How to Install a Tankless Water Heater

Installing a tankless water heater is a meticulous project that requires adherence to all safety protocols. It’s a task best left to a professional licensed plumber.

Before switching on the power, inspect all plumbing connections and electrical wiring to verify they are leak-free and in compliance with local codes.

Installing the Gas Line

A gas tankless water heater uses less energy than a traditional model, but it requires a larger gas line and venting system to accommodate the higher BTU load. This makes upgrading your existing gas line a job that should be left to licensed professionals. The process can be complicated, and it’s essential to ensure that the new line meets local codes and manufacturer specifications. If the line is too small, your tankless water heater will burn through the gas supply and create a safety hazard.

Before starting work, turn off the power to your old water heater by closing its circuit breaker. You’ll also need to shut off your home’s gas supply at the main valve. This will prevent you from accidentally turning on the gas while working with it, and it can also protect your home’s pipes from damage from the excessive heat generated during the installation process.

Disconnect the water hoses connecting your old water heater from its pipes and connect the new ones to your unit’s ports. The package will include an installation diagram that outlines the correct water pipe connections, which should be made with stainless steel flexible pipe. If you’re using a gas-powered tankless water heater, install a pressure-reducing valve at this point as well. It’s also a good idea to add a discharge pipe to the pressure relief valve, which will direct any excess release of pressure away from your house.

Aside from making sure that your gas line can handle the increased demand for heat, you’ll also need to make sure that your home’s electrical service panel can accommodate the new unit’s electrical demands. A professional electrician can evaluate your home’s current wiring to determine whether or not it needs an upgrade before installing a tankless water heater.

Installing the Valve

The gas valve connects to the inlet and outlet water pipes on the tankless heater, allowing you to control your hot water. It is important to install the correct valve size based on your system requirements. Using the right valve will prevent issues with excessive heat or low flow. Using a valve with a shut-off lever can make it easier to cut off the water supply in the event of an emergency.

Ensure that the pressure relief valve port is properly secured to prevent leaks. Use plumber’s tape around the threads and hand-tighten it. Then, attach the discharge tube and route it to a safe location. For safety, it is a good idea to place a bucket underneath the discharge tube to catch any water that may be released during testing.

Next, connect the electrical wiring to the unit according to the instructions in the owner’s manual. The wire size and amperage must match the specifications specified in the manual. Then, test the wiring with a voltage tester to ensure that there are no problems with grounding and power distribution.

If you are not comfortable with the electrical installation, hiring a professional is recommended. They have the experience and knowledge to navigate local plumbing and building codes, ensuring that your installation is compliant.

Before mounting the tankless water heater, it is a good idea to build a covered platform to support the unit. This will help prevent the water heater from falling over during the mounting process. It’s also important to leave enough space between the water heater and the wall for expansion and contraction. If you are using copper pipe, it is a good idea to clean the joints and coat them with flux before soldering.

Bleeding the Hot Water System

Before the water heater can be reconnected to the hot and cold water lines, it is important that any air trapped in the pipes be purge. This can be done by opening every hot water outlet in the home and running water through them for a few minutes. This will help the system to flush out any air and prevent any issues with inconsistent water temperature or noise from the hot water heater during operation.

The next step is to connect the inlet and outlet water lines to the new tankless gas water heater. It is recommended to use copper pipe as it can withstand high temperatures and is durable. It is also important to use bell-hanger brackets and to clean and flux the pipe fittings before soldering them together. A pressure reducing valve may also be required to limit the maximum water pressure that is applied to the hot water system.

A tankless water heater will require more gas when it first fires up compared to traditional tanks, so it is important that your existing gas line be large enough to handle this. Ask your plumber to inspect the current gas line and determine if it needs to be upgraded to accommodate the increased demand.

While the DIY guide to installing a tankless water heater can be helpful, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed plumber for professional installation, and importantly, a good plumber, with skills comparable to the Lexington plumbers. This will ensure that your tankless water heater is properly installed and meets all local plumbing and electrical codes. A licensed professional can also assist you in determining which size tankless water heater will best meet your household’s needs. They can also inspect the electrical connections to ensure they are free of any hazards.

Inspecting the Electrical Connections

The electrical connections must be meticulously inspected to ensure that everything is safe and secure. A voltage tester can be used to verify proper grounding, and the wire size should match the recommendations in the product manual. The wiring must also be capable of handling the load of the tankless water heater, or you might need to upgrade your circuit breaker panel.

Once all of the connections have been made, the tankless water heater can be mounted to the wall. Choose a location that offers ample ventilation and easy access for maintenance. Closets and utility rooms are ideal, but any location that provides adequate space and clearance should be suitable.

After the unit has been mounted, you need to connect the water supply and waste lines. These should be run through flexible lines to prevent excessive strain on the units components. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation diagram, and be sure to leave enough space between pipes for expansion and contraction. Lastly, you need to insulate the hot water pipe, which will minimize heat loss and maximize efficiency.

When all of the connections have been made, you can switch on your electric tankless water heater and enjoy on-demand, energy efficient hot water. Before doing this, however, open a faucet to purge air from the water pipes.

During this process, it’s also important to check that the gas line is properly sized and that there are no blockages or leaks. If you notice any issues, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to make the necessary repairs. This will help ensure that your new tankless water heater will function at maximum capacity and provide years of trouble-free operation.

Mounting the Water Heater

The next step in the tankless water heater installation is to mount the unit on a wall in a location that provides easy access and conforms with local code requirements. Use the mounting materials and instructions provided with the unit to secure it to the wall. Before fastening the unit, carefully examine it for signs of leaks or damage.

Depending on the type of water heater you are installing and your plumbing system, you may need to tie in new pipes or replace old ones to ensure proper operation. If you are connecting to existing copper pipe, be sure to clean and flux the joints to prevent corrosion and to make a strong, long-lasting solder bond. For new installations, choose durable, reliable copper pipe. Be sure to leave enough space between the pipe stub and the wall to accommodate expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes.

Once the plumbing connections are in place, it is time to start wiring up your new water heater. Using the wire color codes found in your instruction manual and following standard safety precautions, connect the white wire to the white terminal on the unit and the black wire to the black terminal. Use a voltage tester to verify that you are not introducing an electrical hazard or shock hazard.

Once the electrical connections are made, it is a good idea to test your new water heater by turning on a hot tap and making sure that you get hot water. If you encounter any issues at this point, contact a professional plumber for expert repairs and replacements. Remember, a well-maintained water heater is the best way to ensure years of trouble-free service.

By Patty
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