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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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