Step 4 : Prepare the water lines
Copper water lines that you cut need a new, threaded male pipe fitting soldered to the cut end (most copper tubing entering and exiting the water heater is 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch). To attach the new fitting, first clean the existing pipe and the new fittings with emery paper. Next, coat the end of the copper pipe and the inside surface of the threaded fitting with flux. Slide the fitting onto the pipe. Apply heat to the base of the fitting with a propane torch. Flow the solder into the joint and wipe away any excess solder with a clean rag. Note: To ensure a leak-free union, remove the torch flame from the joint before applying the solder, allowing the heat collected in the pipe and fitting to flow the solder into the joint.
If the heater is plumbed with galvanized pipe, remove the coupling from the end of the pipe with a pair of pipe wrenches. Hold the pipe with one wrench to prevent if from turning when you loosen the fitting with the other wrench.
Step 5 : Position the new tank
Move the new water heater into position. If the old water heater rested on cinder blocks, remove them if the new unit has integral feet. If not, the blocks can be reused. Level the tank using a carpenter's level and metal shims.
Step 6 : Connect the water lines
Solder threaded male pipe fittings to the copper water inlet and outlets on the top of the new water heater, if necessary (see Step 4). The easiest way to mate the existing water supply lines and the new water heater is with flexible copper tubing. Flexible copper tubing has female pipe threads on each end. One end will have a slip nut coupler. On the cold water supply line, attach the end with the slip nut coupler to the fitting on the water heater. On the hot water line, attach the slip nut coupler to the fitting on the existing copper tubing. These units with also thread onto the end of the existing galvanized pipe. You can buy these materials individually or together in a hot water heater installation kit which contains two flexible sections of copper tubing and the necessary pipe nipples and adapters.
Step 7 : Connect the power supply
Open the electrical panel on the new water heater and make the connections as indicated in the manufacturer's instructions. Replace the electrical panel on the water heater. To prevent the heating elements from burning out, do not turn on the electricity to the water heater until after you have filled the tank with water.
Step 8 : Test for leaks
Open all the hot water faucets in the house to purge air from the water lines. Open the hot and cold water valves on the supply lines of the heater by turning them counterclockwise (make sure the water heater's drain valve is closed). Check for leaks at all new connections. Restore power to the circuit by placing the circuit breaker in the ON position or replacing the fuse. Set the thermostat to the desired temperature, typically between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
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