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Thinking about upgrading your home’s water heating system? Tankless water heater installation with gas units and a gas pipe could be the game-changer you need for local plumbing. Unlike traditional heaters, tankless gas units heat water on demand, saving energy and cutting costs. Imagine endless hot showers without the wait. You’ll also free up space because these compact units fit almost anywhere, covering gallons of pressure with just a few screws.

But it’s not just about convenience; it’s a smart investment for your home’s efficiency and current water heater. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or planning to hire a pro, understanding the basics can cover all the difference. Ready to dive into the world of tankless water heaters? Let’s explore what makes them a top choice for modern homes.

Key Takeaways

Exploring Tankless Water Heater Types

Electric vs. Gas

Electric tankless water heaters use electricity to heat water on demand. They are typically more energy-efficient than traditional heaters. However, they may have higher operational costs due to electricity prices.

Gas tankless water heaters use natural gas or propane. They often provide a higher flow rate compared to electric models. These units can be more cost-effective in areas with lower gas prices.

Energy Efficiency

Electric tankless models convert almost all the electricity into heat, making them nearly 100% efficient. This means less energy waste and lower utility bills.

Gas tankless water heaters are around 80-85% efficient. Some high-efficiency models reach up to 95%. Despite this, they may still be cheaper to run in the long term if gas prices are low.

Operational Costs

The initial cost of an electric tankless heater is usually lower than that of a gas unit. However, the operational costs can be higher due to electricity rates.

Gas models might have a higher upfront price but can save money over time. This is especially true in regions where natural gas is less expensive than electricity.

Size and Flow Rate

Selecting the right size for your tankless water heater is crucial. A unit that’s too small won’t meet your household’s hot water needs. One that’s too large will waste energy.

Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). To determine the needed flow rate:

  1. Calculate the GPM required for each fixture.
  2. Add these together for simultaneous usage.
  3. Choose a unit that meets or exceeds this total GPM.

For example, a showerhead typically uses 2-3 GPM, while a faucet uses about 1-2 GPM.

Modulating Temperature Control

Many modern tankless water heaters feature modulating temperature control. This allows the unit to adjust its heating power based on demand.

Modulating control helps maintain a consistent water temperature even when multiple fixtures are used simultaneously. This prevents sudden changes in temperature and improves comfort.

Preparing for Tankless Heater Installation

Inspecting Plumbing

Before starting the tankless water heater installation, inspect the existing plumbing. Check for leaks or damages. Ensure that pipes are in good condition. Old pipes might not handle the new system well.

Use a flashlight to see better. Look at all visible pipes. If any damage is found, repair it first. This step ensures a smooth installation process.

Checking Electrical Systems

A tankless water heater needs a reliable electrical system. Examine your current setup. Make sure it can support the new water heater’s power requirements.

Look at your circuit breaker panel. Verify if there are enough available circuits for the new unit. Some models require dedicated circuits.

Gathering Tools and Equipment

Collect all necessary tools before starting the installation. This includes:

Having everything ready saves time and prevents interruptions. Safety equipment is crucial to protect yourself during installation.

Consulting Local Building Codes

Check local building codes before installing a new water heater. Each area has specific regulations for installations.

Visit your local government’s website or office to get this information. Following these codes ensures safety and legality of your installation.

Obtaining Permits

e areas require permits for water heater installations. Research if you need one in your location.

Apply for any necessary permits early on. It may take some time to get approval from local authorities.

Upgrading the Gas Line

BTU Requirements

First, you must assess the BTU (British Thermal Unit) requirements of your new tankless water heater. This will help determine the appropriate gas line size. A standard tankless water heater needs a larger gas supply than traditional heaters. For example, a unit with 199,000 BTUs may need a 3/4-inch gas line. Incorrect sizing can lead to poor performance or safety issues.

Ventilation Solutions

Installing a tankless water heater often requires additional ventilation solutions. Increased gas usage means more combustion gases that need proper venting. You might need to install new vents or upgrade existing ones. Proper ventilation is crucial for safety and efficiency. Inadequate ventilation can cause harmful gases like carbon monoxide to build up in your home.

Long-term Savings

Consider the long-term savings when upgrading your gas line. Though initial installation costs can be high, an efficient system saves money over time. Efficient gas lines reduce waste and improve system performance. Upgrading now can lead to lower utility bills and fewer maintenance issues in the future.

Removing the Old Heater

Draining Water

First, shut off the water supply. Open a hot water faucet to relieve pressure. Connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater. Run the other end of the hose to a floor drain or outside.

Open the drain valve and let the tank empty completely. This prevents spills and reduces weight for easier handling.

Disconnecting Gas Line

Turn off the gas supply valve. Use a wrench to disconnect the gas line from the heater. Be careful not to damage any fittings.

Cap the gas line temporarily with a pipe cap. This ensures no gas leaks during removal.

Detaching Electrical Connections

Unplug the heater if it’s electric. For hardwired units, turn off power at the breaker box.

Remove any wiring connected to the heater. Label wires for easy reinstallation later.

Removing Heat Exchanger

If your old unit has a heat exchanger, remove it carefully. Unscrew any mounting brackets holding it in place.

Clean around where it was installed. This makes installing your new tankless unit easier.

Maneuvering Bulky Units

Tank heaters can be heavy and awkward to move. Clear a path before starting removal.

Have a helper assist you in lifting and maneuvering it out of tight spaces. Avoid damaging walls or floors by using moving blankets or dollies.

Recycling and Disposal

Old heaters contain metals and chemicals that shouldn’t go into landfills. Contact local recycling centers that accept water heaters.

e municipalities offer pickup services for large appliances. Proper disposal is crucial for environmental health.

Mounting the New Heater

Optimal Location

First, choose a suitable location for the new tankless water heater. Ensure it complies with ventilation and clearance requirements. The unit needs proper airflow to function correctly. Avoid placing it in tight or enclosed spaces.

Maintain at least 12 inches of clearance on all sides. This space allows for easy access during maintenance. Also, consider proximity to water and gas lines. This minimizes the need for extensive piping.

Constructing the Platform

Next, build or install a sturdy mounting platform. The platform must support the weight of the unit. Most tankless water heaters weigh between 30 to 80 pounds.

Use strong materials like metal brackets or wooden boards. Secure them firmly to the wall studs. Ensure that they are level and can handle the weight without sagging.

Installing the Heater

After constructing the platform, position the heater on it. Use a level tool to ensure it is perfectly horizontal. A tilted heater can cause performance issues and reduce its lifespan.

Secure the unit using screws or bolts provided by the manufacturer. Follow their guidelines for specific mounting instructions.

Leveling Importance

Leveling is crucial for optimal performance. An uneven heater may lead to improper water flow and heating inefficiencies.

Check multiple times during installation with a level tool. Adjust as necessary until perfectly leveled.

Installing Water and Gas Lines

Water lines

Connecting new water lines is crucial. Use flexible hoses to simplify the installation. Attach one end of the hose to the heater’s inlet and outlet ports.

Ensure the connections are tight. Flexible hoses help in adjusting the alignment, making it easier to fit into existing plumbing.

Gas line connection

Connecting the gas line requires precision. First, turn off the main gas supply. Then, attach a new gas pipe to the heater’s gas inlet.

Use a pipe wrench for securing the connections. Apply pipe joint compound or Teflon tape on threaded connections to prevent leaks.

Leak testing

After connecting, test for leaks. Turn on the gas supply and use a soapy water solution on all connections.

Bubbles indicate a leak. Tighten any loose fittings if bubbles appear. Ensure no bubbles before proceeding.

Shut-off valve

Install a new shut-off valve near the heater. This allows you to quickly stop gas flow during emergencies.

Place it within easy reach for safety reasons. A shut-off valve is essential for maintenance and emergency situations.

Adhering to local codes

Follow local plumbing codes during installation. These codes ensure safety and efficiency in your project.

Consult with a licensed contractor if unsure about specific requirements in your area.

Tools required

Gather necessary tools before starting:

Having these tools ready will streamline your work process.

Professional assistance

Consider hiring professional help if needed. A licensed contractor can handle complex installations safely and efficiently.

They ensure compliance with local codes and standards, reducing potential risks in your home setup.

Setting Up the Exhaust Vent

Types of Vents

Tankless water heaters need specific venting systems. The two main types are direct vent and power vent. Direct vent units use both an intake and exhaust pipe. They draw air from outside and expel gases outside. Power vent units only have an exhaust pipe, using indoor air for combustion.

Proper installation is crucial for safety. Incorrect venting can lead to carbon monoxide buildup. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Correct Vent Length and Diameter

Calculating the correct vent length and diameter is essential. Most manufacturers provide a chart or table in the manual. Measure the distance from the heater to the termination point carefully.

The diameter of the vent pipe also matters. Using a pipe that is too small can restrict airflow, causing overheating or shutdowns.

Outdoor Venting Importance

Outdoor venting prevents dangerous gases from accumulating inside your home. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless but very harmful.

Install vents that direct exhaust gases outside safely:

  1. Choose a location away from windows and doors.
  2. Make sure there are no obstructions around the vent outlet.
  3. Maintain clearances specified by local building codes.

Turning on the Water

Filling the System

After setting up the exhaust vent, it’s time to fill the system. First, open a hot water faucet in your home. This will allow air to escape from the lines as they fill with water.

Next, locate the cold water supply valve connected to your tankless unit. Turn it on slowly to start filling the system. Keep an eye on the faucet you opened; you’ll know the system is full when water flows steadily.

Flushing Out Air and Debris

To ensure smooth operation, flush out any air and debris. Begin by closing all faucets in your home except for one near the heater. Let the water run through this faucet for a few minutes.

This process helps remove air pockets and any loose particles that could clog your unit. It also ensures that no debris remains in your new installation.

Checking for Leaks

Once you’ve flushed out air and debris, check all connections for leaks. Inspect every joint and fitting around your tankless water heater.

Turn off all faucets and observe if there are any drips or wet spots around the connections. If you find any leaks, tighten the connections or replace faulty parts immediately.

Setting Initial Temperature

Now set your tankless water heater’s temperature for optimal comfort and energy savings. Most units have a digital control panel where you can adjust settings.

A good starting point is 120°F (49°C). This temperature provides hot water without being scalding and helps save energy costs. Adjust according to personal preference if necessary.

Turning On Electricity

Finally, turn on electricity to power up your unit. Locate the circuit breaker designated for your tankless heater and switch it on.

Check if there are any indicator lights or display messages on the unit’s control panel confirming it has power. You should now be ready to use hot water throughout your home.

By following these steps:

  1. Fill and flush out air and debris from your system.
  2. Check all connections for leaks.
  3. Set an initial comfortable temperature.
  4. Power up your unit safely.

You ensure that your tankless water heater operates efficiently right from day one.

Assessing Installation Suitability


Climate plays a crucial role in determining the suitability of a tankless water heater. In colder regions, the incoming water temperature is lower. This means the heater has to work harder to heat the water. Ensure your unit can handle these conditions. Warmer climates are more forgiving and may not require as powerful a unit.

Water Hardness

Water hardness affects the performance and longevity of tankless water heaters. Hard water contains more minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals can build up inside the heater, reducing efficiency over time. Installing a water softener can help mitigate this problem.

Household Usage

Household water usage patterns must be considered before installation. A large family with multiple bathrooms will need a unit with higher flow rates. Evaluate peak usage times to ensure consistent hot water supply. Smaller households might not need such high capacity.

Maintenance Needs

Future maintenance needs should also be factored in. Tankless water heaters require periodic descaling to remove mineral buildup. Easy access for service is essential for long-term performance. Plan for regular maintenance checks to keep the system running efficiently.

Accessibility for Service

Accessibility for service is another critical factor. Make sure there’s enough space around the unit for technicians to perform repairs or maintenance tasks. Avoid installing it in cramped or hard-to-reach areas.

Safety Considerations

Safety considerations are paramount during installation. Ensure proper ventilation if you’re using a gas-powered unit. Poor ventilation can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup. Electrical units should be installed by qualified professionals to prevent electrical hazards.

Final Inspection

A final inspection by a licensed professional is highly recommended. This ensures all components are installed correctly and safely. Professionals can identify potential issues that might not be obvious to homeowners.


You’ve explored tankless water heaters, prepped for installation, and tackled the gas line upgrade. You’ve removed the old heater, mounted the new one, and connected the water and gas lines. Plus, you’ve set up the exhaust vent and assessed your work. Now, it’s time to enjoy endless hot water.

Ready to dive in? Install your tankless water heater and experience the benefits firsthand. Don’t wait—get started today! If you need more tips or guidance, keep exploring our resources. Happy heating!

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of tankless water heaters are available?

There are electric and gas tankless water heaters. Electric ones are easier to install but might not be as powerful as gas models. Gas heaters, on the other hand, can provide more hot water but require a proper gas line setup.

How do I prepare for a tankless heater installation?

Clear the area around your old heater. Make sure you have all necessary tools and materials ready. Check if your home’s electrical or gas system can handle the new unit.

Do I need to upgrade my gas line for a tankless water heater?

Yes, often you’ll need to upgrade your gas line. Tankless heaters demand more gas flow than traditional tanks. Consult with a professional to ensure your line is sufficient.

Can I remove the old water heater myself?

Yes, you can! Turn off the power/gas supply first, then drain the tank. Disconnect it from water lines and carefully remove it. But if you’re unsure, it’s always best to call a pro.

What’s involved in mounting the new heater?

Find a suitable spot on your wall that’s strong enough to hold the unit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely for securing it properly.

How do I install water and gas lines for my new heater?

Connect the cold-water inlet and hot-water outlet to your home’s plumbing system. For gas units, ensure you connect it securely to your upgraded gas line. Double-check all connections for leaks.

Why is setting up an exhaust vent important?

An exhaust vent removes harmful gases produced by gas heaters. Without proper ventilation, these gases can build up indoors, posing serious health risks. Always follow guidelines for safe venting.