How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (2023)



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What you will need:


  • Adjustable wrench
  • Glove
  • Dolly
  • Goggles
  • Screwdrivers
  • voltage detector
  • Kante
  • Boiler emptying device
  • Tire


  • Electric boiler
  • Hose kit for electric water heater
  • Teflon™ tape
  • Cable connections
  • Plastic packaging

Running hot water is practically essential in everyday life. From bathing to washing clothes and dishes, the demand for hot water on demand is huge. When a water heater malfunctions and fails, it can cause a major headache.

If you don't want to wait for your heating contractor or plumber to install a new water heater, you may be tempted to replace it yourself. While you can do this project yourself, it's not an easy task. It involves complex steps that can be difficult to follow if you don't have the proper plumbing experience. We recommend leaving onewater heater contractor in your areareplace the water heater, but if you are looking for instructions on how to install an electric water heater yourself, keep reading.

Preparation for the installation of an electric water heater

Before installing your new electric water heater, there are a few things you need to do to make the process go smoothly.

  • Check the label on the old tank for size and energy specification. Water heaters manufactured after 2015 require more tank insulation, which can lead to larger tanks.

  • Measure the surface where you will place your water heater to see how much space you have to work with.

  • Check with your local community or city for plumbing regulations and make sure your facility meets these requirements.

It also helps to gather all the materials and supplies before starting. Since the place where you are going to install the water heater will take up a lot of space, you want to make sure that you have easy access to everything when you need it.

  1. Choose a location

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (1)

    Photo: sandsun/Adobe Stock

    Choosing the right place for the water heateris necessary for proper operation. You want to make sure you have enough space with access to water and electricity connections, and that everything complies with local building codes. In general, if you are replacing an existing electric water heater, you should use the current location. However, you must ensure that there is at least 6 inches of clearance on all sides of the water heater for proper airflow.

  2. Disconnect the power

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (2)

    Photo: tab62 / Adobe Stock

    You'll want to turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse box. To make sure it's disabled, use oneVoltage regulatorto check that no current is flowing. This step is extremely important for safety reasons and if you are unsure if the water heater is powered off, do not proceed.

  3. Empty the old boiler

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (3)

    Photos: PhanuwatNandee/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

    For emptying the old boiler, first open the nearest hot water tap and wait for the water to cool down. Thanks to this, completely emptying the boiler is much easier and safer, without fear of burns.

    Then shut off the water supply to the boiler using the water shut-off valves, which are usually color coded (blue means cold water in, red means hot water out). With a garden hose, you can empty the container into a floor drain, sink or bucket by connecting it to the drain valve. From there, you can fully open the drain valve to drain any remaining water.

  4. Unplug and remove the old water heater

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (4)

    Photo: C5Media/Adobe Stock

    Once your water heater runs out, it's time to take it apart and move it to make room for a new one. First you want to grab a screwdriver and disconnect the wire from the thermostat.

    Then disconnect the overflow pipe and the safety valve. The overflow tube can be reused if required, so keep it, but discard the old pressure relief valve and do not reuse it. From here, you can move the old water heater out of the room, but remember that it can be heavy even without the weight of the water. It's best to have someone with you to help you lift weights or use a wheelchair.

    It's unlikely you'll want to keep an old water heater in your home or garage for long - you'll probably want to get rid of it sooner rather than later. You should contact your waste collection or recycling company for information on how to properly dispose of them, as they probably cannot be thrown in your regular garbage.

    If you ask your local water heater supplier to replace your old unit, they will have to remove it as part of the service. It's best to check with them carefully to make sure this is the case so you won't be surprised.

    The final step in dismantling the old water heater is to clean the floor where it was located, especially if the new unit will be in the same room. Working with a clean floor free of residues and contaminants is the best way to be successful.

  5. Install a new boiler

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (5)

    Zdjęcia: photovs/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

    After cleaning the old water heater, you can install the new water heater in the location you chose in step 1. To make things easier, place the water heater so that you have easy access to the thermostat controls so you can adjust the temperature as needed.

    Once in place, use a spirit level to make sure it's out of balance. If the floor is not level (floors move), use plastic pads to level if necessary.

  6. Install the T&P valve and discharge pipe

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (6)

    Photos: Kevin Brine/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

    Then install the safety valve on the new device. If for some reason your new electric water heater doesn't come with one, you should buy a new one from the store - it's important not to use the one from your previous tank. Be sure to wrap the T&P valve threadsteflon tapebefore inserting the valve into the tank.

    The discharge pipe should not be more than 6 inches above the floor. Please note that if there is no floor drain under the drain pipe, a bucket will need to be placed under the drain pipe to collect the dripping water - after all, you don't want it pooling on the floor.

  7. Install heat traps and water lines

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (7)

    Photos: Vitaliy Halenov/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

    Once you've gotten this far, it's time to install the heat sink fittings and water connections.

    Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for proper connection of the power cords with solid or flexible copper tubing.

    For heat trap connections, wrap the threads with Teflon™ tape and install the blue connector on the cold water inlet and the red connector on the hot water outlet. Note that they are usually directional, so the blue fitting should have arrows pointing towards the water heater and the red one should have arrows pointing away from the water heater.

    Connect the water supply pipes to the tank openings with pipe fittings and Teflon tape to ensure a tight seal. Tighten all connections with an adjustable wrench, being careful not to overtighten them.

  8. Refuel the tank

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (8)

    Photos: Grigorev_Vladimir / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

    At this point, you can fill the water heater so that it is ready for use. A little more and there you are! First, open the cold water shut-off valve. This leaves water in the tank. To check if the water heater tank is full, turn on several taps in the house. If you have a steady flow of water, congratulations - your tank is full!

    If you notice that the water pressure in the taps is dropping, remove the aerator from the tap and clean it thoroughly. Turning off the electric water heater can cause deposits and dirt to build up. When you turn on the water, it may get stuck in the tap.

    After a while, turn off the taps and check if the boiler is not leaking. You can use a paper towel or cloth to check for water leaks around the parts. If so, drain the water heater, remove and reconnect the components, then try again.

  9. Connect the wiring

    How to install an electric water heater in 9 steps (9)

    Photo: China / Adobe Stock

    Connection of electric water heater wires should be made only after filling the tank. Otherwise, the heating elements may burn out.

    Follow the manufacturer's instructions for connecting the electrical power to the water heater. Since the exact steps may vary by model, it is important to follow the written instructions appropriate to your heater to ensure proper operation and installation.

    Ground the water heater by connecting the ground wire to the ground screw. With a screwdriver, you can change the temperature of the thermostat in steps of 10 degrees. Although the recommended temperature is 120 degrees, you can set it to a higher or lower temperature depending on your preference.

    After electrical connections are made, replace all access panels and turn on the circuit breaker on the water heater.

Do it yourself and hire a professional

It's not uncommon for do-it-yourself projects to save you time and money - especially if it's something you need ASAP. However, some projects are worth leaving to professionals and this one is one of them.

Theboiler replacement costis different from$850–1720, plus$150 to $450in labor costs. This may seem like a high cost, but you should consider the cost of hiring someone to eventually fix any problems resulting from a botched repair. This cost can be significantly higher than the cost of hiring an expert.

Frequently asked questions

Unless you have previous plumbing experience or extensive water heating experience,avoid replacing the electric water heater yourself. This process includes, but is not limited to, disconnecting the cables and components from the old water heater and reinstalling them in the new one. This task is best left to professionals who will check that everything is properly connected to avoid serious leaks or malfunctions.


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