In most cases, installing a tankless water heater is not a DIY project. However, some units are designed with a simple set-up in mind. So, if you have some knowledge in the field and want to take pride in installing an electric tankless water heater on your own, then keep reading.
The best electric tankless water heater has its advantages over its gas counterpart. Additionally to being cheaper, the set-up is simpler, plus there’s no need for venting.
First things first, what tools do you need? For a self-installation of a water heating system, you need the following tools, supplies, and equipment:
- Safety goggles and gloves;
- Mounting kit;
- A shut-off or a pressure relief valve (not necessary);
- Right screws;
- A drill;
- Measuring tape;
What to Consider Before the Installation
Regardless of whether you’re replacing an older heater or just bought your first one, there are some things you have to consider before proceeding with the installation.
It is of grave importance for a couple of reasons.
- First, you should be able to access the heater at any time and operate it. Plus, if in the future any maintenance or fixing is needed, a person should be able to get to the appliance and do the work.
- Secondly, the further away the unit is from the faucets, the more wiring and tubes you will have to deploy. Wires and tubes cost you money, plus the more of them there are, the more complicated your job gets.
- Thirdly, if the heater is too far away from your bathroom or kitchen faucets, the longer you have to wait for the hot water to come.
- Fourthly, if you decide to install the system in your bathroom, you should make sure it is at a safe distance from the water. The same goes if you set it up outside. Even outdoor units have to be protected from drastic temperature changes, rain, hail, snow. Some sort of protection is necessary in both cases.
- Lastly, read carefully the instructions manual. It will likely specify if the heater has to be installed near the main power panel.
- Do not install the water heating system near other appliances.
- Do not put anything above, under, or beside the heater.
What is more, check with your local council or society if you need some kind of permit. Electric tankless water heaters have a simpler installation compared to gas models or systems with tanks.
You may also be interested in our article on How Do Water Heater Heat Traps Work?
How to Install an Electric Tankless Water Heater in Steps
The steps for the installation process sound relatively simple when reading them. However, doing the actual work requires you to be handy and have some basic knowledge in working with plumbing and electricity.
Look at the product’s warranty because DIY or improper installation may void it.
Also, you should know that these steps are only the basics. Specific models may have different setup requirements and instructions, so always read the product’s manual first.
- Turn water and power off.
- Mark the place where the heater will hang. Use a pencil, measuring tape, and a leveler, if necessary. If the unit has a bracket, attach it first.
- Hang the unit on the bracket or bolt, depending on the model you have.
- Remove the front panel of the unit (if removable) to get to the power cords.
- Make sure the wires are connected to the main panel. Secure them, so they don’t get out, if there are screws on the inside of the heater, tighten them well. Improperly strengthened screws can cause electrical failure. Do not connect power to the circuit breaker yet.
- Connect the system to the water supply pipe and the outlet pipe. Teflon tape might be needed for the male pipes.
- We recommend installing a shut-off valve at the unit supply so you can turn the water going in, on and off only. Additionally, check your unit’s required PSI and your house’s pressure. You may also need a pressure relief valve, so you don’t damage the heater.
- After the water connections are set up, you can hook up the power to the circuit breaker. Again, check the instructions manual for specific details.
- Lastly, attach the front panel (if it was removed) and set the desired temperature and enjoy hot water on demand.
We want you to keep in mind that you should check the amperage of the unit before purchasing it. Otherwise, you risk it not being compatible with your electrical system.
Maintenance of a Tankless Water Heater
After you’ve successfully installed your tankless water heater, you should know that all manufacturers recommend regular maintenance. This includes draining and flushing sediments and cleaning the filter. The frequency with which these procedures should be done depends on the type of water in your home.
If you don’t want to risk doing the regular maintenance on your own, you can hire a professional plumber.
We would also advise you to call an expert if you have to replace a tank heater with a tankless one because that’s a bit different. It’s even more complicated and requires more skills and knowledge in the field. If you are also interested in learning how long it takes a water heater to heat up, we recommend that you read our related article, too.
In case you own a water softener too, you may also find our article on water softener troubleshooting and repair useful.