We all love Youtube plumbing videos. But some plumbing projects should be done by experts. And one of those projects is definitely water heater installation. The DIY approach has positives, but sometimes cutting corners can cost you more in the end.
Installing a water heater is a project that affects many other systems in the home such as electrical systems, piping, plumbing fixtures, etc. As such, it 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.
Some of the most common water heater installation mistakes homeowners make.
1. Selecting the Wrong Size
Before you even get the chance to use your new water heater, you could be setting it up for failure by choosing the wrong size. Tank water heaters range in size from 30 to 80 gallons, and selecting the proper size depends on hot water usage and the number of people in your household. If the heater is too small, you’ll often find yourself running out of hot water. Conversely, if the tank is too large, you’ll waste money on energy bills by continuously heating water that you don’t require.
2. Installation in a Hazardous Location
The placement of your water heater is crucial for safety, convenience, and efficiency. Local codes may prohibit or limit where you can install a tank water heater, such as storage closets, attics, and beneath floors. Even if you’re replacing an older model, you can’t presume that the same location will work since newer models are more extensive and better insulated. An experienced plumber will ensure that your water heater has proper access and space for adequate airflow.
3. Failure to Install a Drain Pan Under the Tank
A drain pan is recommended or required beneath a tank water heater to collect any water that may leak or discharge from the unit. The drain pan must be made of corrosion-resistant materials and be at least 1.5 inches tall and 2 inches wider than the water heater’s diameter. Failing to install the drain pan or using the incorrect size increases your risk of water damage in the future.
4. Incorrect Pressure Relief Valve Configuration
The pressure relief valve is a critical safety feature that releases water from the tank if the internal pressure or temperature becomes too high. If the valve and release tube aren’t correctly installed, your water heater could burst or even explode.
5. Poor Selection of Materials and Connections
Inadequate knowledge and training can lead to negative outcomes when installing a water heater. Choosing the correct pipe type and size, avoiding mixing metals, utilizing good soldering techniques, and properly routing plumbing are all essential. Any mistake can void the warranty, harm the water heater’s performance and efficiency, or cause a system failure.
6. Failure to Obtain a Permit or Comply with Codes
When performing DIY projects, homeowners frequently believe they are exempt from building codes and permits, which is untrue. These guidelines exist for a reason, and skipping them can be both dangerous and costly. A reputable plumber will ensure that your water heater installation follows all applicable regulations.