Gas Water Heater Installation Tips 

Whether your old water heater needs to be replaced or you are thinking of installing a new one, the installation of a water heater can seem like an intimidating job. However, when you get familiar with the DIY water heater installation steps, installing a unit yourself becomes quite simple and easy. 

So, if you have decided to do it on your own, you will first need to buy a quality water heater.  For that, make sure to conduct thorough research; read reviews online and view threads on different forums to get an idea about the best water heater that you can purchase. 

Supplies and Tools Required:

  • Earthquake Straps
  • Pencil and measuring tape
  • Wrench
  • Self-tapping sheet 
  • Two flexible hoses
  • Utility knife
  • Wire brush
  • Metal screws
  • 3/8″ bit drill or nut driver 
  • Gas plumbers tape 
  • Quality gas line
  • Adjustable vent pipe 

How to Install a Water Heater

Step#1: Fix Earthquake Steps

The very first step you need to do is to fasten the earthquake straps into the wall; it will keep your gas hot water heater from toppling over during an earthquake by bracing the unit against the wall robustly. To begin, determine the spot to affix two seismic straps, measure the distance from the ground to the height of a water heater with the measuring tape, and mark the wall. 

The upper strap should be two inches below the temperature and pressure valve, whereas the bottom strap should be two inches above the gas regulator. Mount the brackets well, place and set the unit in drain pan by lining up it with the plumbing. Be sure that the heater’s inlet and outlet connectors are aligned with the plumbing. Do not forget to leave some space between the wall and heater for future maintenance. 

Step#2: Fasten Water Supply

After cleaning the hot and cold water line threads with a wire brush, connect the water supply lines using a ball valve and loop the flex connector. Be careful if you are installing copper water lines. It is important to mention here that some areas require dielectric nipples between the water lines and heater since the tools help reduce corrosion between two materials. Therefore, if you are using a copper water line, make sure to use them for the increased lifespan of your heater. Once done, then line the threads with gas plumbers tape.  

Step#3: Install Vent Hood and Vent Piping

The next step for your gas water heater installation is to fasten the vent hood on the top of your gas water heater over the flue. You will probably get a manual with your water heater; follow the instructions for venting hood as written in there. Not to mention, the process for installing vent hood varies among different manufacturers. To secure the vent hood, use metal screws and self-taping sheets.

 Once done, you will need to install a new vent pipe then. However, if your vent pipe of the old water heater is still in good condition, you may reuse it. Check the manual of the water heater to ensure you have the correct size of the vent pipe. If yours is of small size, make sure to buy a new one. Then, attach the vent pipe by inserting one end into the vent hood, attach the other pipe sections, and do not forget to adjust the elbows before installing the vent pipe. Secure the vent pipe with using metal screws and self-tapping sheet.

Step#4: Install the Gas Connection

After that, make sure to check the gas supply is off and clean the pipe fitting with a wire brush. Make sure to flush the pipeline by closing and opening the valve. Then, plug in the gas valve, unscrew the gas nipple on flexible lines, and paint pipe joint; make sure to avoid covering the few threads with pipe joint. Then you will need to affix the gas nipple into the gas valve and tighten it well with a wrench. Attach the gas flex connector to the heater gas valve and gas line.

Step#6: Fill the Tank and Connect the Earthquake Straps

The next step is to fill your heater with water by opening the inlet valve; make sure to check the leaks on flexible water lines. Then, connect the earthquake straps around the heater with clips. Once you have done this, connect a T&P drain pipe to the heater and turn the gas on. Make sure to follow your heater’s manual to follow the instruction. Then, place the lower dial on the heater’s gas regulator.

Step#7: Check out the Gas Pipes for Leaks

The last step is to check for the gas leaks; you can do that by spraying all gas connections with a spray solution. Mix two parts of water and one part of dishwashing detergent. If you notice bubbles forming upon spraying, then it indicates your gas pipe is leaking; tighten the connections with a wrench and check again.  

The Main Takeaway

When installing a water heater, make sure to check the label for tank size and annual energy usage. Moreover, be sure to leave some space between the water heater and the wall so that you will not need to face any problem when performing regular maintenance. 

While installing a water heater seems a simple task, it can be a bit risky if you miss any step. Of course, installing a gas water heater requires expertise; therefore, it is best to hire a professional contractor finder to get the job done rightly.