Installing a new water heater may seem like an easy project to tackle on your own, but it can turn into a disaster if not done correctly. If you decide to forgo the help of a NATE-certified technician, take extra care to avoid these common water heater installation mistakes.
Soldering Pipes Near the Tank
It’s likely you’ll have to solder pipes to connect the new tank to your water lines. If you solder too close to your tank, the heat can ruin critical plastic tank fittings. Instead, unscrew the pipes from the nipples on top of the tank and do your soldering work a safe distance away. Once the pipes have cooled, reattach them.
Making Incompatible Metal Connections
If your home has copper water pipes and your new tank has copper or brass connectors, you don’t have to worry about issues with incompatible metals. However, if there are galvanized steel nipples or connectors on the tank, you’ll need to add a dielectric union fitting in between the two types of metal. This is necessary on both hot and cold water pipes. If these two metals touch, the electric charge created can corrode pipes and cause water leaks.
Forgetting a T&P Overflow Tube
A temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve is a standard water heater safety feature that’s designed to keep your tank from exploding. If an overflow tube hasn’t been installed properly from the T&P valve (within 6 inches of the floor), anyone nearby can be sprayed with scalding hot water if the valve opens unexpectedly.
Dry Firing the Tank
Once you’ve finished the installation, don’t flip the breaker back on until you’ve filled your tank completely. If you forget this key step, your electric heating elements can burn out or your gas-fired tank might crack. To prevent this from occurring, open your hot water faucets and wait until there’s an uninterrupted flow before restarting your water heater.
To learn about more water heater installation mistakes to avoid in your Central Arizona home, please contact Wolff Mechanical.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).