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How to Troubleshoot Common Water Heater Installation Errors

Installing a water heater may seem like an easy task, and that’s why many homeowners opt for DIY installations or engage a handyman. Very few will take the time to hire a professional for the work. Unfortunately, this job requires some level of professionalism. If you do it incorrectly, the heater may fail to work, malfunction, or cause an electrical hazard in the home. Therefore, there is a need to troubleshoot the heater for installation errors, especially if you suspect that the work was not properly done or if the heater starts to malfunction.
Below are some common installation errors and troubleshooting tips that you can follow to rectify the problem.

1.      No Hot Water

This problem is by far the most common with DIY water heater installations. You set up your water heater correctly only to find that it is not heating the water. The most likely problem here is that you have not connected it to an energy source. Heaters can either be gas or electric. If you aren’t sure of what type you have, look for a flue at the top of the tank. Flues are available in gas heaters only; therefore, if yours doesn’t have one, it is an electric one.
Connect the appliance to the appropriate source of energy so that it can heat the water. The heater should come with a manufacturer’s manual that offers directions on how to connect it to an energy source. The guidelines vary from one heater model to another.

2.      Water Leaks

Water leaks are common in DIY installations. Ideally, your new water heater should not leak water. However, if it does, it means that some connections are loose.
Check the hot-water and cold-water outlets as these are the most common culprits of leaks and drips. At the outlets, inspect the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (TPR). Ensure that it is adequately tightened to prevent water from dripping. Since it is a new heater, chances of a damaged TPR valve are rare. However, if the leak continues after tightening the valve, check to ensure that the seal is in excellent condition.

3.      Improper Venting Slope

The vent pipe on the water heater should always slope backward so that the condensate liquid can drain back into the system and be disposed of through the condensate line. Improper installation with an incorrectly sloped vent pipe can cause blockage in the vent pipe. This problem is common where the pipe slopes outdoors and is exposed to low temperatures. Blockage in the line can cause a malfunction of the entire heater.
During installation, ensure that the vent pipe slopes backward to prevent the condensate fluid from getting trapped inside the line and causing a blockage.

4.      Inadequate Hot Water

You may find that you quickly run out of hot water before getting done in the shower. Additionally, the water may not be as hot as expected. Lack of enough hot water is a simple problem that can be fixed by adjusting the thermostat. If you didn’t set the thermostat during installation, there is a chance that the temperature is too low.
 Just shut off the power to the heater, locate the thermostat and remove the cover, locate the temperature knob, and adjust it to your liking. Most homes require 120° temperature, but you can set it a little higher if you keep on running low on hot water.


Water heater installation requires careful planning to ensure that the unit and all its components work correctly. While the task may seem easy for any handyman or DIY enthusiast, it requires some level of professionalism. Follow these tips to troubleshoot your heater for installation errors. If you locate the problem, consider engaging an experienced professional so that they can fix it and check your heater for other installation problems that would end up costing you in the future.

1 comment:

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