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|How to install gas water heater|
new water heater:
-Propane and natural gas are different:
Propane: do not install below grade (in basement). Propane gas is heavier than air, so gas leak hugs floor and can fill basement with explosive gas.
Natural gas is lighter than air, and will rise. Odorant is added to gas. If you smell gas, leave house. Call gas company.
-BTU rating: Check label on side of old heater, and buy same-similar BTU rating for new heater. Larger BTU rating might require larger gas line or starve gas appliances and cause malfunctions when more than one appliance is opertating.
-Size: Water heaters manufactured after April 2015 are larger diameter because of thicker insulation added to DOE standards. Measure height and diameter if necessary. Water heaters over 55 gallon must be condensing type heater. Cost of over-55 gallon heater plus installation and maintenance are an expensive choice. Install 2 water heaters.
-TP valve location: Check if TP needs to be specific height. Important if overflow tube goes through a wall or cannot be moved. TP overflow tube must drain downward, and cannot tip upward.
Which is best gas water heater
Two water heaters
TP valve code
Manufactured home/ Small unvented closet/ Small home
Mobile home water heater is designed to draw air from underneath structure.
This ensures adequate air supply to support combustion, and allows water heater installation inside small closet.
Air intake must be kept clean, and no flammable vapors stored nearby.
Spec sheet illustration of air intake
Install electric insted?
Note: any ordinary electric water heater can be installed in mobile home when circuit breaker box can support rated wattage.
4500 watt electric water heater = 10 gauge wire and 240volt 30 amp breaker
Replace elements with smaller wattage
3800 watt electric water heater = 12 gauge wire and 240volt 20 amp breaker
Which water heater is best
Warranties are same across all brands
First year parts-tank-labor are covered for original homeowner and non-commercial installation
Must be installed by instructions shown in product manual.
Some warranty sellers cover labor for installing new heater during first year.
After first year, parts-tank are covered, but no labor.
Some newer warranties are pro-rated, and do not give full coverage for tank as it gets older.
Shorter warranty has greater percentage of full warranty coverage.
Should you select 6 year 9 year 12 year?
Main difference is anode rod diameter, or sometimes 2 anode rods.
You can convert 6 year tank into 12 year or 15 year by inspecting anode each 1-3 years, and maintaining tank as shown in product manual.
How to Replace-anode-rod.html
Some stores offer extended warranty. Do not buy extended warranty unless it also includes labor.
Rheem FV sensor
Flammable sensor kit
Whirlpool resettable TCO located on combustion cover
FVIR prevention and resettable TC
Systems vary widely
Today's gas water heaters need regular maintenance and plenty of fresh air to avoid FVIR and TCO shut-off problems.
Do not expose water heater to flammable vapors, or dusty environments.
Keep belongings away from front and top of water heater.
Read the manual and avoid problems that cost money and shorten life of heater.
The more you can do yourself, the lower long-term cost.
TCO = thermal cut off located on front of combustion chamber. Shuts off burner if temperature inside combustion chamber exceeds set point. Clean air instake screen, clean combustion parts, check draft, get more fresh air to water heater, and reset TCO. Read more
Because FVIR and TCO repair includes cleaing air intake screen, I recommend 3-legged water heater with screen located on bottom so you can inspect and clean without removing burner parts.
FVIR= flammable vapor ignition retardation. Shuts off burner if temperature inside combustion chamber exceeds set point. Replace parts or reset FVIR according to manufacturer's protocol. Read more
ECO = energy cut off located inside gas valve thermostat probe. Shuts off burner if water inside tank exceeds thermostat set point. Replace gas valve. Read more
Typical family, tankless save $1-8 on monthly energy bill, but installation, maintenance, repairs and purchase price never payback. Tankless are maintenance heavy.
All costs are energy. Read1 Read2
Tankless require yearly maintenance, tank-type require periodic maintenance
9) KEEP IT SIMPLE: Expensive water heaters will not pay pack
Review GE Hybrid
Things you should ask before buying solar water heating system
Do not set gas water heater on carpet or near flammables.
Ok for electric, but not gas.
Do not install GAS water heater on top of carpet. Must be on wood or metal surface.
Keep household and building materials 6" away from front; 0-1" away from side and back; and 24" away from top of water heater.
Check that water heater is NG natural gas or LP propane gas > these are two different water heaters
Do not install LP gas water heater below grade (basement) since gas leak will fill basement with explosive gas.
NG is fine for basement since NG natural gas leak is lighter than air and will rise, so basement will not fill with gas
Gas water heater should be set 18" above floor level. Adequate incoming air supply is needed.
Do not install LP gas water heater below grade (in basement).
Read water heater safety precautions before starting
Water heater precautions/ pdf
|Installing new gas water heater|
Cold side has shut off
Run water and feel which pipe is hot
1) Identify hot and cold sides
Look for markings on top of old tank. Letters H and C are usually stamped into top of tank.
New heater must be connected Hot-to-hot and Cold-to-cold.
Shut off valve should be located on Cold side. But never ASSUME... always check Hot and Cold sides.
1) Turn off water Notice that shut off valve is located on COLD water pipe.
Hot pipe must go to side of heater marked HOT, and cold to COLD or heater will not work.
Disconnect water pipes from water heater.
If you are unsure which pipe is hot, then run hot tap for a minute and feel which pipe on top of water heater is hot
shut off valve
Shut off water to house
Rotate shut off 1/4 turn so valve is perpendicular across water line
Located water meter box, remove lid, dig away dirt to find shut off
Shut off is located on house side of meter
Use water key or pipe wrench
Drain water heater
Turn Gas valve OFF
Keep end of pipe clean
Disconnect gas line from control valve using
crescent wrench or pipe
Keep end of gas line clean.
If you have flexible gas line, take care not to twist or kink tube so you can use it again. Spray a bit of WD40.
Note size of gas line: If you buy same BTU heater, then gas line is correct size.
If you buy heater with more BTUs, check that gas line is large enough.
Tip: Home center sells yellow-colored flexible gas line.
Back of flex-line package has BTU chart to help select correct size gas line.
New flex gas line can cost about $30 so use old one when possible.
Keep pipe clean
Gas line, and water lines can be connected with UNION.
Loosen large nut. Take apart union using two wrenches.
Re-install union: Clean connection surface with rag and apply thin film of approved pipe sealant to each surface using finger to help pick up last bits of debris and to help seal pipe.
No teflon tape needed on threads of big nut.
Thread sealant must be rated for gas... buy at local hardware.... read product label.
Apply thread sealant completely over the surfaces that will connect together when union is reattached.
Keep parts clean so debris does not enter gas control valve
-or- replace union with flexible connection.
Disconnect vent pipe from draft hood
Support vent pipe with wire so it will not fall down.
Flue pipe joints should have 3 sheet metal screws at each joint.
Purpose of vent pipe is to remove combustion gases from house
Inspect vent pipes/ Do not use aluminum vent pipe
Vent pipe must be approved material as shown in product manual. For example galvanized or stainless steel.
Aluminum vent pipe is not code, and is unsafe.
Install 3 sheet metal screws per joint, and then add metal tape over screws if required by local code.
Taping vent joints without using screws is not code.
If vent pipes are rusted, or covered with white condensate, or have holes, then vent pipes must be replaced.
If top of old water heater has black soot, that can indicate vent pipe is not working correctly. Danger.
A plumber may be necessary to correct vent problems.
Check that vent cover is still on top of vent pipe located on roof and that vent pipe has no obstructions.
Read more near bottom this page.
Check if vent has proper draft by lighting match
See if smoke drafts immediately upward.
The smoke should not linger. It should draw upwards quickly.
If vent does not have draft or if furnace vent is blowing out of water heater vent each time furnace turns on, then vent pipes must be repaired.
All gas appliances must vent out of house to avoid CO poisoning.
Read checking the draft
Holly removes anode rod for periodic inspection Larger image
Water heater stands at Amazon
installing water heater where it is exposed to stored chemicals.
Read about corrosive atmospheres
10) Set new water heater in place
Read manual for advisories.
Water heater should sit at least 18" off floor since flammable vapors, such as stored lawn mower gasoline and paint thinners, will gather close to floor.
Leave space so water hose can be connected to drain valve.
Water heater weighs 75-220 lbs empty. 40 gallon steel water heater filled with water weighs approx 400-500+lbs.
If area is prone to high water, set heater higher.
Warranty is void if water heater floods. Manufacturers recommend replacement of flooded heater. Do not touch water heater that has been flooded. Electric shock danger. Turn off breakers.
Use earthquake straps as required by code.
Earthquake straps at Amazon
Set water heater in drip pan.
If air intake is on bottom, then stand heater on bricks.
Drip pan cannot be deeper than 2", and must be 1-2" wider on all sides than water heater so the pan does not interfere with air supply entering water heater. Install 3/4" or larger drain connection that goes to a drain.
Many people don't use drain pan. Tank failure can render home unlivable until repairs are made. Leaking water heater
Connect draft hood to new water heater
2 or 3 sheet metal screws directly into top of heater
Install vent hood pdf from AO Smith
Attach vent pipe to draft hood using sheet metal screws. See image
Solder for copper water pipe
Use 95/5 tin-antimony solder or other equalevent when soldering copper water pipe.
Use non-lead solder
Do not use 50/50 tin-lead solder or lead-based solder for potable water lines.
How to solder pipe
to Hot and cold to cold
Look for markings on top of heater
If water pipes are reversed, water heater will not work
Which is cold pipe? Cold pipe has the shut off valve
Use flexible copper for EZ connection
Use PTFE yellow teflon tape on gas pipe joints
Gas lines ... use yellow teflon tape
Connect gas line exactly as it was connected before.
Apply yellow teflon tape, and leave first two threads clean with no tape.
Do not let dirt, stray teflon, or any debris enter gas line. Make sure gas line is clean.
If you can install water line successfully, you can connect gas line. Gas line has less pressure than water line.
When using pipe joint compound, use approved compound for gas. Do not over-dope pipe so compound can enter gas control valve.
Make sure inside diameter of pipe is clean and free of cuttings and loose dirt.
Don't overtighten gas line to gas control valve or damage to gas control valve can occur.
|Do not overtighten connection at gas
Just make it tight, but do not 'crank down' on the wrench or gas control valve can be damaged
You will perform a gas leak test on last step, so take it easy on the big big wrench when attaching pipe to gas valve.
Do not overtighten
Re-use yellow flexible gas line
If product manual requires solid pipe, do not use flexible connection.
For example hybrid, or tankless ect might require solid pipe so gas flow is maximum, and gas flow is not restricted by bends in pipe.
Local code might require solid pipe, otherwise flexible gas line is easier to install.
Do not use copper pipe for water heater gas connection. Gas will react with copper. There are regional exceptions that allow copper pipe, when the regional gas supply does not react with the copper. Check local codes.
Use yellow teflon tape on gas line connections
Home center sells yellow flexible gas line for easy installation.
Back of flex line package has BTU chart. Match flex-line diameter with BTUs of new heater.
3" drip leg (or sediment trap) is required to keep moisture and contaminates from entering gas control valve
Do not overtighten pipe at gas valve
Use 'black pipe'/ do not use galvanized
pipe for gas
Black pipe is for gas
Do NOT use galvanized pipe. Galvanized is reactive to gas.
Zinc flakes will come off galvanized pipe and enter gas valve causing malfunction.
Put yellow teflon tape on each pipe joint. Yellow-colored teflon tape is for gas pipes.
Do not overtighten at gas control valve
Union can be very tight.
Re-install union: Clean connection surface with rag and apply thin film of approved pipe sealant using finger to help pick up last bits of debris and to help seal pipe.
No teflon tape needed on threads of big nut.
Gas pipe capacity .pdf
Install overflow tube
Install TP overflow tube that runs down to at least 6
inches of floor.
Use pipe off old heater.
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
How to test and replace TP valve
✔ Water heater set 18" above floor in drip pan
✔ Vent hood and vent pipe connected with 3 screws at each joint. Aluminum tape over each joint.
✔ Water pipes installed
✔ Gas line connected to water heater control valve.
✔ Overflow tube connected to TP valve
Turn on gas
Check for leaks
Fill tank with water
Turn on burner
outlet surge suppression/ protection for electronic gas controls and
gas water heaters with blowers
Two outlets/ Both outlets surge-protected/ can also protect other outlets in the circuit
Meet standard for new water heaters that plug into outlet
Hot, neutral and ground wire needed/ can replace any ordinary outlet
Locate outlet within 10 feet of water heater ... do not use extension cord
15 amp surge suppressor receptacle
Leviton J-box surge protection kit
15 amp duplex surge protector
Types and installation for home surge protection
Outlet surge supression manual
Surge protection outlet manual
Water heaters that connect to electrical outlet.
If water heater has power vent blower etc, it will connect to electrical outlet. Use surge protector. New gas valves and electronics can be damaged by simple power outage. Surge can happen when power resumes. Outlet surge
Whole house surge
Outlet must be wired correctly, with correct polarity and ground. See chart
Best result is dedicated outlet that does not connect to other circuits inside home, and does not have fluorescent lights on same circuit.
Use cheap circuit analyzer from hardware to test outlet. See image
Use multi-meter and test continuity between manifild tube on gas control and ground prong on plug.
Gas controls are damaged by surge: Use surge protector.
Gas valve is ON
Turn gas ON
Rotate gas shut-off handle until parallel with gas line. This lets gas flow to water heater control valve.
Now that gas is ON:
NO SMOKING, no flame, do not turn light switch on-or-off
OK to have lights ON, just don't turn ON any other electrical appliance until leak test is completed
You can easily smell gas. LP gas is heavier than air, so smell close to floor. NG is lighter than air and will rise.
Be prepared to leave house immediately if you smell gas.
Lp gas falls to floor level, so smell close to floor. NG rises so you can smell NG leak when standing.
Do not worry excessively
Give gas time to show bubbles.
Gas pressure is low, so it take time for leak to show.
Test for gas leak
a) Test pipes: Mix liquid soap with water and use brush to put around around gas line joints to see if there are bubbles. Use plenty of soapy water. May take some time for bubbles to appear since gas is under low pressure.
Soap bubbles coming from joint indicate leak: retighten pipes, use teflon tape on yellow flex pipe and black pipe.
Do not overtighten pipes or damage can occur to gas control valve.
b) Test factory-installed connections located below gas control valve
Manifold and pilot tube connections located under the gas control valve do NOT use teflon tape.
See image of manifold and pilot tubes
If either tube under gas control valve is leaking, just tighten a little bit. Do not overtighten.
Manifold and pilot tube: look for reverse thread on LP water heater. Regular thread on NG water heater
Remember: Natural gas and propane gas both have less pressure on the line than water pipes, so gas pipes are easy to seal with ordinary wrench. If you can install water line without leaking, you can do the same with gas line. Do not over-tighten connections.
Gas odor will be present if gas line has leak. Smell close to floor since some gas can be heavier than air and will settle downward. If gas is present, leave house immediately and call gas company. Turn off main shut-off at gas meter.
Bathtub running full stream before lighting water heater
must be full of water or steam explosion could occur!!
18) Fill tank completely with water until water is coming out of tub spout.
Open tub spout on hot side and wait for full stream of water.
Next open TP valve for a moment to bleed last of air from tank.
Turn off tub spout and light heater.
Tank cannot have any air when burner is turned on or damage can occur to tank.
How to light typical gas water heater
Read directions printed on side of your tank
Light new water heater as shown in water heater manual
Read product manual for tips and advisories.
How to light gas water heater by type of gas control valve
Note: New gas heater might have small water leak when first fired up because of condensation
Ignore a bit of water inside combustion area or bottom of tank.
This water is condensation and will disappear as tank reaches set temperature.
Any cold tank can show same condensation when fired up.
Water pipes should not be leaking.
Water should not be dripping down vent pipe: this signals bad venting ot other vent problem.
Don't worry excessively, but if needed, post questions on professional water heater forum: The Tank
Set temperature to 120 degrees
Adjust temperature to 120 degrees, or higher if family has
Tank will heat 41 gallons per hour, so expect tank to be fully heated in an hour for example.
How to adjust water heater temperature
How to increase amount of hot water
Intelli-vent gas control valve and Honeywell Gas control valves are increasingly common
Save water heater manual like gold.
Read everything in manual.
Record date of purchase and warranty period
Follow maintenance schedule and installation, operation advisories
Manual will save money and heater will last longer.
Read 9 ways to save with water heater
Remove flammables away from water heater
Explosion inside your home wastes precious fuel, and could burn down neighbor's garage.
Gas safety cans at Amazon
water heater and it will last many years beyond warranty.
manual and links below.
How to maintain water heater
1) Read about anode rods
2) Read about stray current corrosion
3) How to flush water heater
4) Inspect for leaks
5) 9 ways to save with water heater
6) Water heater safety precautions
7) Read manual and follow maintenance schedule and precautions
to test water heater vent.
Let main burner operate for 5 minutes.
Then put match near vent hood.
Smoke from match should get sucked into vent
Water heater vent test/ pdf
Checking the draft
Read more at Tank
During typical water heater combustion, hydrogen content of fuel is burned and the result is hot gases. One of these hot gases is steam or water vapor. Adequate venting or air draw up vent is required so gases vent outside.
When there is inadequate draw, the water vapor cools and condenses on inside wall of vent pipe. This condensation water is acidic (pH 3-5) and corrosive. It will corrode steel metals and other materials.
Improper venting causes water to drip down vent into combustion chamber of gas water heater. Parts inside combustion chamber rust. Holes develop in bottom of water heater. Inspect combustion chamber for rust and water.
If steel vent pipe is not venting, the vent pipe will rust and get holes, or joints will fall apart. This situation causes hot gases to enter home and poses serious risk of odorless CO poisoning.
Simple test for proper venting: Pipes are not rusted or covered with white condensate. No water on top of tank. Burner inspection does not show excessive rusting. Light match under vent pipe and see if smoke immediately draws upwards. If smoke does not draw, then call plumber.
Read manual for flue pipe clearances so hot vent pipe does not touch or come near combustibles.
Rusted flue pipe -or-water on top of gas water heater could indicate serious problem.
Call a plumber if you are uncertain.
Check pipes and flexible connectors for leaks.
If water coming from flue pipe:
1. Vent cover could be missing > rain water entering flue (replace cover)
2. Flue pipe clogged with bird nest or come apart or damp from improper venting: danger of odorless Carbon Monoxide poisioning
Serious danger from CO poisoning, a plumber should be called if you are uncertain about vent pipe water leak
Read troubleshooting at forum
See u-tube video
Read about CO detector
How to replace anode rod
distance of vent pipe from window
Side-wall vent pipe must be 4 feet away from windows and doors. And 3 feet away from inside corners.
Larger image with more information
Power direct-vent clearances
Venting a gas water heater
Conditions where outdoor air supply is needed
How to troubleshoot gas water heater has moved to separate page:
Click link for gas water heater resources including troubleshoot by type of gas control valve.
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Hot water circulation system
9+ ways to save with water heater
Motorized shut off valve
Clean sediment from tank
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|Intermatic control centers:
+ manuals and parts
Control with Z-wave
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Control water heater with programmable wall timer
Control water heater with countdown timer
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