How to Install an Electric Water Heater
Time Required: Over 1 day
With proper maintenance, today’s electric water heaters are designed to last approximately six to 12 years. But if you need to upgrade, follow our steps, which include positioning the new water heater, connecting the electrical supply, and adjusting the thermostat.
- Make sure you turn off the power and do not restore it until the installation is complete.
- Make sure the heater is full of water before restoring power, otherwise the heating element may be destroyed.
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- Use a level alongside the water heater and level it with shims if necessary.
- Make sure the valve is in the open position and connect it to the supply line using a propane torch and lead-free solder.
- Attach the blue-coded fitting to the cold water inlet and the red-coded fitting to the hot water outlet.
- These fittings are directional as they have arrows that show proper installation. Be sure to follow correct direction and tighten with an adjustable wrench.
- Connect the plumbing supply lines to the water heater according to manufacturer’s instructions and local code requirements (solid copper pipe or flexible copper supply lines are common).
- Make sure the drain valve is completely closed, and then 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 indicates a full water heater.
- When completely filled, close the faucets and check for leaks.
- Make sure 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 manufacturer’s instructions.
- Connect bare copper or ground wire to the ground screw. Replace the electrical access plate.
- Remove the thermostat access plate and then pull back any insulation to expose the thermostat.
- Use a screwdriver to change the thermostat temperature setting in 10-degree increments. The recommended temperature is 120 degrees.
- Replace the thermostat access plate. When the tank is full, restore power and press the reset button on the panel.