Learn how to install an electric water heater properly. What is the right location for the new unit? Instructions on how to remove an old electric heater and when is the right time to do so. Is the heater installation considered as a DIY project, or does it have to be done by a professional?
If your old electric water heater is not working correctly, there is not enough or no hot water, the recovery and efficiency are extremely low, check out this troubleshooting guide as you might be able to fix the problem and avoid the costly purchase.
Check the simple things first such as the tripped breaker or reset, or is there power supply at all. Be aware that something series might be going on as well.
However, if your old unit is leaking, water has a rusty look, the tank is deformed, performance is still low after the repair, you might want to consider buying and installing a new electric water heater.
If your older heating system didn’t include the expansion tank and pressure relief valve, now is the time to install.
An expansion tank is used in closed water heating loops to reduce the water pressure buildup when it gets higher than usual, protecting the heater’s elements.
A pressure relief valve is also recommended in homes where the pressure of water inside the plumbing varies. The recommended pressure is in the range from 50 to 60 PSI, while everything above 80 PSI requires you to install a valve, therefore avoiding potential problems.
A standard electric water heater with two heating elements operates on 240 V so you will need breakers and wire gauge set by the manufacturer (usually 30-amp circuit breaker and 10-2 wire with the ground). Make sure that the correct voltage is supplied to the heater, as stated on the rating plate.
Note: Always follow the manufacturers’ manual for instructions. Check local building codes and get all the necessary permits.
If you are not sure how to install an electric water heater, or you have problems during the replacement, contact a professional plumber to help you.
Note: A water heater tank must be full of water because if you turn the heater on too early and if the heating element is not submerged into the water, you might get a dry firing which will destroy the component.
Related: How to install a gas water heater
If installing an electric water heater in the new house, it is vital to choose the location wisely.
The best location for the water heater is close to the point of service, electrical and plumbing supply and where it cannot damage the area or hurt people due to leaking or unit malfunction.
Avoid storing flammable materials in the same room as the heater.
Since the electric heaters are built for indoor use, you still have to protect from freezing if exposed to a lower temperature (use the insulation blanket and pipe sleeves).
The unit should be sitting on the floor in the vertical position with all the controls and drain accessible for maintenance, replacement, and service.
An electric water heater is a simple device that is used for heating potable water. Cold water from the home plumbing enters the storage water tank where it is heated with the heating elements.
Cold water enters the tank through the inlet tube (marked with the blue ring) also called a dip tube, and exits through the hot water outlet (marked with the red ring). Water is then heated with one or two electric resistance elements and delivered to the shower or fixture (point of use).
Every heating element has a thermostat which turns it on when the temperature of the inside water drops below the set one.
Related: How to install a heat pump
As can be seen from the above text, electric water heater installation is not a complicated project, especially if you already did a DIY project, and have the right tools. Basic to intermediate knowledge of the electrical and plumbing work is required.
Keep in mind that new electric heaters usually last 10-15 years, so no matter if the heater is old, or it started to malfunction, try to fix it first, or at least call a plumber to check it out, and only if it is not worth repairing, get a new one.
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