It’s Monday morning. You’re getting ready to jump into the shower so you can get ready for work, when you turn the handle for “Hot,” and nothing happens – your hot water system has gone out, and as usual, at the least opportune time. So, instead of cleaning yours out from time to time you expect to just chug along and magically make hot water forever. Unfortunately, for many reasons such as rust and corrosion, they give out and need to be replaced. The easiest way to do this is to have someone come and replace it, but if for whatever reason you can’t do that, this will serve as your tutorial for doing it yourself. If you give this a good reading, as well as four to six hours, you can be up and running with hot water again.
1. Pick a hot water heater. There are probably several places close to you where you can buy another hot water heater. That’s not a problem. What you need to do to make this as easy as possible, however, is to pick the same type of fuel that you are already using, whether gas or electric. For the purpose of this tutorial, that is what we will assume. It’s usually not a problem to move up to a slightly bigger water heater if you so desire. The only thing keeping you from this is the amount of clearance between the water heater and the wall behind it. If you have the room for a bigger one, get it if you want to.
2. Check the plumbing. Now you are ready to install your water heater, but before you do that you will need to make sure the connection dimensions are the same. Otherwise, you will need to make adjustments to the connections to make them fit. Hopefully the plumber who did your installation did the job right, saving you a lot of extra work.
Now for a word of caution: When you move your water heater from where it is and bring in the new one, you will probably need help. Water heaters are very heavy, and trying to wrestle one by yourself is foolhardy. Get some help and save yourself some doctor bills.
3. Shut off the utilities. Begin by turning off the water at the main or at the water heater. Next, you need to turn off the fuel source. If you have an electric water heater, either remove the fuse or turn off the breaker. If you have a gas water heater, turn it off at the main or at the tank. Next, drain the tank.
4. Remove and replace the water heater. You should use a level to make sure it it set up properly.
5. Install the fittings, connect the fuel sources, turn on the water, and let it go.
You have replaced your hot water heater.
Before you declare the job done, make sure you know the laws regarding installation, since some states have safety requirements. These include, for example, California, which requires earthquake fasteners around water heaters.
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