Tankless Water Heater

June 27, 2013

So, you’re in the market for a new water heater, and have decided that you want a tankless to be green and to save water costs. Great! You’ve been to the hardware store and looked at the available models they carry…but wait, you’re not thinking of installing it yourself, are you?

Installing a tankless water heater is one of the most difficult DIY projects that you can undertake. Do a quick online search for “install your own tankless water heater” and you’ll see that every DIY website lists it as an advanced task.  Unless you are a licensed plumber leave this one to the pros.  Here are the things you’ll need to know how to do before installing your own unit:

1. Is it even feasible to install a tankless system in your home?  Not every system can be converted, and that’s not something you want to find out after you’ve dropped a thousand dollars or more on a unit.
2. Determine what size of tank you need. That’s determined by the size of your house, the number of bathrooms, and your usage pattern.
3. Design the system.  The tankless water heater generally comes by itself, and it’s up to you to purchase all the necessary pipes and fittings, as well as have all the tools on hand.
4. You will need to know how to turn off the water to the current tank and drain it.
5. Know how to turn off the gas to the water heater and disconnect the tank from it.  Be careful not to let any gas leak out or you’ll have a bigger problem.
6. You must know how to remove the current tank and dispose of it properly. In most cases, this will involve paying someone to haul it away.
7. Install the new type of vent that a tankless water heater requires. This will probably need to be wired in, so be a licensed electrician as well as a plumber.
8. Know how to wire in your new water heater unless there happens to already be a correctly sized power source very near where you’re installing your new system.
9. Upgrade the gas lines to accommodate for the increased demands of a tankless unit. You’re fine with welding, right?  And you have a welder’s license and the welder itself?
10. Run and install new water lines and pressure relief valve discharge line.  This may involve some soldering. Be really good at joining pipes this way or you’ll have a whole bunch of leaks.
11. Do all of this to local building codes, after getting all the proper permits. Because you’re already familiar with those, right?
12. Be sure your homeowner’s insurance will cover any “mistakes” you make and their consequences.

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Last Updated: June 06, 2024