Water Heater Installation


Water heaters, both  electric and gas models, are very simple devices. Basically, cold water enters a tank through one side and gets heated for a couple of minutes before exiting from another outlet.

Unfortunately, the simplicity of a water heater’s functioning doesn’t extend to its installation. Installation requires some plumbing knowledge and skills. Before attempting the installation process, you should plan carefully regarding everything you require for the whole process. It’s a good idea to write everything down on paper. Keep in mind that, in addition to the water heater itself,  you will need a tank and a suitable place to put it.


First and foremost, you will need basic plumbing tools and pipe-joints approved for portable water. Depending upon the type of water heater you’re installing, you will also need a voltmeter or a circuit tester. Lastly, you will need an installation manual with clear details about the sizing, drain pan, and other installation details.

Begin by looking at your home electric meter and locating a circuit breaker marked, “water heater”. Once located, carefully turn it off. Keep in mind that there are fuses in place of a circuit breaker in some homes. If you live in such a home, the fuses should be removed.  In other water heaters, there is a disconnect switch and they should be turned off.

Step-by-Step Guide to Water Heater Installation

1. Drain the Water Heater

It’s possible for other circuit breakers to be mislabeled. For your own safety, you should use a voltmeter to confirm that you are indeed working with a secure faucet. Next, open the hot water pipe on your heater and allow hot water to run until it’s cool. Finally, connect a garden hosepipe to completely drain the valve.

2. Set Temperature and Pressure-Release Valves

Check the expansion tank’s manual for further details about release valve pressure. Setting the pressure is one safety precaution for your heater, but keep in mind that the temperature should be set to standard to avoid producing water that is too hot. Additionally, the pressure should be set at optimum so that the water can be easily used.

3. Install Hot and Cold Water Lines

The next step is to install hot and cold water lines. Usually, these lines contain non-metallic parts. Once you’ve firmly connected the lines, you should open the cold water supply faucet/supply valve to fill the tank. Next, open the nearby hot water valve after the tank has been filled. You will get air and then some sputtering before finally getting a full flow. To confirm that the tank is functioning properly, you should let the water run for about three minutes before shutting the pipe off. When refilling the tank, be sure to switch off electricity to prevent a burnout.

4. Check for Leaks

As with all plumbing tasks, you may see a few leaks. This is especially likely near the inlet and outlets. If you notice any leaks, use the recommended materials to correct it. If you find that you made a mistake somewhere, revisit the installation manual and correct any errors. Once the installation process is complete, it’s time to set the thermostat. Keep in mind that the optimum and recommended temperatures are both 120F. Last but not least, check the water pressure and ensure that it is working properly.


Regardless of which type of water heater you’re installing, it’s important follow the installation manual carefully. If you are dealing with electricity, take care to protect yourself from electrocution. If you feel uncomfortable with any aspect of installing your own water heater, it’s advisable to contact a professional plumber.