DIY Network

How to Remove a Hot-Water Heater

A traditional water heater will last 10 to 20 years, but it won't last forever. Paul Ryan demonstrates how to remove an old water heater.

More in Plumbing

  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Turn Off the Water and Drain the Tank

Tip: Check your local codes before beginning any project.
To remove your old water heater, turn off the gas, etc. and then the water.

Hook up a water hose to the water heater drain valve, open the valve and drain the water out.

Expert Tip: Drain as much water as possible out of your tank before you try to move it. It will make your job a lot easier.

open valve and drain water out

Step 2: Cut Off the Water Tubes

Older houses have a tempering tank (which looks like a water heater). It brings water in from the outside and holds it in a tank to bring it to room temperature, and then it goes to the water heater and heats it.

Use a rotating pipe cutter (called a close quarter cutter because it can be used in tight spaces) to cut off the cold water tube. Be sure and have a bucket on hand so that you can catch water that's still left in the pipe.

Do the same to the hot water pipe.

cut off cold water tube

Step 3: Disconnect the Gas Pipe and Remove the Tank

Cap off the gas pipe with a 1/2" pipe cap and pipe compound. Tighten with a pipe wrench and channel lock.

Tip: If you are uncomfortable working with gas, hire a contractor.

Remove the vent and then remove the old hot water tank.

disconnect gas pipe and remove tank