DIY Network

How to Install a New Water Heater

Learn how to remove an old water heater, install a new one and hook it into the pipes with these basic steps from plumbing experts.

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  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Prep the Water Heater

First, have a licensed electrician disconnect the wiring to the old water heater.

Shut off the water at the main using a meter stick. Purchase or rent a small water pump to drain the tank (Image 1).

Next, cut through the existing incoming and outgoing water lines using a pipe cutter (Image 2). Remove the old lines from the tank.

If necessary, adjust the height of the pipes to accommodate the new water heater.

Step 2: Install an Isolation Valve

Shut off the water pump and remove.

If there isn't one in place, install an isolation valve on each water line. This will allow the water to the tank to be shut off without turning it off at the main.

install an isolation valve on each water line

Step 3: Place the Drip Pan

Place a drip pan in the floor where the tank will be installed. A drip pan will collect any water that may leak from the tank.

Unpack the new water heater then set it into place inside the drip pan.

drip pan collects any water that leaks from tank

Step 4: Solder

Solder the new sections of pipe and fittings using basic soldering techniques. These will connect the new water heater to the existing incoming and outgoing water lines.

solder new sections of pipe and fittings

Step 5: Secure the Connections

Apply Teflon paste to the connections on the tank.

Attach a female adaptor to the first connection then tighten. Repeat for the second connection.

Have a licensed electrician re-attach the electrical connections.

secure the connections

Step 6: Make a Tailpiece

Make and install a tailpiece to add to the pressure relief valve (Image 1) on the new water heater.

Purchase CPVC pipe and a male adaptor that will fit the pressure relief valve on the water heater.

Tip: Make sure the CPVC pipe is rated for hot water.

Cut the pipe to size. It should be long enough to reach into the drip pan. Apply CPVC primer to the pipe and adaptor; apply CPVC cement.

Insert the male adaptor on one end of the pipe (Image 2).

Step 7: Attach the Tailpiece

Screw the tailpiece into the relief valve.

Open up the safety valve on the water heater to allow cold water to fill the tank.

Turn the water back on at the main. Fill up the tank with water.

open up the safety valve on water heater