Install an Electric Hot Water Tank

Edited by Robbi, Eng, Rob


One of the things that is just not a luxury these days is hot water. Convenience aside, staying clean and healthy means having a good hot water tank is essential.

Electric water heaters work for years without problems. There comes a time when the heater's water tank springs a leak. At this point, you can either call a plumber to rectify the problem or do some home repair yourself. The overall process isn't extremely difficult.If you're the least bit handy you can probably do the job.

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The key is to pay close attention to safety. Pay attention to what you're doing in order to preclude shocks. Ensure that you have no leaks prior to restarting the hot water tank.

As long as you can handle a pipe wrench and screwdriver, you will be able to change your electric hot water tank on your own, saving the money you'd have spent on the plumber.


What You Need to Install Your Hot Water Tank

  1. 1
    A new water heater tank
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  2. 2
    A voltage meter
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  3. 3
    A screwdriver
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  4. 4
    2 pipe wrenches
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Steps Involved in Changing an Electric Hot Water Tank

  1. 1
    Go to your breaker panel and disable power to the water heater.
    Now, check the heater's wiring terminals using a voltage meter. If the voltage meter does not register a zero reading, re-check the breaker and try the meter again. NEVER begin work on a hot water tank that is showing that it has power. Hot water tanks use pack quite an electrical punch, and getting shocked by one will be unpleasant...
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  2. 2
    The heater's water supply should be shut off.
    You can close the house's main water supply valve if there is no shutoff valve located near the heater.
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  3. 3
    To drain the heater, attach a hose to the drain valve located the bottom of the tank and open the valve.
    A hot-water faucet should be opened inside the house to let air into the top of the tank.
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  4. 4
    The hot and cold water lines have to be removed from the heater top.
    If unions or flex connections were used for installation, use a pipe or adjustable wrench to loosen fittings. In case no removable connections were used, use a hacksaw to cut through both the lines about 6 inches from the tank top.
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  5. 5
    Using a screwdriver, loosen and remove the wires from the heater's electrical terminals.
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  6. 6
    Remove and place the new water heater tank by replacing and tightening the unions or flex hose.
    In case the water lines were cut to remove the heater, use new threaded nipples to replace the cut sections. Make sure to place three wraps of plumber's tape on the fitting male ends before threading in place.
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  7. 7
    To begin filling the tank, switch on the heater's water supply.
    Once the air is purged from the hot water line, you have to close the faucet that was opened while draining the tank.
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  8. 8
    Check and fix any leaks around the heater before proceeding.
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  9. 9
    Connect and check the wiring and electrical terminals on the heater for proper voltage and to restore power.
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  • In case your old water heater was installed without any flex or union connections, install them while replacing the water heater as it makes future repairs and replacements easy.
  • If you do home repair, solder all fittings with copper before attaching to the water heater.


  • It is important that you switch off the power source before replacing the water heater. Water heaters usually work with 220-volt current, and a shock from this current can cause serious injuries and possible death.

Referencing this Article

If you need to reference this article in your work, you can copy-paste the following depending on your required format:

APA (American Psychological Association)
Install an Electric Hot Water Tank. (2015). In VisiHow. Retrieved Mar 25, 2017, from

MLA (Modern Language Association) "Install an Electric Hot Water Tank." VisiHow, Accessed 25 Mar 2017.

Chicago / Turabian "Install an Electric Hot Water Tank." Accessed Mar 25, 2017.

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