How to Replace a Water Heater: A Complete Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to replace a water heater. Whether you’re looking to upgrade or your current water heater is on its last legs, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll walk you through the entire process, step by step. From selecting the right replacement to installing it properly, we’ll make sure you have all the information you need to get the job done right. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!


Selecting the Right Replacement

The first step in replacing your water heater is selecting the right replacement. There are several factors to consider when choosing a new unit, including:

Factor Considerations
Fuel Type Do you want a gas, electric, or hybrid water heater?
Tank Size What size tank do you need for your household’s hot water usage?
Efficiency Do you want a high-efficiency unit to save on energy costs?
Cost What is your budget for a replacement water heater?

Once you’ve decided on the right replacement for your needs, it’s time to move on to the installation process.

How to Replace a Water Heater

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before you begin the installation process, you’ll need to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Teflon tape
  • Pipe cutter
  • Jigsaw
  • Power drill
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pipe wrench
  • Measuring tape
  • New water heater
  • New water heater pan
  • New hot and cold water supply lines
  • New gas line (if replacing a gas unit)
  • New vent pipe (if replacing a gas unit)

Turn Off the Power and Water

Before you begin removing your old water heater, make sure to turn off the power and water supply. For electric units, turn off the circuit breaker. For gas units, turn off the gas supply and pilot light. You should also shut off the cold water supply valve.

Drain the Tank

Once the power and water supply are off, you can drain the tank. Connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and run it to a nearby drain or outside. Open the drain valve and let the tank drain completely.

Disconnect the Old Water Heater

Next, you’ll need to disconnect the old water heater. Use the pipe cutter to cut the hot and cold water supply lines and the gas line (if applicable). Disconnect any vent pipes and remove any mounting brackets or straps holding the unit in place.

Prepare the Area

Before installing your new water heater, you’ll need to prepare the area. Make sure the space is clean and clear of debris. If you’re installing a gas unit, double-check that the new vent pipe is the correct size and properly aligned.

Install the New Water Heater

Once the area is prepared, it’s time to install the new water heater. Use the measuring tape to ensure the unit is level and in the right position. Connect the hot and cold water supply lines and the gas line (if applicable). Attach any vent pipes and secure the unit in place with mounting brackets or straps.

Fill and Test the Tank

After the new water heater is installed, you can fill the tank with water and turn the power and water supply back on. For gas units, relight the pilot light. Check for leaks and make sure the unit is functioning properly.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Replacing a Water Heater


Replacing your water heater comes with several advantages, including:

  • Improved energy efficiency and lower operating costs
  • Increased hot water supply and reduced wait times
  • Improved reliability and reduced risk of leaks and other issues
  • Opportunity to upgrade to a more advanced or modern water heating system


There are also a few potential disadvantages to replacing your water heater, including:

  • The upfront cost of purchasing a new unit and hiring a professional installer
  • Potentially disruptive installation process, especially if replacing a gas unit
  • Disposal of the old water heater, which may require additional fees or hassle

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to replace a water heater?

The installation process typically takes 2-4 hours, depending on the complexity of the job and any unforeseen issues that arise.

How much does it cost to replace a water heater?

The cost of replacing a water heater varies depending on the type of unit and other factors. On average, you can expect to pay between $500 and $1,500 for a new water heater and installation.

Can I install a water heater myself?

We recommend hiring a professional to install your water heater, especially if you’re replacing a gas unit. This ensures the job is done safely and correctly.

How often should I replace my water heater?

Most water heaters last between 8 and 12 years. If your unit is nearing the end of its lifespan or isn’t functioning properly, it’s time to consider a replacement.

What size water heater do I need?

Choosing the right size water heater depends on the hot water usage in your household. As a general rule, you’ll need about 10-15 gallons of tank capacity per person in the household.


Replacing a water heater may seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and tools, it’s a manageable job. We hope this guide has provided you with everything you need to know to replace your water heater safely and efficiently. Remember to choose the right replacement for your needs, gather all the necessary tools and materials, and follow the step-by-step instructions carefully. Good luck!

Take Action Today

If you’re ready to replace your water heater, don’t put it off any longer. Contact a professional installer and get started on the process today. Your household will thank you for the improved hot water supply and energy efficiency!

Closing Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Always consult a licensed plumber or other qualified professional before attempting any plumbing or home improvement work.

Watch Video:How to Replace a Water Heater: A Complete Guide