How Difficult Is It To Replace A Gas Water Heater?

16 March 2023

When it comes to hot water services, there is a wide range of options available for homeowners to choose from. Among them, gas hot water systems have been a popular choice for their cost-efficiency and reliable performance. However, as with any appliance, there are signs that a water heater needs replacing.

The process of replacing a gas water heater can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge and a great service provider, it can be a smooth and hassle-free experience. It can be a moderately difficult task that requires specialised knowledge of hot water systems installation and working with a gas system.

Homeowners may also consider other options such as electric hot water systems, heat pumps, solar hot water systems, or electric water heaters depending on their needs and the installation costs associated with each water system installation. In this article, we will explore how difficult it is to replace a gas water heater and what factors you should consider before making a decision.

Components of a Gas Water Heater 

Before we delve into the hot water systems installation process, it is essential to understand the various components that make up a gas water heater. These include:

  • Tank: The storage tank holds the hot water until it is needed.

  • Gas Burner: The gas burner heats the water in the tank.

  • Gas Control Valve: The gas control valve regulates the flow of gas to the burner.

  • Vent Hood: The vent hood removes exhaust gases from the water heater and directs them outside.

  • Heat Trap Fittings: These fittings prevent heat loss through the inlet and outlet pipes.

  • Dip Tube: The dip tube directs cold water to the bottom of the tank.

  • Pilot Light: The pilot light ignites the gas burner.

  • Thermocouple: The thermocouple detects the pilot light flame and shuts off the gas supply if it goes out.

A step-by-step guide to replacing a Gas Water Heater 

Gas water heater replacement can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is always recommended to hire hot water installation experts to ensure a safe and efficient installation. However, if you decide to tackle the project yourself, here is a step-by-step guide to help you along the way:

Step 1: Turn off the gas supply to the water heater at the gas line valve and disconnect the gas line.

Step 2: Turn off the water supply to the water heater and drain the tank by attaching a hose to the drain valve and directing it to a floor drain.

Step 3: Disconnect the water lines from the water heater and remove the old unit.

Step 4: Install earthquake straps to secure the new water heater to the wall.

Step 5: Install the new water heater by connecting the water lines, gas line, and vent hood.

Step 6: Open the gas and water supply valves and turn on the gas and power supply to the water heater.

Step 7: Test the water heater by running hot water at a faucet to ensure it is working correctly.

Tips for working with natural gas lines 

When working with natural gas lines, it is crucial to take the necessary safety precautions to avoid injury or damage. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always turn off the gas supply before starting any work.

  • Use soapy water to check for gas leaks.

  • Only use approved materials for gas piping.

  • Hire a licensed plumber to handle any gas line connections or repairs.

Necessary safety precautions when installing a new Heater 

Installing a new gas water heater can be dangerous if not done correctly. Here are some safety precautions to take:

  • Make sure the new water heater is the correct size and type for your household's needs.

  • Read and follow the manufacturer's installation instructions carefully.

  • Wear protective gear such as gloves, eye protection, and a mask.

  • Turn off the power supply before starting any work.

  • Use caution when moving the water heater, as it can be heavy and awkward to maneuver.

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near the water heater to alert you to any leaks.

Replacing a gas water heater is a complex process that requires a lot of attention to detail. However, with the help of a licenced plumber or hot water installation expert, the installation process can be much easier and safer. It is crucial to follow the correct procedures and take necessary safety precautions to ensure that the installation is done correctly and that your home is safe from any potential hazards.

In summary, a gas water heater is an essential appliance in most households, and replacing it can be a significant investment. However, with the right installation team, the benefits of installing a new, efficient water heater far outweigh the initial costs. 

By selecting a system that is right for your household size and energy usage, you can reduce your hot water bill, lower your carbon footprint, and ensure that you always have a steady supply of hot water. Remember to always take safety seriously and follow the manufacturer's instructions and local plumbing codes to ensure a safe and effective installation.