Is It Time for a New Water Heater? Tips for Replacing Your Old Water Heater

Feb 09 2017
Hot Water Faucet

Water heaters are long lasting appliances. The average water heater can reliably last over 10 years. Despite this endurance, water heater, like any appliance, eventually fail. Parting with your water heater can be a tough thing to do since it is an appliance that is easy to forget about until something happens that causes it not to work. Replacing the water heater can seem like an arduous and expensive task when the time comes to finally make an upgrade to a new unit, but investing in a new water heater doesn’t have to be difficult–just make sure you purchase a quality unit. Here are some tips for parting with your old water heater and investing in a new one.

Disconnect and Drain the Heater

The first step to installing a new water is getting rid of the old one. This involves removing it and draining it. Water heaters are heavy, weighing up to 150 lbs, and will require several people and/or a dolly to completely remove. Turn the water heater off and shut the main water off to prepare for removal. Allow time for the water to cool before draining it since the water is scalding. Open the drain valve and allow the water to drain. Once the water is completely drained, you will be ready to completely disconnect the unit and remove it.

Size and Purchase a New Unit

Ideally, you will have already sized and purchased a new unit before removing the old one. Make sure that the height is the same so you will not have to change the length of water, gas, or electrical lines. Often, you will be replacing the unit as a result of a leak in the heater, so make sure to have a new heater ready to install when you remove the old one. Most residential water heaters cost between $150 and $400, depending on size and gas or electric. If you have a plumber help with installation, you can add an additional $200-400 to the costs. A quality water heater can last 10-15 years with proper maintenance.

Remove, Break Down, and Dispose

After you’ve successfully drained and disconnected the old heater, you’ll need to get it out of the house, break it down, and dispose of it. Empty water heaters are heavy and will require a dolly or an assistant to safely remove. Once you get the unit out of the house, you’ll need to either break it down and dispose of the parts or have the unit picked up by a garbage removal service if there is no recycling program. If you have the unit picked up to go to the landfill, you’ll likely have to pay a disposal fee. Alternatively, you can scrap the water heater at a metal recycling facility and possibly make some cash from some components. Recycling heaters is the ideal solution for disposal.