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Electric Hot Water Heater Installation

A step-by-step guide.

Posted 13:54 November 13, 2022
Last Updated 13:59 November 13, 2022

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If it's been more than a 15 years since you last replaced your hot water heater, it's probably time to install a new one. That's because according the US Department of Energy, the average lifespan of a hot water heater is 10-15 years.

Installing a new hot water heater is complex and there are safety risks involved with the project. It's best to have a professional plumber do the job for you. However, it is also possible to replace a water heater yourself if you have the appropriate tools, experience, and permits.

Step 1: Get the permit

Clark County Nevada requires a permit for any new hot water heater. Most Clark County residents don't get the permit, but you're required to by law. The reason is for safety, as there are many hot water heater related fires in the Las Vegas valley every year. Don't end up being a statistic.

Step 2: Collect your tools

You'll need the following tools to complete the project:

Non-contact voltage detector
Garden hose
Pipe cutter
Pipe wrench
Tape measure

And you'll need the following materials to complete the project:

Teflon tape
Flexible stainless steel supply lines
Temperature and pressure relief valve

Additionally, for the mounting system you'll require straps, anchors, and screws. Clark County Nevada, and both the cities of Las Vegas and Henderson, all require seismic straps for hot water heaters.

Step 3: Remove the old water heater

Start by turning off the circuit breaker that runs power to your old water heater. Use a non-contact voltage detector to ensure there's no electricity running through the unit. Turn on hot water faucets throughout your home. Wait until the water runs cold. Next, shut off the water supply to the hot water heater. Drain the tank by connecting a garden hose to the bottom of the unit. Let the water from the tank drain into a floor drain or alternatively - outside the house in the yard.

Draining the tank can take some time. Leaving a hot water faucet on in the home will help this step go more quickly.

Once the tank has been completely drained, disconnect the old unit from the water supply lines, unplug the electrical wiring, and remove the mounting hardware. Pro tip: labeling the electrical wires at this point will help you avoid confusion when it's time to connect the new water heater.

Step 4: Mount the new unit to the wall

Using the mounting anchors, brackets, and screws that came with the unit, follow the unit's instruction manual for mounting the hot water heater to the wall.

Step 5: Connect water lines

Connect your hot water heater to its hot and cold water connections using new flexible stainless steel pipelines and teflon tape. Using the old supply lines is just asking for trouble down the road. Installing new ones now will save you headaches later. You can also install new shutoff valves too, as they are prone to failure after a few decades. However, to install new shutoff valves you'll need to turn the water off to the whole home.

Step 6: Bleed the system

Open up all of the hot water outlets in your home and leave them open for at least 5 minutes. This forces all air out of your pipes and water heater. After five minutes, close all of the hot water outlets.

Step 7: Check the electrical connections

Reconnect the electrical connections between your water heater and the electrical panel, following all instructions in the product installation manual. Double-check that everything is wired correctly. (Hopefully you labeled the connections as suggested in step 3)

This Clark County hot water heater was installed incorrectly.
There are no seismic straps and it is not elevated off the floor.

Step 8: Finalize the installation

Turn the circuit breaker back on. Adjust the temperature setting as needed. In an hour or two, test each of your faucets one by one, making sure that the hot water isn't too hot or too cold.

Step 9: Schedule an inspection

Have the unit inspected by a Clark County inspector to make sure that the job was done correctly. The permit cost is a one-time fee. If the inspector asks you to fix something and needs to return on another day - there are no additional charges for follow-up inspections.

Have your hot water heater professionally installed

If this process is just too overwhelming, contact the professional plumbers here at All Trades. We will get you the proper permits, make sure the installation is correctly done, and make sure you pass inspection. You'll have the peace of mind knowing your hot water heater was installed in the safest manner possible. If you're considering upgrading to a new and efficient tankless hot water heater - we can help with that too. We service Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and most parts of Clark County Nevada.

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