top of page



Hot water is essential for various daily tasks, from bathing to cleaning dishes and laundry. Over time, water heaters wear out and require replacement or upgrading. Proper preparation is key to ensuring a smooth water heater installation process. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to prepare for a water heater installation, from choosing the right type of water heater to post-installation maintenance.

Choose the Right Type of Water Heater

When selecting a water heater, consider factors such as energy efficiency, space availability, and your household's hot water usage. Tankless water heaters provide on-demand hot water and save space, while conventional storage tanks store hot water for future use. Heat pump water heaters and solar water heaters are eco-friendly options that can help reduce energy costs. Research different types of water heaters to determine which best suits your needs.

Understanding Water Heater Types and Features

When preparing for a water heater installation, it's crucial to understand the different types of water heaters available on the market and their unique features. Each type offers distinct advantages and may be more suitable for specific household needs. Let's explore the common types of water heaters:

Conventional Storage Tank Water Heaters

Conventional storage tank water heaters are the most traditional type and are still widely used in many homes. These water heaters store and heat water in a large tank, typically ranging in capacity from 20 to 80 gallons. They are relatively affordable and straightforward to install, making them a popular choice for homeowners.

Features to Consider:

  • Tank Size: Choose a tank size based on your household's hot water usage. Larger families may require a higher capacity tank to ensure an adequate supply of hot water.

  • Energy Efficiency: Look for models with high Energy Factor (EF) ratings to maximize energy efficiency and reduce utility bills.

  • Insulation: Opt for water heaters with adequate insulation to minimize heat loss and improve overall efficiency.

Tankless (On-Demand) Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, heat water directly as it passes through the unit, eliminating the need for a storage tank. These units are compact, energy-efficient, and provide a continuous supply of hot water on demand.

Features to Consider:

  • Flow Rate: Consider the unit's flow rate, which determines the volume of hot water the heater can deliver per minute. Ensure the flow rate meets your household's hot water demands.

  • Energy Efficiency: Tankless water heaters are known for their energy efficiency, but efficiency can vary among models. Look for units with high Energy Star ratings for optimal efficiency.

  • Installation Requirements: Tankless water heaters may have specific installation requirements, such as adequate ventilation and gas line sizing. Seek guidance from a skilled installer to guarantee the correct installation process.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat pump water heaters utilize heat from the surrounding air to heat water, making them highly energy-efficient alternatives to traditional electric water heaters. These units work well in moderate to warm climates and can significantly reduce energy costs over time.

Features to Consider:

  • Efficiency: Heat pump water heaters are among the most energy-efficient options available, but their performance may vary depending on climate and installation location. Consider factors such as ambient air temperature and humidity when choosing a unit.

  • Installation Space: Heat pump water heaters require adequate space for air circulation and may produce some noise during operation. Ensure there is sufficient clearance around the unit for proper airflow.

  • Backup Heating Element: Some heat pump water heaters feature backup electric heating elements for times of high demand or when ambient temperatures are too low to efficiently extract heat from the air.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters utilize the sun's energy to warm water, providing a sustainable and eco-friendly substitute for conventional heating techniques. These systems consist of solar collectors, storage tanks, and controls to capture and store solar energy for water heating.

Features to Consider

  • Solar Collector Type: There are two main types of solar collectors used in solar water heating systems: flat-plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors. Each has its advantages and may be more suitable depending on climate and installation preferences.

  • Backup Heating System: Solar water heaters often include backup heating elements, such as electric or gas-powered components, to ensure a reliable supply of hot water during periods of low sunlight or high demand.

  • Installation Considerations: Solar water heating systems require proper orientation and positioning of solar collectors to maximize sunlight exposure. Consult with a professional installer to determine the optimal placement for your system.

Preparations for Water Heater Installation

Measure the Space

Before purchasing a new water heater, measure the space where it will be installed. Consider clearance requirements specified by the manufacturer and local building codes. Ensure there is adequate space for ventilation, access for maintenance, and safety precautions. Accurate measurements will prevent issues during installation and ensure the water heater fits properly.

Check Local Building Codes

Local building codes vary, and compliance is essential to avoid legal issues and ensure safety. Check with your local authorities to determine if permits or inspections are required for water heater installation. Adhering to building codes also ensures the installation meets safety standards and operates efficiently. Failure to comply with regulations may result in fines or complications down the line.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before starting the installation process, gather all the tools and materials required. Common tools include a pipe wrench, pliers, pipe cutter, Teflon tape, and a voltage tester. Depending on the type of water heater and installation method, additional tools may be necessary. Having everything on hand will streamline the installation process and prevent delays.

Turn Off the Power and Water

Safety is paramount when installing a water heater. Before beginning any work, turn off the power supply or gas valve to the existing water heater. Shut off the water supply to prevent leaks and ensure a safe working environment. Follow proper procedures for disconnecting electrical or gas connections to avoid accidents or damage.

Drain the Existing Water Heater

If replacing an old water heater, drain the tank before removal. Attach a hose to the drain valve and direct the water to a suitable drainage area. Exercise caution as the water may be hot. Once the tank is empty, disconnect any remaining connections and safely remove the old water heater from its location.

Prepare the Installation Area

After removing the old water heater, prepare the installation area for the new unit. Clean the space to remove debris and ensure a level surface for installation. Place a drain pan beneath the new water heater to contain any potential leaks. Consider adding insulation or a heat shield if installing in a confined space or near flammable materials.

Install the New Water Heater

Install the new water heater-CPE industries

Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing the new water heater. Ensure all connections are secure and comply with plumbing and electrical codes. Use Teflon tape or pipe joint compound to create watertight seals. If uncertain, consult a professional plumber or technician to ensure proper installation and avoid potential issues.

Insulate the Water Heater and Pipes

Insulating the water heater tank and hot water pipes improves energy efficiency and reduces heat loss. Wrap the tank with an insulation blanket and install pipe insulation sleeves or wraps on exposed pipes. Proper insulation helps maintain water temperature and lowers energy costs, especially in colder climates.

Test for Leaks and Proper Operation

After installation, thoroughly inspect the water heater for leaks and proper functioning. Turn on the water supply and check for leaks around connections and valves. Use a voltage tester to verify electrical connections and ensure proper power supply. For gas water heaters, check for gas leaks using a gas leak detector or soapy water solution. Test hot water flow from faucets throughout the house to confirm adequate heating and pressure.

Familiarize Yourself with Maintenance and Safety Guidelines

To prolong the lifespan of your water heater and ensure safe operation, familiarize yourself with maintenance and safety guidelines. Refer to the manufacturer's manual for recommended maintenance tasks, such as flushing the tank and inspecting pressure relief valves. Install a carbon monoxide detector near gas-powered water heaters and keep flammable materials away from the unit. Regular maintenance helps prevent issues and ensures optimal performance.

Keep Documentation and Contact Information Handy

Finally, keep all documentation related to the water heater installation in a safe and accessible location. This includes warranties, permits, and invoices. Store contact information for the installer, manufacturer, and any professional service providers for future reference or assistance. Having this information readily available simplifies troubleshooting and warranty claims if needed.


Preparing for a water heater installation involves careful planning and attention to detail. By selecting the right type of water heater, measuring the installation space, checking local building codes, gathering necessary tools and materials, and following proper installation procedures, you can ensure a successful installation process. Remember to insulate the water heater and pipes, test for leaks and proper operation, and familiarize yourself with maintenance and safety guidelines. With proper preparation, your new water heater will provide reliable hot water for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is it important to check local building codes before installing a water heater?

Checking local building codes ensures compliance with regulations and helps prevent potential legal issues. It also ensures that the installation meets safety standards and requirements specific to your area.

2. What tools and materials are necessary for installing a water heater?

3. How can I determine the right type of water heater for my home?

4. Why is it recommended to insulate the water heater and pipes?

5. What should I do if I encounter difficulties during the installation process?



bottom of page