Here at AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical in Farmington, we get questions about how we install water heaters. Federal regulations for tank water heaters sold after 2015 changed. There were changes to the size of the new gas and electric tank water heaters. Because of this, we may need to do some retrofitting to get the new tank hooked up. In some cases, we may need to change the tank’s location so that it will fit properly.

Does the Water Heater Need Replacement?

The first thing we will need to establish is if your water heater needs replacement. Some signs that a water heater is about to fail include leaks, unusual sounds coming from the unit, and cloudy water that may smell. If you have any of these symptoms, call us right away for service.

Your water heater should last for about 10 to 15 years if maintained. Sadly, many homeowners neglect to drain and flush their water heater once per year. This allows sediments to accumulate in the bottom of the tank. All of that sediment can block the pressure relief valve. It also can cause either leaks in the tank or premature failure.

In Farmington Hills and Detroit, you will need a permit to install either a gas or electric water heater. In our office, we pull the permit for you. Only the legal owner of the house or a licensed contractor can pull a plumbing permit.

Gas-powered Tank Water Heater Installation

We need to begin by removing the old water heater. We shut off the gas to the tank and its water supply. We then drain the contents of the water heater outside. Then, we remove some of the gas piping and the overflow at the temperature relief valve. We will remove the flue connector from the top of the water heater. We will then clean the warm and cold water lines by sanding them and then cut them. At this point, the water heater can carefully be removed. We will properly dispose of your tank at the dump.

If your water heater was installed before 2015, the new tank water heaters are a bit wider. This is due to federal government regulations that required more insulation for energy efficiency. There are 1.5 more inches of insulation inside the entire tank. That creates a 3-inch diameter difference in size for your new water heater. Also, there are 1.5 more inches of insulation at the top. The problem that some homeowners will encounter is that your new water heater might not fit its space. We might also have to do a bit of retrofitting to get the flue to attach properly.

For homeowners with quite a bit of space where the water heater sits, we will do some minor re-piping. For others, it may involve placing the bigger water heater in a different spot. That will involve more piping. The good news is that your new water heater will be more energy efficient. That will save you money on gas each month.

Once we have solved the size-disparity issue, we will then reconnect the gas line to the new unit with pipe dope. We will also reinstall the drip cap. Then, we will connect the hot and cold water lines by sweating and soldering a new connection. We will reattach the flue, which will also take a bit of retrofitting, since the connection will be shorter. Then, we will reattach the overflow.

We can then turn the water back on to the system. While the water tank fills, we will turn on the gas and immediately leak-test the system. If there are no leaks, we can turn on the gas, light the pilot light and then test the system. We will show you how to use your new water heater. We will also remove any debris and clean the site.

Electric Tank Water Installation

If your electric water heater is over 55 gallons, you will have to convert your water heater to a heat pump water heater. The entire top of the tank has a small heat pump on the top that will reclaim heat from the air to heat the water. This is another government regulation. Heat pump water heaters save energy by heating the water with an electrical anode. This will likely cause space issues and necessitate some re-piping, if not tank relocation. The heat pump at the top of the tank is large.

The procedure of removing and replacing an electric water heater is obviously very similar to gas. The difference is that we will be turning off the electricity at the panel to the water heater. Both the red and black lines coming into the tank are live. There is an anode rod that we will install in the top of the tank to help with its longevity. Replacing this anode rod regularly and draining the tank yearly will prolong the life of your electric water heater. Replacing the anode rod may involve tipping the tank if you don’t have the ceiling height to install it.

Why Leave Water Heater Installation to Experts?

Overall, there are a number of issues that would make it dangerous for typical homeowners to tackle water heater installation. The sheer weight of removing a tank water heater makes it best to leave to our team of plumbers.

Most of our customers have a gas water heater. Gas water heaters save money over the costs of heating water with electricity. Only people qualified to work on gas lines should be setting up any type of gas water heater. Gas sinks to the ground because it is heavier than air. If you make a mistake and have a leaking gas line, the gas will accumulate. You will likely not know you did not fully seal the gas line. Any spark or flame will ignite it, causing an explosion. It is not worth endangering your family to save the small labor cost for installation.

Water Heater Installation Expertise in Farmington Hills and Metro Detroit

If you need water heater installation in Farmington Hills or the metro Detroit area, call us at AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical. We have been proudly serving our community since 1925. Besides water heater installations, we are a full-service plumbing company. We provide plumbing services, such as drain cleaning as well as water and sewer line services. We also provide garbage disposal, sump pump and water filtration repairs and installations. After the first year of your new water heater’s service, we will provide the first maintenance and check-up for free.

If that weren’t enough, we are also your local heating and cooling service company. We provide heating and cooling system installations, repairs and maintenance. We provide local electrical services as well. We have stood the test of time because we are professional and provide quality service. We also are transparent about our pricing. Our plumbers are clean and respect your home by wearing shoe covers when indoors. Call us today at AJ Danboise Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical for all of your water heater installation questions and needs in Farmington Hills or the metro Detroit area.

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