Fixing Your Plumbing To Fix Your Life

Water Heater Installation - Do It Yourself Or Hire Out?

There are many varieties of water heaters, which are often sorted by size, tank options and consumption rates. Yet even with these differences water heaters can still be divided into two general types: Gas or Electric.  

Depending upon which type you choose, there is a great deal of difference between a gas water heater installation and installing an electric water heater.  There are also common factors in standard water heaters such as water pipes that enter and exit the heaters, an electric feed, (gas heaters often have an electric igniter), and a pressure release valve, but the similarities often stop there.  

Gas Heater Differences

Gas water heater installation requires a vent to exhale the carbon monoxide generated during the heating process.  Carbon monoxide is poisonous gas and great care needs to be taken to ensure that this gas is vented outside of the home.  Another difference in some tanks, such as standard tanks, are where the water pipes connect to the tank.  Standard tanks usually enter the top of the tank.  Tank-less, also known as on-demand water heaters, often have the water pipe attachments on either side of the tank or connecting at the bottom of the tank. 

An installation must when installing a gas water heater is the safety turn-off valve for the gas line.  It is very important that you have an immediate way to turn off the gas to the water heater, (as well as other gas appliances).  This valve needs to be provided at, or near, the installation point in the event of an earthquake, tornado or fire.  

Installation Considerations

Regardless to which water heater installation you choose, there is a great deal of skill and understanding that is required to safely install either of these types of heaters. Because of this there are several things you need to evaluate before deciding whether to do-it-yourself or hire out:

  • What are the local and state laws and ordinances?  Are you required to hire out, or are there no codes at all?
  • Where will the water heater be placed?  In a closet, basement, or under a sink?
  • Is it Gas or Electric?
  • Will you need to install an outlet and/or a vent pipe?
  • Do you have the right tools?
  • Do you have the right skills? (aka: Do you know what you are doing?)

If you cannot answer these simple questions with confidence, then hiring a local licensed and insured installation technician, such as from Rolling Bay Plumbing, would be the best for you, especially if you want to keep yourself in hot water for years to come.