Replace gas water heater

Time to get my gas water heater replaced and I'd like to tackle it myself if at all possible.
Any hints/tips would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Walter
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<< Any hints/tips would be greatly appreciated. >>
Here are some tips: 1) Make sure your water shut off is working. 2) If you don't have a shutoff valve on your cold water side, plan to install one. 3) Measure the height of your old water heater. Some older units may be different from the new ones today. 4) Heater plumbing is usually 3/4" so make sure you have a supply of the correct connectors, adapters, before you start. 5) Plan on installing unions on the inlet and outlet to make a future installation easy. 6) Don't mix and match copper and galvanized parts. That will lead to rapid corrosion. 6) Upgrade your input gas line if it is the older brass kind. Sainless steel is preferred in many areas. 7) Check your vent for potential problems and upgrade as necessary. 8) If you're working with copper plumbing, get your tools and supplies in order. Use flame guards in confined areas and have a fire extinguisher handy when using propane torches. 9) Practice your soldering techniques until you feel confident about getting good sold leak free joints. As has been said, it isn't rocket science, but good work will save you some $$. HTH
Joe
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save at least 20 % on your gas usage and get a tankless Bosch Aquastar
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Walter, if you've never soldered pipe with solder that doesn't contain led, or if you've never worked on gas lines, you'll be glad you had an installer do the job. It's not worth the risk to the lives of you and your family.
Tom J
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I completely disagree to this post. I had also never had any experience in plumbing or wiring before I started major DIY project with finishing my basement. I was able to wire my basement, including installing sub-panel in my workshop and upgrade half of rest of house wiring. I also fully replaces DWV and water supply service in my house. Now I am learning and preparing to relocate gas pipes in my house. Everyone sometimes has to start from something. One just needs to understand what he/she is doing, all possible hazards and precautions and practice enough. Web provides an outstanding resources for DIY almost in any field and this newsgroup being the best one. If you don't know something post questions here. If you ask questions correctly you are likely to get proper answers as well. If we all were scared to do something because it may kill us we wouldn't be driving cars - driving can also kill you and others.

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I see you gave him good advice on how to keep his family alive and avoid lead poisoning!! Don't drive a car!! About 135 deaths every day, 365 days a year, but few of those make the news.
On the other hand, let some family get gassed, burned to death or blown up in their home because of some faulty installation and it makes all the news.
Tom J who does his own, but worked with others to learn what NOT TO DO
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No great deal. Drain water first and then make sure you have no gas leaks. Seamus J. Wilson

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Walleye wrote:

As another said, it is no big deal since it is just a replacement. An original installation is considerably more. Unless you have a very old installation there probably will be no soldering just connectors with wrench fittings. You have 3 flexible water connectors (flexible as meaning you can bend to fit but don't do much bending), so buy 3 replacements even if the current ones look ok. You will have 1 flexible gas connector and you should replace that as well. Be sure to measure the current set up so that the height and width of a replacement will fit the space. And measure the height and placement of water connections and gas connections to make sure the new tank can be fitted. You may need to get flexible connectors that are shorter or longer than you have with the current set up. Also check the measurements on the flue and you may need to buy a replacement length of flue that is either shorter or longer to get it to fit.
Turn off the water supply valve and the gas supply valve, drain the tank from the bottom with a garden hose (open the relief valve), disconnect the hot water, cold water, and relief connectors, and remove the tank. If the water system has any elevation above the hot water connection you will need to open a hot water tap so that it can drain and not pour out on the floor when you disconnect the hot water.
If you get a tank that has connectors in the same locations and at the same height as the old tank, installation will be very fast, if not you may have to fuss around a bit. Waiting for the tank to drain (which could take up to an hour) will probably be the most time consuming thing.
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Thanks. My old heater has no flexible fitting for water or gas. The water pipes/fittings onto the tank are copper and the gas is a typical black color pipe for natural gas.
Walter

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That's too bad. If you plan on living in the house for a long time, you should think about changing the fittings. You most likely will have to anyway as you will probably not be able to buy a tank that will fit exactly and you sure don't want to cut and fit rigid pipe to exact dimension if you haven't had some practice.
Walleye wrote:

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Definitely get the flexible fittings with the universals already built in. Also, in the kit you can also get nippled inserts which will take care of the galvinization problems of unlike metals. Throughout the years I've put in probably 5 or 6 water heaters myself (have never had one professionally installed). It's fairly easy - hardest part is getting the old heavy (filled with calcium deposits) heater out of the basement and disposing of it (where I live they have curbside large-item pickup twice a year - free!).
Take your time - you can do this!
Regards, Joe

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Holy cow! I took a closer look at the cold water inlet and hot water outlets on top of the tank and to my surprise it looks like the plumber sweated/soldered the copper pipe to the fittings! So although he initially screwed the fittings onto the protruding in/outlets he then just soldered the copper pipe to the fitting nut (as the in/outlets have external/outside threads)..
Why would anyone do such a thing, unless of course this is standard procedure? What gives!?
In any event it looks like the fittings at the nut will need to be heated up so the solder flows before actually twisting them off the tank. Actually as the tank is being replaced it doesn't much matter I guess if I cut the pipe or sweat/heat the fitting.
The overflow valve just has a 30" length of copper pipe leading straight down towards the floor - no connections or anything at the bottom end of the pipe; guess if it did ever overflow it would dump right onto the floor right next to the heater and potentially (if the water level rose more than 4 or 5 inches) snuff out the pilot light, etc... Again, this overflow pipe was just soldered onto the end of a fitting and screwed into the overflow valve (as the valve has inside threads).
Walter

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I was going to do my own, but Home Depot charges $100.00 to install it and that included the over 20 dollar installation kit, a copper over flow pipe and they hauled it away. Essentially I would have saved at most about $50.00 by doing it myself. Your circumstances may be different, but $50 dollars to not have to deal with it, was more than worth it.
-Tom
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One good reason to buy from Sears. They often contract out, but if something is wrong Sears is fairly good about customer satisfaction. I don't see anything too difficult about installing a water heater myself--maybe a 3 or 4 hour job for the average homeowner? Replace your anodes in 5 years and it will help with the rusting out.
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