5 Tips on How to Install a Tank Electric Water Heater
Thinking of switching over to a tank electric water heater? Although a relatively small portion of Canada’s population uses electric water heaters, they are usually the more cost-effective option; while electric heaters are more expensive up-front, they can be cheaper by avoiding fees involved in cumbersome gas heating installation, open-flame mechanisms, and gas prices. An electric water heater is a device used to convert cold water into hot water, through a large water tank, conducted by electricity. Electric water heaters are used to heat and regulate the water temperature in homes.
Here we will cover the basic steps and important factors to consider when installing an electric water heater. These steps provide a general overview, but it is always best to call a technician to do the job.
Conduct prior maintenance.
When looking at products, double-check the specifications to ensure they meet your needs. Important criteria include the size dimensions, water capacity, and wattage. It’s also a good idea to check your current water pressure before installation, to avoid running into complications later. Check the pressure with a pressure gauge on your outdoor spigot; between 50-60 PSI is ideal and, after turning off your water, adjust it accordingly with a pressure-reducing valve. You can ensure pressure safety through an expansion pack, as well, which works to alleviate excess pressure in the lines.
Prepare the area.
Before installation, turn off the electricity on the circuit breaker and guarantee it’s off with a voltage detector. Next, place a drain pan where you intend to install your water tank, in case of leakage and flooding. After the tank is set in the pan, install a discharge pipe on the valve to direct water towards the drain; the TAP valve will open if the temperature and pressure are too high. If you don’t have a drain, place a bucket under the pipe and cut the pipe no more than 6 inches above the bucket. It’s recommended to research any code of conduct relevant to your area, as you may be required to install seismic straps to help prevent earthquake damage; these straps will brace the tank to the wall.
Set up the tank with a flexible hose kit.
Apply plumber’s tape to the threads of the heat-trap nipples of the tank, and attach the hoses. Keep in mind that some areas may require dialectic fittings to reduce the risk of corrosion between different metals; if needed, securely apply plumber’s tape to the connector body threads, then hold the hose up towards the water pipes of your home; a little slack is good. Mark and cut the pipe accordingly. Remove the burrs next and slide the compression nut onto the pipe; push the pipe in and tighten the nut.
Fill the tank completely.
Remove the aerator from the nearest faucet and turn on the hot side. Turn on your cold water supply and check the connections of your hoses for leaks, tightening accordingly. If there are no leaks, continue filling the tank. There should be no water running from the tap up to this point, but once it begins running, this indicates the tank is full. Continue to let it run for another 3 minutes to empty all the air out from the tank. Ensure that the tank is full before connecting the electric wiring; if not done properly, you may run the risk of dry firing and ruin the heating elements.
Connect the wiring and finish the job.
Remove the junction box cover and attach the ground wire to the green ground screen. Twist these wires together using wire connectors. Then, put the cover back and turn on the power, on your circuit breaker. If the power doesn’t come back on, turn off the circuit breaker again and check your connections. Water tank wiring may follow different instructions per device, so be sure to follow your manufacturer’s operating instructions. Note that it may take several hours to heat the water for the first time and 120°F is recommended.
After a few hours, check your discharge pipe again. If you notice it’s dripping, this usually indicates the pressure is too high; be cautious, as the dripping water may be hot, and adjust the pressures below 80 PSI with the pressure-reducing valve.
If you notice a facet stops working after installing, remove the aerator and clean it. Then, run hot water to reduce any remaining sediment.
And your electric tank water heater is ready to go!
Regular maintenance is also recommended to ensure the safe and secure operation of a tank. Consider this advice for upkeeping your system:
- It never hurts to keep an eye on the thermostat; 120°F is best, so routinely check up on any concerning fluctuations.
- Make sure you leave about 2 feet of distance between your tank and other objects and/or devices. In case of leakage or flooding, this will ensure a more minimal impact.
- A few times a year, drain about a quarter of the water in your tank. This ensures sediments and debris are being frequently removed to keep your water clean.
- Every year, take a moment to test the pressure-relief valve to avoid future leaks. You may do this by discharging the valve 2-3 times.
- Examine your sacrificial anode rod every 3 years. This rod extends through the tank’s interior and attracts any sediments or debris present in the water. You may remove the rod by loosening the hex head screw; if you notice a deterioration of the rod, perhaps it’s time to replace it.
- Keep children and pets away from the tank to avoid scalding.
Call Smile HVAC
If you need help with water heater installation or repair, feel free to call Smile HVAC. Our technicians have many years of experience with water heaters. Call us at 437-777-4555 or book an appointment using the button below.