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Water Heater Replacement

Hot water is one of those things we don’t really think about until a water heater replacement is needed. Without a working water heater, we can’t get hot water for bathing, washing dishes, or doing laundry. So water heater repairs are something we need to take care of right away.

There are two types of water heaters: gas and electric. The type of water heater you have in your house depends on which energy source your home uses. When the time comes to repair the water heater, the energy source for your model does make a big difference in how you’ll go about repairing or replacing it. We are going to look at how to replace a gas water heater.



Do-It-Yourself (DIY) is a popular way of taking care of home repairs. In order to successfully complete a DIY project, you have to first make sure you have complete instructions and the proper tools for the job. To replace a gas water heater, here’s the steps you have to follow:

  • take out the old water heater
  • drain the water from the water heater
  • connect the flexible pipe
  • connect the new flexible gas line
  • hook up the water supply


Removing The Old Water Heater

The old water heater has to come out before you can put in the new one. You should have a fire extinguisher nearby, just to be safe. The first step is shutting off the gas valve. You’ll need an open-end adjustable wrench for this job. After you’ve shut off the gas, double check it to be sure by looking at the pilot light. It should have burned off if the gas is shut off. Sniff around in the area; if you smell gas, make sure you’ve got the gas valve all the way into the “off” position.

If you’re satisfied that the gas is shut off, turn the pilot switch to its “off” position and disconnect the exhaust pipe located on the top of the tank.

Drain The Water

Locate the cold-water “in” valve and the floor drain. Shut off the cold-water valve, then release the water into the floor drain. It will take a little time for the water to completely drain out of the tank. Use this time to disconnect the gas line from the heater.

Using a second wrench to keep provide counter-torque, disconnect the gas line with your other wrench. Do the same for the cold water “in” and hot water “out” pipes. This will allow some air into the tank, causing the water to drain more easily. You’ll be using new longer flex pipes for the new water heater so temporarily remove the cold-water shutoff valve. You’ll need to shut off the main cold water valve to the home for this. When the water is completely drained, take the old water heater out.


Connect The New Flex Pipe

To install the new heater, first put it into the place of the old heater. Now you’ll need to connect the segments of flex pipe. Using Teflon tape and your open-end wrench, tighten both connectors. Read the instructions on the Teflon tape to learn how to apply it.


Connect The New Flexible Gas Line

You’ll notice there’s a box toward the bottom part of the water heater. This is your pilot box. This is where you’ll connect the new flexible gas pipe. Using Teflon dope (follow the instructions on the can as to how to apply this), create a tight seal. Use your open-end wrench to help you tighten it before trying to remove the old gas fitting on the gas supply incoming pipe. After applying more Teflon dope, tighten the new gas fitting onto the gas supply pipe.


Hook Up The Water Supply

The new water heater will need a water supply connected. To do this, you’ll have to first burnish the fittings on the old water valve you removed earlier.[1] When the new valve assembly is ready, use your open-end wrench in combination with your Teflon tape to connect it to the cold-water flex pipe. Use Teflon tape to connect the hot water flex pipe the same way.

Once the hot water flex pipe is connected, you’re ready to fill the water tank. Turn on the main water valve to the home, then the cold water valve to the water heater. You should hear the water when it begins to run into the tank. While this is happening, reconnect the gas flex line and make sure to reposition to hood over the heater so that it is vented properly. Once the tank is filled, open the gas valve and light the pilot light. Set the temperature where you want it, and you’re ready to go.

Water heater replacement is not a difficult task if you take the time to research how to do it in a safe manner. Do-it-Yourself can be fun, as well as save you money on repairs, but if you cannot do so or simply don’t want to do it we recommend using Liberty Plumbing Services.  Give us a call.

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