Not to long ago my water heater went out. Just like that you think all is well then whamo a small leak appears. I was faced with a decision, fix it myself or call the plumber. Well after getting several estimates ranging from $1500 to $2500, I decided to do it myself.
It’s really not that to hard to repair plumbing. In this article I will give you some pointers to help aid you in this endeavor. And hopefully spare you from the high cost of paying for a plumber. Nothing against plumbers but this project is doable.
Steps it will take:
1) As soon as you realize that the old water heater has to go start draining it. It can take several hours to drain. Remember to turn off the main water valve and open up all of the faucets to eliminate any pressure. if it’s a gas unit make sure that you turn off the main gas line in the house and if it is electric turn off the breaker. Think safety first.
2) Try and purchase the same unit. This will prevent you from adding pipe and new valves.
3) Size up the job and disconnect the tank from the water pipes, gas line or the electrical connection. If it’s gas you will need to disconnect the flue as well. Save all parts in order to match them up when you purchase your supplies.
4) You will need to have on hand plumbers tape, small gas torch, solder, flux, plumbing sandpaper, pipe cutter, gas tape (to seal gas line) and maybe some pipe glue. Ask the sales person at the hardware store for a more defined list.
Once you have disconnected the tank remove it from your work space. Do a thorough measurement of the remaining pipe for reference when you go to the hardware store. I will be honest with you, you might need to make a few trips back to the store. Once you get the new tank, slide it into place to line up the plumbing.
If you bought the same unit it should line right up, if you were unable, you will need to remove or add length to the existing piping. This may require you to splice together copper with plastic, don’t let this scare you the hardware store will have all of the necessary parts.
If you need to add copper pipe make sure that you clean the old and new pipe by using sandpaper, inside and out. If it’s not clean the solder will not flow into the joint. Another tip is to not over wrap the mail threaded pipe with tape, this can cause a leak. Twice around should be enough. Also, don’t over tighten it.
This may sound complicated but trust me, if I can do it, anyone can. Just take it slow, ask questions from the hardware specialist and go online for more instructions. One last item, if you have a gas unit your county or city may require an inspection. The inspector will verify that the gas connection is right and that the angle of the flue is right. Don’t take a chance with gas, make the call to have someone come out and inspect your work.
Your should be able to complete this job for $500 or so and the tools and supplies will be available for when your dishwasher goes out. Good luck.