Why You Should Avoid DIY Water Heater Installation
July 11, 2022
Installing your own water heater might seem like a feasible idea but there are many good reasons why you should reconsider. Although you can save money by doing it yourself, you could end up spending a lot more if you botch up the job.
And the chances of doing so are high. Water heater installation isn’t exactly rocket science, but it isn’t for absolute beginners either. To do the job properly, you need some technical knowledge and specific tools, most of which typical DIYers don’t have. There are other factors to consider as well, as you will see below.
Safety issues with Water Heaters
Perhaps the most important reason to have a professional install your water heater is the safety risk involved. Failing to install the unit properly can cause a huge explosion that could damage property and result in severe injuries. And if water damage occurs, you and your family could face long-term health issues from mold growth and water contamination.
Some of the safety issues resulting from improper water heater installation could reveal themselves right away. Others may take months or years to become apparent. Either way, the risks are far too great to attempt doing the job if you don’t have the experience or the right tools.
Insurance and warranty considerations
Remember the possibility of water damage we mentioned earlier? You might be thinking that your homeowner’s insurance will cover it. Not so fast! Although most policies will pay for damage caused by flooding, burst pipes, and broken plumbing, they may only apply to repair or installation work done by a licensed plumber. If you aren’t qualified to do the job, you may be out of luck with regard to insurance compensation.
Furthermore, many water heaters are subject to warranties that only apply when installation is done by a professional plumber. In many cases, registering the warranty requires providing the license number of the plumber tasked to handle the installation.
And then there are the technical factors to consider. Installing a water heater requires considerable skills and knowledge, whether you are replacing a faulty unit or setting up a new one from scratch. Licensed plumbers study and train for years before tackling an installation for the first time, and the requisite knowledge isn’t something you can pick up overnight.
In addition, licensed plumbers are covered by insurance, so if anything goes wrong with the installation, the plumbing company’s insurer will cover the damage. If you take on the job yourself, any repair or replacement costs will come out of your pocket.
Common errors in water heater installation
If you need any more convincing why you shouldn’t attempt to install your water heater yourself, here are some of the many errors that could occur:
1. Getting the size wrong. This is a common mistake made by inexperienced DIYers. Get the size of the tank wrong, and you could jack up your energy bill or find yourself always short of hot water.
2. Installing it in the wrong place. Water heater placement is crucial. Apart from safety, convenience, and efficiency concerns, you will also have to ensure compliance with local codes. This type of knowledge only comes from experience.
3. Neglecting to install a drain pan. Drain pans collect water that may leak or be discharged from the water heater. Forgetting to install one or installing it incorrectly can result in water damage that can be costly to fix.
4. Setting the pressure relief valve incorrectly. This is another essential component that ensures the proper operation of your water heater. Get it wrong and your unit could burst or cause an explosion.
5. Using the wrong materials and components. Improper material selection not only impairs your water heater’s performance. It also voids your warranty and possibly results in costly damage and expensive repair bills.
6. Violating local codes and permit requirements. Just because you DIY your water heater installation doesn’t mean you’re exempted from local permits and building codes. Neglecting these could endanger your household and result in hefty fines.
Call A Professional with J.A. Bertsch
There are many things a DIYer can do in and around the home. But like DIY electrical, DIY water heater installations usually isn’t one of them. Unless you have the skills, knowledge, and experience to handle the job, it would be best to call in a professional.
J.A. Bertsch Heating & Cooling offers professional residential air conditioning services throughout Kootenai County. Our licensed A/C technicians cover all of North Idaho and our neighboring cities. Experience superior, award-winning service 24/7. Call us at 208-635-5480 to schedule an appointment.