Having A New Water Heater Installed? Watch Out For These Issues

Modern water heaters are reliable, but they still wear out eventually. Water heaters that have been installed improperly can begin to suffer from problems within a few years, but most water heaters will last at least a decade, and many can go for even longer than that. Once your water heater begins to routinely require costly repairs, however, it's time to have it pulled out and replaced with a new model. This isn't a cheap operation, so it will pay off in the long run to make sure that it is done properly. Whether you are doing the work yourself or hiring a professional, these four common installation problems are worth keeping an eye out for.

Bureaucratic Headaches

In many jurisdictions, water heater replacement requires a building permit or other similar authorization from the local municipal government. This may seem like a bureaucratic hassle, but proper water heater installation is a major safety issue. The purpose of receiving this permit is to notify the local government that new equipment is being installed and will need to be inspected. A professional installer should be familiar with local ordinances, but it will pay to call your city hall and ask anyway.

Improper Fittings

Although they are very rare with professional installations, improper pipe fittings can sometimes be an issue with amateur installations. The typical gas water heater will have a cold water inlet, a hot water outlet, a pressure relief valve, and a gas inlet. Each of these connections (especially the gas line) needs to be solid. New installations should be checked, rechecked, and checked again for any leaks. This only takes a few minutes, and it can save you a significant amount of trouble later. If your installation will need to be inspected, this can also prevent a failed inspection for an easily fixable problem.

Poor Placement

It's likely that your new water heater will eventually need to be serviced, and this means that being able to physically reach it is important. While most homeowners choose to place their new water heaters exactly where their old ones were located, now is the time to consider whether there are any serious issues with its placement. Moving a water heater to an entirely different location in the house is a difficult and expensive task, but it is often relatively easy to relocate the unit to a slightly different position in the same room. This should be considered if moving the heater will make it more accessible or provide better safety clearances.

Missing Drainpipe

Your new hot water heater is equipped with a pressure release valve, but many novice installers do not realize that this valve is designed for a drainpipe. When hot, high-pressure water is released, there is a serious burn risk for anyone who happens to be standing nearby. To prevent this, a downward facing pipe is generally installed on this valve to make sure that the water is safely released onto the floor. Once again, if you require a safety inspection, this is one very minor problem that can cause you to fail the inspection and force you to schedule a new one.

Water heater installations are relatively straightforward jobs for professionals, but they present many potential pitfalls for amateurs. If your hot water heater is failing, consider calling a pro to have the installation done properly. If you still choose to tackle this job yourself, be sure that you are mindful of the problems that might crop up.