With thousands of YouTube tutorials and DIY gurus online, it can be tempting to quickly Google a fix to save some money in the short term. When it comes to your water heater replacement or possible repair, you should consider the risks before deciding to install a new water heater on your own. It’s a complicated undertaking, and even the slightest oversight could have costly consequences.
After all, a quick search may be able to guide you through DIY tooth extraction, but that doesn’t mean you should be your own dentist. The same guiding principle goes for a water heater replacement or repair.
Do You Need a Professional for a Water Heater Replacement?
When it comes to gas-fired water heaters, even a minor mistake can result in fire, an explosion, damage to property, or even death. For an electric water heater replacement, you’ll need the wiring know-how to ensure you’re not overloading your electricity system.
Water heaters, like most appliances, degrade with use and eventually need to be replaced with a new one. If you’ve noticed a water heater leak or think it may be time for a water heater replacement, here are some DIY troubleshooting tips before you call in a professional.
What to Try Before Calling a Professional for a Water Heater Replacement.
The most common emergency plumber calls occur when a water heater repair is needed due to a leak, lukewarm water that won’t get hot, or a pressure-related issue.
Before you panic, keep in mind that your household’s water use may be to blame for this issue. This might happen if you try to use your dishwasher or washing machine on warm while taking a shower at the same time. A higher-capacity water heater replacement could be a solution if this problem happens often. In that case, a professional plumber can help you figure out what size water heater you should have to meet the hot water needs of your household.
If you aren’t suspicious about a capacity issue, follow these troubleshooting steps.
Gas Water Heater: What to check before calling in a professional water heater replacement or repair.
Before you plunge into a fit of worry, calculating the possible water heater repair cost, you should check your pilot light. All you need to do is reignite it to receive hot water again if it’s gone out. However, if it won’t stay on or lit, you should call a professional plumber before you find yourself in a dangerous gas-related hazard that can cause more harm to your health and home.
Electric Water Heater: What to check before calling in a professional water heater replacement or repair.
If your home uses an electric water heater, you can try troubleshooting the problem yourself before calling a professional plumber. If your cause for concern is that there’s no hot water coming out of the tap, check to see if you’ve accidentally flicked the main switch to “off” or if a fuse has blown.
If you had to turn the power back on or fix the fuse, check the upper thermostat and hit the reset button. If you don’t start receiving hot water in 15-20 minutes, it’s time to contact a professional plumber.
Risks of a DIY Water Heater Replacement or Repair
In the spirit of “don’t try this at home, kids,” you should be aware of the possible outcomes that could happen if you choose to try a DIY water heater replacement without the help of a professional.
1. Fire or a deadly explosion may occur.
Natural gas water heaters are used in many homes, which require combustible fuel to heat the water. Installation mistakes can have devastating results since these fuels are so easily ignited. Doing your own water heater installation isn’t worth the risk to you and your family’s safety, as well as the harm to your home.
Installing a water heater without a T&P valve (temperature and pressure relief valve) increases the risk of explosion.
2. Carbon monoxide poisoning can put you at risk of permanent brain damage or death.
Proper ventilation is essential when replacing a gas water heater. A professional will know exactly what to do during the replacement process to keep you safe. There is a buildup of carbon monoxide when there is not enough ventilation. High levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent brain damage and even death in a worst-case scenario. If you were to conduct a water heater repair or replacement yourself, you wouldn’t even know if you did something wrong until it’s too late. Carbon monoxide goes undetected since there is no odour that would alert your senses. Unless you have a carbon monoxide detector, you could be the victim of a natural gas disaster during the water heater installation process.
3. You may face problems when selling your home.
35% of Canadians have moved in the past five years, with 21% planning to move in less than five years. If a move is in your future, you’ll want to ensure that your water heater replacement is done by a professional. If you choose to do the repairs yourself, you’ll be required to pay to have it inspected and approved before the sale. Inspectors won’t shy away from a failed inspection report if anything is below their standards. If it fails, you’ll end up paying more money than if you had sought out a professional plumber, to begin with.
In addition to getting the job done right, hiring a licensed plumber gives you and your family peace of mind. You’ll feel relief when your hot water is working properly, and you know that there’s no additional damage to your property or your health in the process. Saving a few dollars and taking on dozens of risks isn’t worth it. Call to speak with a licensed plumbing expert 24/7 at (403) 879-7213 or contact us to book an appointment.
Have you replaced your water heater in the last 10 years? Did you go with a gas or electric water heater? What part of the installation process surprised you the most? Share your experience with our readers so they know what to expect when booking a professional water heater replacement.