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Looking back on my own DIY job, if I had to do my new install again, I would pay the plumber....
No problems doing it myself -- just took a lot of time. We ended up without hot water for over a week, trying to do the work around my regular work schedule. This was fine for me, but not for the little woman.
Little things took more time than planned, like lifting it up onto an 18-inch high platform (code for garage installations), cleaning up all the old construction materials left in the crawl space so I could get into connect new pipes, etc.
Here's my story, FWIW....
Old gas water heater in a closet died. Removing the old unit would have required cutting gas lines that had been installed later and several water pipes. Plus the excitement of straining something lifting it out and over a 2-ft wall and angling it out, then patching all the future dings in the walls and floor from carrying it outside. Best estimate I got for R&R in the same place was $2000. $2500 to install new one in the garage, parts & labor. Gas heater was $500 of this.
My installation....
First I installed new unit it in the garage with new pipe runs connected to the old network under the house. All done exactly to code. Note that I'm not an expert, but not an amateur either - one of the tasks I do at work is small diameter pipe fitting. Then cut and plugged the water connections and capped gas line at the old unit. Then ran new water pipes from old network to new heater. Last, installed new vent through the roof.
Had a licensed plumber run the new gas line and inspect the whole installation. Gas company came out, checked it and lit the pilot. Later one, the flame started pulsating high and low. Had mfr come out and replaced the burner assy.
Never a problem since then.
Excellent experience and I enjoyed doing it - as much as you can enjoy something like that. Still, next time I'll hire a plumber.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
in message Looking back on my own DIY job, if I had to do my new install again, I would pay the plumber....
No problems doing it myself -- just took a lot of time. We ended up without hot water for over a week, trying to do the work around my regular work schedule. This was fine for me, but not for the little woman.
Little things took more time than planned, like lifting it up onto an 18-inch high platform (code for garage installations), cleaning up all the old construction materials left in the crawl space so I could get into connect new pipes, etc.
Here's my story, FWIW....
Old gas water heater in a closet died. Removing the old unit would have required cutting gas lines that had been installed later and several water pipes. Plus the excitement of straining something lifting it out and over a 2-ft wall and angling it out, then patching all the future dings in the walls and floor from carrying it outside. Best estimate I got for R&R in the same place was $2000. $2500 to install new one in the garage, parts & labor. Gas heater was $500 of this.
My installation....
First I installed new unit it in the garage with new pipe runs connected to the old network under the house. All done exactly to code. Note that I'm not an expert, but not an amateur either - one of the tasks I do at work is small diameter pipe fitting. Then cut and plugged the water connections and capped gas line at the old unit. Then ran new water pipes from old network to new heater. Last, installed new vent through the roof.
Had a licensed plumber run the new gas line and inspect the whole installation. Gas company came out, checked it and lit the pilot. Later one, the flame started pulsating high and low. Had mfr come out and replaced the burner assy.
Never a problem since then.
Excellent experience and I enjoyed doing it - as much as you can enjoy something like that. Still, next time I'll hire a plumber.
-------
Forgot to say.... one reason for doing it myself.... The $2500 price was to if the water pipes were run up from the heater, through the attic and then down to where the old heater was. That may be OK per code (I don't know) but in industrial work, we always run electrical above water lines, in case of leaks.
Doing it this way would have save me a LOT of time, but I decided to run everything under the floor.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Snuffy "Hub Cap" McKinney, P@lc wrote: Thank you for the specific information. This is a much simpler situation, because the house was originally plumbed for a water heater and laundry in the garage. The first owner wanted a water softener and storage in that space, so the builder put the heater and laundry in the kitchen, just across the wall. This is an electric water heater, and the ignition is more than 15 feet off the floor, so it would not have to be elevated from the garage floor. The pipes come into the house at a point in the wall that is exactly between the current location and the location I wanted to move the heater to, and the drain exactly midway between as well. I asked the plumbers for specific information to break down the cost, but could only get a "well, water heater install is usually more than that" and "85 an hour and it will probably take a while." This is a geographically isolated and relatively poor place and I don't think they are accustomed to providing much in the way of specific information. There are a lot of unlicensed handyman guys here but I think I would actually be better off doing a very careful amateur job with a lot of checking myself. In the end, I just don't want to take a chance on doing something that eventually leads to serious damage or injury. It involves hot water and electricity and ignition. I am just going to leave it where it is. Thanks for the information.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to DerbyDad03, P@lc wrote: Thanks for your reply. Actually, the heater was installed that way by the main plumbing/electrical/HVAC outfit here and has the city inspection sticker on it. It passed inspection that way when we bought the house. I think the homes in this neighborhood -- little tract houses from the 50s and 60s -- are full of awful hacks because nobody has enough money to pay for proper repairs. Those of us who didn't foreclose during the last decade are barely paying the mortgage. (The housing market and economy generally have not improved here.) We have been hoping to move this ugly water heater out of the kitchen for eighteen years, but it just isn't ever going to be affordable. These homes have a lot of poor quality work that was part of the original construction. The closet flanges are tilted and are well below the slab, and they were too close to the wall. There are outlets that do not seem to be connected to any breaker. The circuits seem a little whimsical, with lights or outlets at opposite ends of the house. I finally saved enough to have an electrician fix some lights that flickered and worked intermittently, and he told me that this house was rare in that all of the outlets are grounded. The other homes in this area are worse than mine. I do not want to add another jack job to the pile. We did not use one of the two showers in the house for five years, because it needed replacement and we could not afford it, and I didn't feel qualified to DIY it. We went without AC for five years (and temperatures here are above 100 in the summer at least 2/3 of the time) until we could afford to take out a seven-year loan to pay for a new system. It was installed by the most reputable outfit in town. But there is only one duct feeding the hotter end of the house and the only returns are next to the unit, so the kitchen is always at least 20 degrees hotter than the bedrooms. It was just badly designed in the first place. But that would be another seven-year loan, which I could not pay off, so we just live with it. I think that home ownership is not a realistic goal for people who make less than the average upper middle class household. You can come up with the mortgage and barely with the insurance and taxes, but you can't pay for the maintenance. I grew up in a nicer home, just a little more affluent, just affluent enough to pay for proper repairs. It makes all the difference, The homes in this neighborhood. I am just going to leave the heater where it is.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
P@lc posted for all of us...

My only comment is that a 20 yr old water heater may not be working so well after being moved. Figure that in your finances.
--
Tekkie

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 9/27/2016 4:59 PM, Tekkie® wrote:

Good point. I'd not move it, I'd just replace it and be done for another 10 or 20 years. Getting the sediment stirred up may mean doing the hookup again in a few weeks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 5:37:28 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

well


Agree, it's a point to consider. It's an electric which often last 20+ years, that's a plus. If it was gas, then for sure I'd replace it. Also depends on if you can do the work yourself. If you can, later swapping it when it fails wouldn't be expensive. But if you have to pay a plumber a couple hundred again, that's another factor.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.