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Installing a Gas Water Heater

 
 

Even with proper maintenance, your water heater will eventually have to be replaced. Gas water heaters cost roughly half as much to operate as conventional electric water heaters and can pay for their higher up-front cost in as little as one year. Gas water heaters require a gas supply, a cold water supply and a flue connection to carry away harmful gases. Today's homes tend to be airtight, so make sure you have adequate venting before starting a gas water heater installation. Carbon monoxide - a byproduct of combustion - can be fatal when inadequate venting allows it to build up in the home. Call your local utility immediately if you suspect the water heater is not working properly.


WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS JOB:

TOOLS:

MATERIALS:


Step 1

Step 1: Drain the Tank

Drain the Tank

 

1.  Turn off the water and gas supply.  
 
2.  Attach a garden hose to the drain valve and empty the tank.  
 
3.  Turn on a hot water faucet to allow air into the system.

  

Step 2

Step 2: Disconnect the gas line and water lines

Disconnect the Gas Line and Water Lines

 

1.  Disconnect the gas line using two pipe wrenches - disconnect the gas line at the 
     union fitting if the pipe is galvanized or at the flare fitting if the gas supply line is 
     copper.  
 
2.  Using two adjustable wrenches or pipe wrenches, disconnect the water lines 
     above the tank. If the piping has been soldered into place, use a hacksaw or 
     tubing cutter to cut the pipe. Make sure the cuts are straight.  

  

Step 3

Step 3: Detach the gas exhaust from the flue hat

Detach the Gas Exhaust from the Flue Hat

 

1.  Remove the screws connecting the vent to the water heater using a screwdriver 
     or nut driver.  
 
2.  Remove the old water heater – you may require help for this because older water 
     heaters may tend to fill with sediment and are heavier than new ones.  

  

Step 4

Step 4: Set the new water heater in place

Set the New Water Heater in Place

 

1.  Install the water heater in an area with at least six inches of clearance around it 
     for ventilation. Also, make sure to place the water heater so there is 
     unobstructed access to the burner and controls.  
 
2.  Place a carpenter's level on the side of the water heater and level it with plastic 
     shims if necessary.  
 
3.  Reconnect the flue hat to the gas exhaust vent.  

  

Step 5

Step 5: Install the Heat Trap Fittings

Install the Heat Trap Fittings

 

1.  Wrap the water heater heat trap fitting pipe threads using teflon tape. These 
     fittings are directional and must be installed properly. Both have arrows showing 
     the correct direction for installation.  
 
2.  Attach the blue-coded fitting to the cold water inlet with the arrow facing into the 
     water heater.  
 
3.  Attach the red fitting to the hot water outlet with the arrow pointing away from the 
     water heater.  
 
4.  Tighten using a pipe wrench or adjustable pliers.  

  

Step 6

Step 6: Install water line connections

Install Water Line Connections

 

1.  Measure and cut the water line connections to length. If flexible copper pipe is 
     required by code in your area, pre-sized lengths are available at your local The 
     Home Depot.  
 
2.  Reconnect the water line

  

Step 7

Step 7: Connect the gas supply line

Connect the Gas Supply Line

 

1.  Before connecting the gas line, clean all threads with a wire brush and rag.  
 
2.  Apply piping compound to the threads of the black pipes as you connect them. 
     Assemble and tighten each fitting with two pipe wrenches.  
 
3.  Install the union fitting last because it connects the new line to the existing line. 
     When finished, open the gas supply valve and turn the water on.  
 
4.  Turn on water at the tank, and then turn on one or more hot water faucets to 
     bleed air out of the system once the water is turned on at the tank.  

  

Step 8

Step 8: Test the gas line for leaks

Test the Gas Line for Leaks

 

1.  Fill a sponge with a mixture of liquid dishwashing soap and water, and apply it to 
     the new fitting – check for bubbles.  
 
2.  Test all connections - if there's a leak, bubbles will form on the surface and you'll 
      have to refit the joint.  

  

Step 9

Step 9: Light the pilot

Light the Pilot

 

1.  Remove the burner access panel.  
 
2.  Turn the knob on top of the control box to the “pilot” position.  
 
3.  Hold a lit fireplace match or barbeque lighter to the pilot access opening.  
 
4.  Press and hold down the reset button on the control box for 60 seconds after the 
     pilot ignites.  

  

Step 10

Step 10: Turn the Control Knob to the

Turn the Control Knob to the "On" Position

 

1.  Turn the knob on top of the control box to the “on” position - you should hear the 
     burner ignite. If it doesn't, remove the access panel and relight the pilot.  
 
2.  Replace the burner access panel and set the control at 118 to 123 degrees F.