How to Install an Electric Water Heater | Electric Water Heater Installation

How to Install an Electric Water Heater

installing electric water heater wiring

The lifespan of a water heater is typically 10-15 years, which means learning how to install an electric water heater is a useful skill that you can use in your own home again and again. If you are looking to do the job yourself, be aware that it is a task a novice can complete. Before getting started installing an electric water heater yourself, ask this question:

Will My Installation Require Soldering?

Water heaters can connect to a variety of types of pipes. The plastic pipe needs water flex connections that are at least 18" long. The length will keep the pipe from overheating. These copper water flexes have threaded connections on both sides, so no soldering required. You may find water to flex connections solder only on one end and threaded on the other. If needed, read all about how to solder water heater pipes here.

The pressure relief valve outlet may also require a solder, but that may work with PVC pipe and a male adapter instead (the valve threads into the water heater, so no soldering there).

Electric Water Heater Installation in 10 Steps

Installing an electric water heater is a pretty straightforward process, and you should follow the instructions that came with your purchase, but the necessary steps are outlined here. Start with the power off! Cut the power at the circuit breaker.

  1. Move your tank into position.
  2. Ensure that the drain valve is closed tight.
  3. how to install electric water heater wiring
  4. Connect the supply line with the shutoff valve to your water heater inlet (it should be marked as cold or have a blue ring around it) followed by the line-out connection. Remember, this may require sweat soldering. It's not a bad idea to color-code your fittings. Blue for the supply line in and red for the hot water line out.
  5. Once both the connections are tight, turn the main water supply on and watch and wait as the tank fills up, keeping your eye open, checking for leaks. If you feel like it's near full, you can verify by going to the top floor of your home and turning on a tap. If there is no steady flow of water, your tank is not yet full. (Full or not, expect some spitting and hissing as the air in the water lines is replaced with water)
  6. Remember, you still want the power off at this point.
  7. Connect the electrical supply following your instruction manual closely. We also have a general guide on how to wire an electric water heater.
  8. Replace the access plate when finished connecting
  9. To access the thermostat, you will probably need to remove a plate. You can change the temperature with a screwdriver, and the recommended temperature for your hot water is about 120 degrees.
  10. Turn the power in your utility room back on using the circuit breaker.
  11. Now you're all set. You may need to reset your thermostat by carefully pressing the red button, usually located on the top of the thermostat itself. And now you're in business!

If you'd like a video tutorial, watch industry professional Philip Gaynor do an installation.

    Update Your Water Heater Like the Pros

    Once you've bought your water heater, you're ready to go. Just reference this guide on how to install an electric water heater to make sure you don't forget anything. If you are in need of replacement water heater parts or are looking for a specific brand of the water heater (like Bradford White), then you've come to the right place. Contact us with any questions about the installation or products.

    Related resources:
    How to Install a Gas Water Heater
    How to Solder Water Heater Pipes
    How to Wire a Hot Water Heater
    How to Install a Water Heater Expansion Tank

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