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How to Safely Remove an Old Water Heater: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Safely Remove an Old Water Heater: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Safely Remove an Old Water Heater: A Step-by-Step Guide

Replacing an old water heater is a task many homeowners face at some point. Whether you’re upgrading to a more energy-efficient model, dealing with frequent breakdowns, or simply replacing an aging unit, safely removing the old water heater is an essential first step in the process.

At Mallick Plumbing & Heating, we understand the importance of proper procedures to ensure a smooth water heater replacement.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to safely removing an old water heater:

*Before you begin, it's crucial to prioritize safety.Please contact a professional or Mallick Plumbing & Heating at (301) 804-6759 if you're unsure of how to properly and safely dispose of your unit.*

Step 1: Turn Off Utilities

Before starting any work, it’s crucial to turn off the utilities connected to the water heater. For a gas water heater, turn off the gas supply valve located near the unit. For an electric water heater, switch off the circuit breaker in your electrical panel. Additionally, shut off the cold water supply valve leading to the water heater.

Step 2: Drain the Tank

To prevent water from spilling during removal, drain the water heater tank. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve located near the bottom of the tank and run the other end to a suitable drainage location, such as a floor drain or outdoors. Open the drain valve and allow the tank to empty completely.

Step 3: Disconnect Water Lines

Once the tank is drained, disconnect the water lines connected to the water heater. Use a pipe wrench to loosen the fittings connecting the hot and cold water supply lines to the water heater. Be prepared for some residual water to spill out as you disconnect the lines.

Step 4: Disconnect Gas Line (If Applicable)

If you have a gas water heater, disconnect the gas line using an adjustable wrench. Turn off the gas supply valve near the unit before loosening the fittings. Exercise caution when working with gas lines, and if you’re unsure, consult a professional plumber for assistance.

Step 5: Remove Vent Pipe (If Applicable)

For gas water heaters, you’ll also need to remove the vent pipe connected to the unit. Loosen the fittings securing the vent pipe to the water heater and carefully remove it. Be mindful of any sharp edges or hot surfaces.

Step 6: Detach Electrical Connections (If Applicable)

If you have an electric water heater, disconnect the electrical wiring. Turn off the circuit breaker supplying power to the water heater before removing the wiring connections. Follow all safety precautions and, if in doubt, consult a qualified electrician.

Step 7: Secure the Tank

With all connections disconnected, use a dolly or hand truck to carefully maneuver the water heater out of its location. Ensure the tank is stable and securely strapped to the dolly to prevent tipping or falling during transport.

Step 8: Dispose of the Old Water Heater

Once the old water heater is safely removed from your home, you’ll need to dispose of it properly. Check with your local waste management facility or recycling center for guidelines on disposing of old water heaters. Some facilities may offer recycling options for metal components, while others may require special disposal procedures.

Step 9: Prepare for Installation

With the old water heater removed, you’re ready to prepare for the installation of your new unit. Ensure the installation location is clear and accessible, and gather any necessary tools and materials for the installation process.

Trust Mallick Plumbing & Heating for Water Heater Repair and Replacement

At Mallick Plumbing & Heating, we’re here to help with all your water heater needs, from repairs to replacements. Whether you’re upgrading to a tankless water heater or replacing an old gas water heater, our team of skilled technicians can ensure a safe and efficient installation. 

When you need help replacing your water heater, call the Mallick Plumbing & Heating experts at (301) 804-6759!