Who Is Qualified to Perform a Gas Water Heater Installation?

Installing a new propane hot water heater might not sound like a big deal, but it means working with potentially dangerous systems that not every homeowner has the knowledge or experience to be tinkering around with. Here is everything you need to know when considering who is going to do your gas water heater installation.

The Basics: How to Install a Gas Water Heater

Maeser tech explaining to the client about her water heater.

If all you need to do is change out your water heater, it might seem like an easy swap. On the surface, it’s not difficult: You drain the old tank, turn off the gas and the water, unhook everything on the old heater, haul it out, and hook up the new heater. There aren’t many attachments to unhook, just the gas supply and exhaust (flue), and the lines for cold water going in and hot water going out. But even though it’s a seemingly simple job and doesn’t require a lot of time to get it done, home improvement sites like Home Depot rate the difficulty of gas water heater installation as “advanced.” There’s a good reason for that.

Safety Concerns

Despite the seemingly easy installation, it’s working with gas that justifies the “advanced” rating for this job. Working with gas is potentially very dangerous for you, your family, and even anyone who shares walls with you or is located in close proximity to your home.

When you install your new water heater, you will have to turn off the gas so that you can disconnect the supply line and hook it up to the new hot water heater. It’s important to get the gas supply line as well as the heat trap and exhaust hooked up correctly. Once you have the new heater all hooked up, you can turn the gas back on, but you’ll need to check the line for leaks. For the amateur at home, this usually means slathering the connection with soapy water and watching for bubbles. A professional installer, on the other hand, will not only have greater experience working with gas lines, and therefore less trial and error, but also will have the equipment to detect gas leaks with greater certainty, keeping you and your family safer.

Plumbing Expertise

Although the plumbing required in gas water heater installation doesn’t carry the same dangers as working with the gas lines, it’s still a good idea for the person doing the job to have some plumbing experience. Not only will fittings need to be connected correctly, depending on the age of the old heater, how it was installed, and whether the replacement is an upgrade, you may need to update the plumbing as well.

Updates and Upgrades

Finally, if your system needs to be updated to meet modern standards, or if you’re considering an upgrade to a more advanced hot water system, such as a tankless gas water heater, you’re looking at a much bigger job than simply swapping out one water heater for another. If you’re upgrading from a traditional storage water heater, a tankless system will need to be retrofitted with new gas lines, new water lines, and a new ventilation system, making the upgrade much more advanced than the skills of your average do-it-yourselfer.

Professional Gas Water Heater Installation

If you’re getting ready to replace your water heater, for safety’s sake, look into professional installation. Not only does it keep you and your family safer by avoiding any newbie mistakes, it means getting it done quickly and efficiently so that you can get back to life as normal. Additionally, you can discuss your upgrade options with a knowledgeable professional to help you decide whether a more powerful hot water system is right for your family. For more information about gas water heater installation or to schedule with one of our experienced technicians, call Maeser today.

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