Even Though You Can Catch The Ball, You Don’t Play For The Red Sox

Posted on October 9, 2013 by noritz

Water Heater Installation:  Leave It To The Pros 

When a home water heater needs to be replaced, some people panic, some do extensive research and some try to get their hands dirty as soon as possible to make the problem just go away.

Photo credit: Ryan Willson

Anyone but a seasoned plumbing pro will soon find themselves in a major, costly pickle if he or she attempts to replace a tank water heater with a tankless model all by themselves.
Unlike swapping a three-way light switch for an exact duplicate, switching from a conventional tank-style heater to a high-efficiency tankless model requires significant understanding of the sizing, gas inputs and venting requirements of today’s on-demand heaters.

Even if you have a little plumbing experience, every installation application is different. There are critical, seemingly minor details involved, some of which can be life-threatening, both during and after the installation process.

Unless you bat 1000 every time you work with plumbing, electricity and welding, water heater installation is a project best left to the pros. Web site diyornot.com suggests that installing a tankless water heater yourself will cut only about 30 percent from the installed cost. But even if the percentage were higher, why risk jeopardizing your family or even harming the unit itself?

New Jersey plumbing contractor A.J. Perri gives some supporting evidence on why a tankless water heater installation is not something you can do on the fly. What follows is an adaptation of his list of considerations for someone installing a tankless system:


– How easily can your current tank-style heater be replaced by a tankless water heater?
– How easily can your current tank-style heater be replaced by a tankless water heater?
– How big a tankless unit does your household need, considering its layout and your family’s usage patterns?
– What pipes, valves, pumps, fittings and tools are needed (and how to properly use or install them), since the heater does not come with these other supplies.
– How to turn off the water to the current tank heater and how to properly drain it.
– How to turn off the gas to the water heater and safely disconnect the gas line from the heater.
– How to remove the current tank and who to contact to dispose of it properly.
– How to install the right type of vent for a particular tankless unit. (Different models require different venting materials.)
– How to connect your new water heater to your home’s electric service (unless there is already a correctly sized power source where you’re installing the new system).
– How to determine whether to upsize the gas lines to accommodate the tankless unit’s more powerful gas burner.
– How to install new water lines and a pressure relief valve discharge line.
– How to complete all of the above in accordance with local building codes — and only after obtaining the proper permits.
– Whether your homeowner’s insurance covers any blunders and the unfortunate consequences that inevitably ensue.


In short, installing a tankless water heater can be a complicated, even dangerous job for the unskilled and the uninitiated. Some situations can throw curve balls, and professional installers make our lives easier, safer and healthier by avoiding or eliminating these complications. Our families are better for it, and we’ll have our hot water again that much more quickly.

For information on tankless water heaters and to find your nearest installer, please visit http://www.noritz.com/home-owners/find-an-installer/.






A.J. Perri Inc.


  • facebook
  • facebook
  • facebook
  • facebook
  • facebook