How To Remove An Ancient Water Heater

Having your ancient water heater removed can add to the cost of a water heater replacement, so if you’re hoping to save money, taking out the water heater yourself can help you save cash. To have your water heater removed, follow these steps.

Before You Can Get Started

Some state and local governments may require you to pull a permit in order to remove or install a water heater on your premises, so unless you’re intimately familiar with your local building codes, you should research your local requirements. If you live in Allegheny county, you’ll need to pay $10 for a permit to install a water heater, if you’re going to install a water heater after removing the old one. To find out more about getting a permit in Pittsburgh, take a look at the local government website.

The Removal Process

To remove your water heater, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the gas to the water heater. If the tank is electrical, turn off the circuit breaker that controls the water heater, then disengage the electrical supply wires from the wires running to the tank.
  2. Use the shut off valve to turn off the cold water supply running to the tank.
  3. Attach a garden hose to the drainage pipe at the bottom of the tank. Run the other end of the hose to an exterior drain.
  4. Turn on all the hot water faucets in the house.
  5. Turn on the drainage valve in the bottom of the hot water tank. Drain the water out of the tank completely.
  6. Unscrew the earthquake straps holding the hot water tank into the wall (if seismic straps are holding the water heater in place).
  7. Unscrew the pipes that lead to the tank, or cut the pipes if unscrewing the pipes isn’t an option.

Now that you’ve gotten the water heater disconnected, you’re left with an even greater challenge: removing the water heater from your home. We’d be lying if we said that most water heaters aren’t really heavy. Lots of water heaters weigh around 150 pounds, and unfortunately, many water heaters are located in really inconvenient locations (like the basement).

We won’t be able to tell you exactly how to safely remove a water heater from your home because the circumstances of your water heater’s removal will depend on the configuration of your house, the weight of your appliance and location of your particular water heater.

However, if you find yourself dragging a water heater up or down the stairs, we do recommend finding out the maximum capacity of your home’s staircase, to ensure that your staircase can handle the burden. We also recommend getting a few friends to help. If you’d like to look at one way of handling this problem, take a look at this illustrated depiction of one way to get a water heater up a staircase.

Now What?

Once the water heater has been removed from your home, you may be wondering whether or not a water heater is something you can just throw away. In most places, the answer is no, you cannot simply throw away a water heater. Many cities have appliance recycling programs where a big fixture like a water heater can be dropped off. In Pittsburgh you can take your water heater to Construction Junction.

So, does this sound worth the trouble? If not, you can always call Terry’s Plumbing. We’ll be happy to take your old water heater off your hands and install a brand new water heater. Give us a call to make an appointment.