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When and How to Replace Your Water Heater

A water heater has a typical lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Beyond that, it could start having problems. The lifespan of a water heater may be shortened if you have hard water. This is because lime deposits from the hard water can build up inside of the heater, reducing the unit’s efficiency. Opt for soft water to increase the functionality of your water heater, and make sure to maintain it regularly, too.

Water Heater Replacement

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Replacing Your Water Heater

You can tell that your water heater needs replacement when you see leaks in the tank itself or water that has accumulated beneath the tank. The telltale sign of a leak is a trail of rusty water. This is a sign that the steel tank is rusted through and cannot be fixed. If your heater is no longer providing you with adequate hot water, this is another sign that it is dead or dying.

The moment you detect any of these signs, don’t wait any longer—replace your water heater rather than risking being left without hot water in the event that it dies completely. Residential water heaters cost between $150 to $400 and installation ranges from $200 to $450.

If you have some knowledge and ability in plumbing, you may be able to replace your own hot water heater and save on installation costs. However, if you are not that confident, it is better to call a plumber such as Utah Rooter to do the installation. Remember that you will be working with electricity, propane, or natural gas, all of which are hazardous.

Follow these steps if you want to replace your own water heater:

  • Turn off the gas to the water heater. Shut off the main water supply, and drain the lines by opening the faucet on the lowest part of the house.
  • Attach a water hose to the drain valve and drain the tank. Disconnect the gas line with a pair of wrenches and unscrew the pipe from the gas control valve.
  • Unscrew the vent pipe from the hood and move it aside. Cut the hot and cold water lines with a tube cutter. Slide the old water heater out.
  • Wrap the threads of the new temperature and pressure relief valves with Teflon tape. Screw them tightly into the tank using a pipe wrench. Attach the copper discharge pipe.
  • Solder new copper adapters and screw the assemblies into the hot water outlet and cold water inlet ports located at the top of the tank.
  • Slide the new water heater into place, extend the old tubing to meet the new, and solder the tubing together.
  • Reconnect the vent. Shove it tightly over the draft hood and anchor it on the wall.
  • Reconnect the gas line. Reattach the remaining nipples. Close the drain valve, turn the water back on the main valve and open the cold water valve to the water heater. Turn on a nearby faucet until water comes out, and inspect the joints and fittings for any leaks.