6 Reasons To Avoid DIY Water Heater Replacement | Normal, IL


When you’re looking to save money or test your plumbing skills, learning to undertake a home water heater replacement can seem like a good idea. However, there are a number of pitfalls associated with installing water heaters that you may inadvertently fall into if you don’t have the required skills and experience. There are multiple reasons why paying for a professional installation service is worth the additional cost.

Reason #1: Safety first!

Safety is an important aspect that we cannot overstate. It is possible to make many mistakes while installing a water heater and not every mistake is immediately apparent. Proper installation and maintenance can prolong the life of a water heater, whereas an incorrect water heater replacement technique can cause immediate, premature, and devastating failures.

All water heaters will eventually fail. However, we want to help you prevent damage from water heater failures, and that starts by guaranteeing a correct installation. During a DIY installation, you could make many fatal errors, including not ensuring the temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve opens. This is a common issue that has affected many Normal, IL, homes. It can be due to faulty installation or poor maintenance. Inadvertently keeping this valve closed can cause up to 85,000 lbs of pressure to build up inside the water heater replacement and cause an explosion.

TPR valves are designed to release excess pressure when water pressure exceeds 150 PSI, or the temperature of water exceeds 210 degrees Fahrenheit. The valve opens and releases scalding water through pipes; if an error occurs you could be burned by scalding water. Structural damage could also cause damage to residents.

A defective temperature relief (TPR), valve, or improper usage, is not easily identifiable by an untrained installer. The resulting cost of structural repairs can easily be thousands of dollars, which means there is also a financial risk. Although your homeowner’s insurance may include water damage, it may not cover you if you have to hire a licensed plumber to install a water heater replacement after a DIY accident occurs.

Reason #2: Specialist skills, knowledge, tools, and materials are required!

Plumbers are licensed and qualified to install water heaters. They often have a combination of skills and experience in plumbing, electrical, carpentry and building work. Plumbers are also insured, so if they make mistakes, the plumbing company is responsible and not the homeowner. Ask for proof of insurance if you are unsure whether your chosen plumber can install a water heater replacement without additional risk to your finances.

Tools and materials owned by a professional plumber go a long way towards ensuring safe installation of your new water heater. It would add further expense to your DIY adventure if you have to invest in new tools and equipment, whereas a qualified plumber will have everything on hand.

Reason #3: Avoid unnecessary replacements!

You have to be confident to tackle a project such as this. It would be a waste of money and resources if you incorrectly diagnose an issue and prematurely replace your water heater. Issues such as a faulty heating element can result in little to no hot water and mistakenly make you believe that you need a new heater. Before recommending a complete water heater replacement, licensed plumbers conduct accurate diagnostics to identify the root cause. They can advise you on whether it is worth repairing or replacing your existing heater before you jump to conclusions of your own.

Reason #4: Installing the wrong size is a classic mistake!

A water heater has two sizes to be concerned about. One refers to the tank capacity (or gallons heated per minute if you’re looking at tankless water heaters), and the other is the dimensions of your heater. A larger capacity water heater isn’t always better. A 50-gallon water heater replacement will easily serve most homes with 2.5 bathrooms and up to four people.

A 60-gallon or larger tank could be necessary depending on how much laundry you do, and how many family members take showers at the same time. A larger tank will likely save you money in the long-term and save you a lot of frustration if there are issues with a continuous hot water supply.

Larger homes will require larger water heaters, or multiple smaller ones. Many large homes have three or more water heaters. However, the new generation of water heaters have higher efficiency standards and larger dimensions than older models. You may find that your current installation location is too small for the water heater replacement you really need.

Reason #5: Your chosen location may be inappropriate.

The International Code Council (ICC), which is a standard for residential and commercial building codes, is used by most cities in the United States, including Normal, IL. Size isn’t the only factor that affects water heater placement. There are plumbing and building codes that detail prohibited areas for electric and gas water heaters. There are also accessible standards for water heater installations. If you’re planning to install water heaters in bedrooms or bathrooms, they must be installed within a sealed enclosure to ensure that no combustion air is taken from the living area.

Reason #6: Water heater locations can be difficult to maneuver.

Water heaters manufactured after 2015 are often taller than older models. To meet the new government standards, higher efficiency means better heat retention. This requires greater insulation around the tank, which increases the size of the installation area. You may need to reconsider the location.

The typical 50-gallon water heater weighs about 125-150 pounds. This makes water heater replacement a difficult job that requires two people, especially if access to the installation location requires getting the unit through a narrow opening. The combined weight of the water heater and people might be greater than ladders can support. Plumbers are often required to lift tank water heaters using a pulley system.

To discuss your potential water heater installation needs, call Covenant Plumbing in Normal, IL.

Photo By Konstantin Zubarev at Shutterstock
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