How to Install an Electric Water Heater
Time Required: Over 1 day
With proper maintenance, modern electric water heaters are designed to last approximately six to 12 years. If your needs change before then or you just want an upgrade, think about replacing your water heater yourself. Read on for basic information on positioning the new water heater, connecting the electrical supply and adjusting the thermostat.
Safety: Before installation, turn off the water. Make sure power to the water heater is turned off at the main circuit breaker. Remove any fuses.
Once you position the water heater in place:
- Use a level alongside the water heater and level it with shims if necessary.
- Connect the valve 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- When the tank is full, restore power and press the reset button on the panel.
Now that you understand the basics of installing an electric water heater, you can decide if it's a project for you. When you're ready to find the water heater and tools you need, see The Home Depot app to locate products and check inventory in your local store.
Safety Tip: The Home Depot highly recommends that you hire a professional for water heater installation. Trusted pros are available for same-day installation when you call before noon in most areas. Schedule an appointment today.