Common Mistakes to Avoid when Installing Water Heaters

Every now and then some homeowner tends to become adventurous and tries to install a water heater without professional help. This is not as bad as it seems. But, what happens when a mistake is done? Can disaster be far behind? If you would want to do a water installation as a do-it-yourself project, then you should be aware of the common mistakes you must avoid.

Soldering of Pipes

It would be almost impossible to forego of soldering of pipes to establish a connection between the tank and the water line. One of the most common mistakes is that some homeowners tend to solder too close to the tank. Why is this bad? Tanks make use of plastic fittings and the heat generated by propane torches are not exactly the kind you want near these plastics. So how do you do it?

First, unscrew the pipe nipples from the tank. Create a short extension segment that will be soldered to the nipples as far away as possible from the tank. Wait for the pipes to cool down before attempting to reattach them. This should help prevent “accidentally” melting the fittings.

Incompatible Metal Connections

What is all the fuzz about incompatible metal connections? Why is it so bad? The main reason is that when you join to incompatible metals in a single connection, you have a joint that has a high risk of failing; resulting in an acceleration of corrosion. We don’t have to elaborate what happens next when corrosion comes into the picture, right? All we can say is that it is not good!

If you have copper water pipes, you must use copper connectors as well, or at the very least brass connectors; which are compatible with copper. Using galvanized steel nipples for example with copper pipes will create a dielectric union fitting caused by the two incompatible types of metals. So the corrosion will eventually lead to water leaks and shorten the effective operating life of your water heater. If things are not clear yet, this will result in expensive and extensive water damage to your property. So if you are stuck with incompatible metal connections, make sure you use a dielectric connection.

Relief Valve

In standard water heaters, the relief valve is a safety feature that helps to control the temperature and pressure. So what happens when you do not install it properly? The tank will most probably explode. This means that anything and anyone within a few feet of the water tank will be drenched in scalding water.

The valve is usually installed about 6 inches above the floor and placed at the side of the tank to allow it to automatically open and relieve the pressure within the tank. For more protection, it is best to connect a threaded drain tube to the valve outlet. It should then be routed to the floor and safely divert the discharge away from the tank.

Safety Precautions

One of the most common mistakes that can happen when installing water heaters is that safety precautions are often neglected. One such example is dry firing the tank. What does dry firing mean? This is the practice of turning on the water heater without waiting for the tank to be completely filled. What is the danger in doing this? You are taking the risk of having the electric heating elements burn out or if you have a gas-fired heater, the tank may crack. So how do you avoid this? Open the hot water faucets in your home and wait for uninterrupted water flow before you restart the unit.

Another security precaution that can be neglected, do you secure your water heater after installation? Why is this important? If the tank is not strapped securely to the framing, there is a tendency for it to tip over or fall in case there is an earthquake or something accidentally dislodges it.

These are just few of the common mistakes you must avoid when installing water heaters. If you really want to make sure that you get the very best performance from your water heating system, call a licensed professional plumber to do the installation. You can be sure that it will be worth what you pay for!

Call Scott English Plumbing at 949-462-9773 or 714-987-9801 for water heater installation.