6 Common Mistakes of DIY Water Heater Installation

With the wealth of information available on the internet these days, more and more homeowners are learning how to tackle home improvement projects themselves instead of bringing in a professional. The DIY approach has its merits and benefits, including saving money. But sometimes cutting corners can cost you more in the end. 

Many plumbing projects, including installing a tank water heater, should only be attempted by those with the proper experience and tools, such as a licensed plumber. There are many mistakes homeowners make during a DIY water heater installation, ranging from choosing the wrong tank size, poor location, improper material selection, not following building codes, and more. 

Don’t make these mistakes installing your tank water heater

1. Choosing the wrong size

Your new water heater may be set up for failure even before it warms up its first gallon of water. Tank water heaters can range from 30 to 80 gallons. The size you need depends on the number of people in your household and hot water usage. If you buy a water heater that’s too small, you’ll find yourself frequently running out of hot water. However, if the tank is too large, you’ll be wasting money on your monthly energy bills by continuously heating water you don’t need. 

2. Installing it in a dangerous location

Where you place your water heater is very important – for safety, convenience, and efficiency. Depending on your local codes, there may be prohibited or restricted spaces to install a tank water heater, such as storage closets, attics, and under floors. If you’re replacing an old water heater, you can’t assume the same location will work since newer models are better insulated and wider than older units. An experienced plumber will make sure your water heater has proper access and room for adequate airflow. 

3. Forgetting to put a drain pan under the tank

A drain pan is recommended (or required) under a tank water heater to collect any water that may discharge or leak from the unit. The drain pan must be made from corrosion-resistant materials, and be at least 1.5 inches tall and 2 inches wider than the diameter of the water heater. Forgetting to install the drain pain or using the wrong size can increase your risk of water damage in the future.

4. Improper setup of the pressure relief valve

The pressure relief valve is a safety feature that releases water from the tank if the internal pressure or temperature gets too high. If the valve and release tube are not installed correctly, you run the risk of your water heater bursting or even exploding. 

5. Poor material selection and connections

Installing a water heater without proper training and knowledge can lead to negative results. For example, it’s essential to choose the right type (and size) of pipes, avoid mixing metals, use good soldering techniques, and route the plumbing in a certain way. Any misstep can void the equipment’s warranty, hurt the water heater’s performance and efficiency, or lead to a system failure. 

6. Not getting a permit or following codes

When homeowners perform DIY projects, they often think they are exempt from permits and building codes – which is absolutely not true. These rules are in place for a reason, and skipping these steps can be both risky and costly. A reputable plumber will make sure your water heater installation is done by the book. 

Professional water heater installation in New Haven or Fairfield County, CT

There are many projects around your home that you can tackle on your own. In our opinion, installing a water heater is not one of them. The smarter choice is to trust the professionals at Rick’s Plumbing. To schedule an appointment, call us today at (203) 874-6629.