DIY or Professional Water Heater Installation?

Families everywhere are looking to save money in any way they can. Installing a new water heater with an Energy Star Rating can significantly increase your savings on your power bills every month. It is highly recommended by manufacturers and sellers of water heaters to hire a professional to install your water heater, but homeowners may try and save some money by doing it themselves. But does it really pay off to install your own water heater? Are there any risks involved?

Knowledge of Installation and Codes

Hiring a professional for water heater installation offers you their knowledge of water heating systems. There are complex wiring and plumbing codes that you will need to follow. Breaking these regulations either on purpose or by accident will land you a fine and a requirement to replace your water heater again. Doing it yourself can save you money on the first installation, but hiring a professional to do it right the first time gives you peace of mind.


Painting your cabinets is a relatively low risk job, but when gutting and installing a water heater, you’re dealing with 240 volts of electricity. Allowing a professional to take on this risk keeps you safe. Also, if you install a water heater the wrong way, you could cause a fire or other damage to your own property. 20,000 emergency room visits are caused by carbon monoxide poisonings every year with 400 deaths. A professional can properly vent dangerous gasses and a permit should be required of anyone hired to tamper with your electrical and gas appliances.


Only a professional can properly assess the flow rate in your piping. If your water heater outputs a greater flow rate than your pipes can handle, you can cause significant damage to your water heating system and water damage to the rest of your house. Additionally, low pressure systems can be resolved with the help of a professional if the problem is discovered early on.

DIY Tips

If you do plan to install a new water heater on your own, turn off the gas or electric supply before working. It is dangerous to work with your gas valve or electric breaker on. Be sure to turn off all water faucets in the house and use the garden hose to drain the tank. Pipes may need to be disconnected if they are hard-plumbed. Replace the water heater and connect the pipes. Turn on the water supply and make sure there are no leaks. This ensures there is no air trapped in your water lines. Reconnect your wire and wait for the heater to heat your water again.
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