<< 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
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
6) Don't mix and match copper and galvanized parts. That will lead to rapid
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 $$.
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.
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.
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.
who does his own, but worked with others to learn what NOT TO DO
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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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