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How to install electric water heater

Turn breaker OFF

Must be a double breaker

Identify breaker amp rating:

Look at small numbers printed on end of breaker lever.

Never assume power is OFF

Use non-contact voltage tester on wire to see if power is present.
Press button on tester,
-if single beep then no power is present. If continuous beep then power is present.
Never stand on bare ground, always stand on dry boards, do not hold or touch anything metal when working on water heater that has power, tape tester leads to wood sticks
Never touch wet or flooded water heater without testing if power is OFF.
Multimeters at Amazon
Buy non-contact voltage tester at Amazon
Shop Amazon - Industrial and scientific
Shop Amazon - Industrial Electric Products
How to test if water heater electricity is off
Install electric water heater

Figure wire and breaker size:

Look at water heater label, located on side of tank
Look at Total connected watts:
If tank is rated 3800 watts or less, then 12 gauge wire and 20 amp breaker will work
Over 3800 watts up to 6000 watts, then use 10 gauge wire and 30 amp breaker

Connect wires as illustrated on left
Wires can be any color: black-white black-red black-back
Wires at top of water heater are usually black-red
Wires at top of water heater can connect to either wire coming from breaker box.

Do NOT turn power ON until tank is filled with water

Figure wire and breaker size
Top connectionelectric water heater connection Side connection
electric water heater wiring
Non-fused safety switch

Safety switch NOT mandatory on residental installations

Power shut off is handy safety feature.
Make sure power is OFF when working on water heater
Use for vacation shut off
Can use fused or non-fused. Having breaker and fuse on same line is OK
30 amp safety disconnect/ no fuses/ raise-lower handle for disconnect
30 amp fusable disconnect
Water heater is tripping breaker
How to replace circuit breaker
Choose correct wire and breaker size
Figure volts amps and watts for water heater
See inside main breaker box
install electric water heater

Flexible connections

Buy from my affiliate links
Stainless steel flexible connection at Amazon
Sharkbite water heater connection
Water heater installation kit
flexible water heater connections
8.4 lbs per gallon

Tank can sit drectly on any floor strong enough to hold weight of heater & weight of water

40 gallon water heater filled with water can weigh about 450+ lbs

Typical water heater weighs 100-150-200 lbs
Water weighs 8.4 lbs per gallon

Electric water heater can be installed directly on structural floor;: 3/4' plywood, cement, carpet, linoleum, tile
Avoid installing directly on hardood floor because of potential water damage to floor.
Do not install water heater on non-structural particle board or fabricated waferboards

Electric water heater can be installed inside any rain-proof room, including small closet
No air intake or vent pipe needed.
Exception tankless electric, and hybrid electric
Install electric water heater
Large image

Suggest: Set water heater inside drip pan

Drip pan saves damage, but can intefere with drain hose connection on electric water heater
Connect 3/4" pipe to drip pan connection. Run to nearby floor drain
Inspect water heater each 6 months for water leak
Drip pan
See drip pan installation
Water heater drip pans at Amazon
Water detectors at Amazon
Auto-shut-off valve at Amazon
Tank drain

Leave room for tank drain

Some day the tank will need to be drained.
Make sure there is space so hose can be attached to drain

How to replace water heater drain valve
What if tank will not drain
Install electric water heater

Identify Hot and Cold pipes

Top of tank has red and blue marks or H and C marks for Hot-Cold pipe connections
Hot and cold cannot be reversed, or tank will not function correctly
Shut off is normally located on cold side
Insulate pipes completely

Heat traps can be made by stopping the upward direction of pipes, and turning pipes downward
Heat traps save a few dollars per year... more savings if tank temperature is set higher

Bonding: Some water heaters will benefit from a ground wire connected to both pipes and to ground screw

Why you need ground wire
Heat trap nipples
Heat trap nipples can clog and cause noise/ di-electric
Di-electric nipples
Di-electric pex-lined nipples allow free flow of water and make no noise

Use di-electric nipples: Factory-installed heat trap nipples can cause noise and clogs

Replace with di-electric nipples
Hard water, plumbing repairs, street repairs, water main repairs can cause debris to clog heat trap
Diagram above shows how to make your own heat traps.
Di-electric prevents electrolytic corrosion or electrolysis from 2 different metal pipes
Use 6 wraps teflon tape on threads
Dielectric nipples at Amazon
Low Hot Water Pressure
How to replace short nipple
New water heater making noise
brass elbow and nipple

 Use brass pipe, elbow and nipple when connecting copper pipe to galvanized pipe

Save cost of plumbing repairs
Prevent electrolytic corrosion/ deterioration of galvanized pipes and clogs
Use 6 wraps teflon tape on threads
Brass nipples at Amazon
Brass elbows at Amazon
stainless pipe fittings

Stainless pipe, elbow and nipples do not corrode

Use 6 wraps teflon tape on threads
Stainless nipples at Amazon
Stainless elbows at Amazon

TP temperature pressure release valve

TP overflow tube runs down to at least 6 inches of floor.

Overflow tube must be same diameter as valve discharge connection. Do not downsize pipe into smaller pipe. Overflow tube can have maximum 4 elbows and 30 feet length.
End of overflow tube cannot be threaded.
Tube cannot be lower than top edge of drip pan. Tube must terminate 6" above open drain. TP valve can draw water back into water heater if overflow tube is under water.
Do not cap off TP valve or obstruct overflow tube
Overflow tube cannot have shut off valve installed, or any obstructive valve
TP valve is first line of safety for water heater.
TP valve releases water when pressure or temperature is too high, and prevents possible water heater explosion
Buy TP valves:
Replacement TP valves at Amazon
Teflon tape at Amazon
How to replace TP valve
TP valve code

Fill tank with water

Open bathtub tap on hot side.
When water runs fuull stream, then water heater is full
Illustration shows gate valve and ball valve
Rotate valve counter-clockwise to turn water ON

Check for leaks/ & re-inspect periodically

Buy ball valve/ water
3/4" ball valve at Amazon
Brass ball valve
Buy Ball valve/ gas
Gas ball valve
Element burns out
Tank must be full of water
Test elements

Tank must be full of water -or- elements burn out

Fill water heater tank before turning circuit breaker ON, .
Turn water ON. Open bathtub spout. Wait for full stream of water. Turn bathtub OFF. Lift TP lever for moment to bleed last of air from tank. Tank is full of water. Turn circuit breaker ON.
How to test element
Automatic water heater shut off valve
Automatic shut off valve

 Prevent flood damage/ automatic shut off valve

Savings undetermined/ save massive damage to home
Shut off water automatically when leak is detected
Valve ataches to water line... detector sits on floor... electric power does not rely on batteries

Water detectors at Amazon
Automatic water heater leak shut off at Amazon
Leaking water heater/ steps

Tank must be full of water BEFORE power is ON

Push breaker fully OFF and then fully ON

If breaker is faulty, more wires to another same-size circuit breaker
Troubleshoot new electric water heater
Water heater is tripping breaker
How to replace circuit breaker
Choose correct wire and breaker size
Figure volts amps and watts for water heater
New water heater making noise

Larger image

Push reset button located on upper thermostat, If water heater does not make bubbly fizzing sound

Put ear against tank and listen for bubbly fizzing sound

Expect 19 gallon hot water per hour of heating

240 volt 4500 watt element heats
Water heater insulation

Suggest: Wrap water heater with insulation

Save $2-8 per month
Do not cover TP valve or discharge tube
Insulation blanket can cover entire electric water heater, including electric wire
Leave access for drain valve
Marathon water heater manual says not to cover top of tank
Water heater insulation blankets at Amazon
See illustration
Dept of energy resource
pipe insulation

Suggest: Insulate pipes

Save 25 cents - 1 dollar per month x 30 years = $90-180
Insulate pipes at water heater and rest of house
Water pipes lose heat. When colder water enters tank, it must be heated more.
Pipes on top of tank draw heat out of water heater. Tank runs more.
Gas water heater: Insulation must stay away from top of heater and vent pipe.
Electric water heater: Insulation can cover all pipes and top of water heater
Pipe insulation at Amazon

Gas and electric water heaters Support the economy:
Buy water heaters  from my associate links:

50 gallon Gas water heaters at Amazon
40 gallon gas water heaters at Amazon
50 gallon Electric water heaters at Amazon
40 gallon electric water heaters at Amazon
Hybrid / heat pump/ water heaters at Amazon

How to install gas water heater
Troubleshoot gas water heater
Troubleshoot electric water heater
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Control water heater w/ Z-wave
Intermatic control centers Control centers:
+ manuals and parts

All control centers and parts

Including Z-wave
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Control water heater with programmable wall timer
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Control water heater with countdown timer
Low voltage power packs Low voltage transformers

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