5 Star Plumbing | Tips for DIY Tankless Electric Water Heater Installation
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Tips for DIY Tankless Electric Water Heater Installation

5 Star Plumbing > Blog > Tips for DIY Tankless Electric Water Heater Installation

Tankless water heaters, particularly electric tankless water heaters, are gaining popularity due to their efficiency and ability to provide hot water on demand. Unlike traditional water heaters that continuously heat and store water, tankless models heat water instantly as it flows through the unit. This on-demand system results in significant energy savings by reducing energy costs and consumption. Electric tankless water heaters are known for their energy efficiency, which not only benefits the environment but also lowers household energy bills. The key to their efficiency lies in eliminating the need to keep a large tank of water heated at all times, thus offering an energy-efficient solution to your hot water needs.

Preparation for Installation

Before installing a tankless water heater, it’s important to carefully consider several factors to ensure a successful installation.

  • First, identify the type of water heater that best suits your needs; different tankless models are designed for varying demands and capacities. Assess the current water heater setup in your home to understand the necessary changes for a tankless model.
  • Choosing an ideal location for installation is crucial – it should be an area with adequate space and optimal for the unit’s operation. Consider the installation location in terms of accessibility for maintenance and proximity to water and power sources.

Making an informed decision about these aspects is essential to ensure that your tankless water heater installation goes smoothly and efficiently, providing you with a reliable source of hot water for years to come.

Compact tankless electric water heater fitted in a small space with accessible valves for easy maintenance.

Installation Process and Instructions

The installation process for a tankless electric water heater involves a series of carefully executed steps. Adhering to these steps ensures efficient performance and compliance with safety standards:

  1. Review Installation Instructions: Begin by thoroughly reading the manufacturer’s installation guide. This will provide a step-by-step approach tailored to your specific model.

  2. Prepare Electrical Connections:

    • Ensure that your home’s electrical system, including the electrical panel and circuit breakers, can handle the demands of the tankless unit.
    • Install a dedicated electrical circuit from the electrical panel to the installation site.
    • Adhere to electrical codes for safe wiring practices.
    • Use the provided wiring diagram as a guide for making proper electrical connections.
  3. Set Up the Electrical Components:

    • Connect the electrical wiring to the tankless water heater, ensuring all connections are secure.
    • Install an electrical outlet near the unit if one is not already present.
  4. Finalize Installation:

    • Double-check all electrical connections for accuracy.
    • Test the circuit breakers to ensure they function correctly with the new installation.

Noritz tankless electric water heater in a utility area, with clear safety instructions and a fresh installation look.

Tools and Equipment Required

For a successful installation of a tankless electric water heater, you’ll need specific tools and equipment:

  • Pipe Wrench: Essential for tightening and securing plumbing connections.
  • Pressure Test Gauge: To check the water pressure and ensure it meets the requirements of the tankless unit.
  • Pipe Cutter: For modifying or adjusting the length of water pipes.
  • Temperature Controls: To set up and adjust the water temperature settings according to your preference.
  • Silicone Caulk and Thread Sealant: To ensure all connections are watertight and prevent leaks.
  • Heat-Resistant Silicone Sealant: Particularly important for sealing areas exposed to high temperatures.

Having these tools on hand will facilitate a smoother installation process and help in achieving a properly functioning tankless electric water heater.

Additional Installation Components

Installing a tankless electric water heater involves several additional components that ensure the system’s safety and efficiency:

  1. Valves:

    • Pressure Relief Valve: Essential for controlling and maintaining pressure within the system.
    • Anti-Siphon Valve: Prevents backflow of water, maintaining the integrity of your water supply.
    • Drain Valve: Used for draining the system, crucial during maintenance or emergencies.
    • Purge Valve: Helps in purging air from the system during the initial setup or after maintenance.
    • Shutoff Valve: Allows for the isolation of the heater from the water supply for maintenance or emergencies.
    • Supply Valve: Regulates the flow of water into the heater.
  2. Ventilation Components:

    • Vent Thimble, Shaft, Kit, Hood, and Hole: These components are essential for the proper venting of a gas tankless water heater, ensuring safe expulsion of exhaust gases.

Two tankless electric water heaters mounted on a wooden wall with neat piping, indicating a professional installation.

Electrical Requirements and Connections

The electrical setup is a critical aspect of installing electric tankless heaters:

  1. Power Supply Requirements:

    • Ensure the electrical power outlet provides sufficient amperage and pressure for the heater.
    • The unit might require a 120-volt or 240-volt electrical power supply depending on its model.
    • Install a dedicated circuit from the circuit panel to the heater.
  2. Voltage and Circuit Considerations:

    • Determine whether your electric tankless unit requires a 120-volt circuit or a 240-volt circuit.
    • The voltage power supply should match the unit’s requirements for optimal performance.

A Noritz tankless electric water heater installed next to copper pipes, representing a space-saving water heating solution.

Safety Precautions and Compliance

When installing a tankless electric water heater, it’s crucial to follow strict safety precautions and comply with local building codes:

  1. Adhere to Building Codes: Ensure all aspects of the installation adhere to local building codes, which are designed to ensure safety and efficiency.

  2. Safety Measures: Utilize appropriate safety devices and follow established safety measures to prevent accidents during the installation process.

  3. Hire Professionals: For aspects like electrical connections and plumbing, it’s advisable to hire a licensed plumber or a licensed professional. These experts understand the nuances of a proper installation and can help avoid dangerous mistakes.

  4. Professional Installation: If unsure about any step, opt for a professional installation. Licensed plumbers and professionals have the training and expertise to ensure that the installation is safe, efficient, and compliant with regulations.

  5. Avoid Improper Installation: An improper installation not only poses safety risks but can also lead to inefficient operation and increased energy costs.

A single tankless electric water heater installed in a white closet, with pipes and a digital control panel visible

Connecting and Setting Up the Heater

Once you’ve ensured safety and compliance, the next steps involve connecting and setting up the heater:

  1. Electrical Connections: Carefully connect the heater to the electrical supply, ensuring all connections are secure and meet the electrical requirements of the heater.

  2. Water Supply and Lines:

    • Connect both hot and cold water lines to the heater. Ensure the hot water outlet and the cold water inlet are correctly attached to prevent issues with water temperature.
    • Double-check all piping connections for leaks. Use pressure valves, shut-off valves, and water valves as needed for a secure installation.
  3. Setting Up for Optimal Performance:

    • Once connected, check the incoming water pressure to ensure it’s within the heater’s operating range.
    • Adjust the temperature settings on the heater to achieve the desired hot water temperatures.
    • Test the heater by turning on a hot water faucet or tap to ensure it starts heating water efficiently.

These steps will help you set up your tankless electric water heater correctly, ensuring it provides a consistent and efficient supply of hot water.

Outdoor installation of a white tankless electric water heater with various connection points for easy service and efficiency.

Final Steps and Testing

Once the heater is installed, follow these final steps to ensure it operates correctly:

  1. Pressure Test: Conduct a pressure test to identify any leaks or weak points in the installation. This is a crucial step for safety and efficiency.

  2. Initial Start-up:

    • Allow 2-4 hours for the entire setup and initial start-up phase.
    • Consider flexible installation options if adjustments are needed for optimal performance.
  3. Testing:

    • Turn on the water and power supply and test the unit.
    • Check all connections, especially at the wall outlet and foundation wall, to ensure they are secure and leak-free.

By meticulously following these steps and testing the setup, you can ensure the safe and efficient operation of your new tankless electric water heater. If you need professional assistance with installation, reach out to 5 Star Plumbing for help.

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