Project Guide: Installing an Electric Water Heater
Installing an Electric Water Heater
Even with proper maintenance, your water heater will eventually need to be replaced. Today's water heaters are designed to last 6 to 12 years.
Step one of this project begins after the old water heater has been removed. When working on an electric water heater, the first step is to turn off the power. Do not restore power until the job is done. Also make sure the heater is full of water before you restore power; otherwise you will destroy the element.
Use a carpenter's level along the side of the water heater to level it with
wooden or plastic shims.
Sweat Solder the Shutoff Valve to the End of the Cold Water Supply Pipe
Make sure the valve is in the open position before you solder.
Connect the valve to the supply line using a propane torch and lead-free
Wrap the Threads of the Water Heater Heat Trap Fitting with Teflon Tape or
Coat with Pipe Compound
Attach the blue-coded fitting to the cold water inlet and the red-coded
fitting to the hot-water outlet. These fittings are directional; they have
arrows that show the proper installation.
Tighten with an adjustable wrench.
Install the Water Supply and Fill Tank
Connect the plumbing supply lines to the water heater according to the
manufacturer's instructions and local code requirements. Solid copper pipe or
flexible copper supply lines are the most common options.
Make sure drain valve is completely closed.
Turn the main water supply on and open all line valves.
Open one or more faucets on the home's highest floor and run the water until
it flows steadily from the faucets. A steady flow of water from the hot water
faucet(s) indicates a full water heater.
When completely filled, close the faucet(s) and check for leaks.
Remove the Electrical Access Plate (On Top of Unit)
Before you do any electrical work, ensure that power to the water heater is
turned off at the main circuit breaker; if you have fuses, remove them.
Connect the electrical supply according to the manufacturer's instructions
using wire nuts.
Connect the bare copper or ground wire to the ground screw. Replace the
electrical access plate.
Adjust the Thermostat
Remove the thermostat access plate (most likely on the side of the unit).
Pull back any insulation to expose the thermostat.
Use a screwdriver to change the thermostat temperature in 10-degree
increments. Recommended settings are 120 to 125 degrees.
Replace thermostat access plate.
When the tank is full, restore power and press the reset button on the panel.