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  • Writer's pictureJulia Bandel

There she blows! Water Heater Replacement

Last night I got a little surprise. I went to take a shower, as I do every night before bed. I'm a lover of a long, hot shower. It helps me relax and relieve any stress that has built of over the day. So as I was getting ready for my nightly ritual, I reached my hand in to check the temperature, and what did I find? An icy waterfall on a cold, wintery night. Ugh!

My first thought was that the pilot light was out on the water heater. Down to the basement I went with a request for the husband to join me. Naturally we walked in on another waterfall coming from the overflow pipe! Ack! Alright what do we do now? It's freezing outside, something must have cracked. Google to the rescue. Replace the temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve it says. Easy enough. My husband is very handy, thankfully for me, so we shut the water off and head to bed.

Fast forward to today, it's not the valve, the whole thing needs replaced. Not a huge shocker that we reached the end of the lifespan as the heater was 12 years old. Most water heaters will need replacing somewhere between 8-15 years, so if you are buying or selling a home this year, check on this as it may become an issue during inspection time.

We were worried that this was going to be a bank breaking project, but with a little elbow grease, my husband got it done on his own.


Once again I am very grateful for my husband's brute strength and large biceps. He unhooked that sucker, grabbed it by the ends and hauled it right up the stairs. The connections to undo were the natural gas line, the exhaust, water in, and water out connections.


He came back from the hardware store with a 50 gallon heater vs. the 40 gallon one we had before. Awesome! As the long, hot shower person I am, I was super stoked to hear this news! Getting this one down into the basement was a challenge, so be careful with this step. Get some help if you need it. Hubby let gravity help him slide it down the basement stairs.


This might be where the knowledge and know how of the folks at the hardware store may be worth the investment to have them just install this all for you. If you do not have the right tools, this would be a challenge. For us, this step resulted in a few extra steps to the store to get the parts that fit correctly.

The hardest part it seemed, were the water in and water out pipes. Since the new water heater was taller, my husband had to get new pieces of pipe for this. He had to saw the old ones off and solder the new ones on and then adjust the location of the valves slightly. Did you know there is a pin that sticks into one of the pipes to measure the water height? Neither did we. Oops. That was a watery mess, but easy enough to fix.

Once it was all in place, he lit the pilot the light and let the machine work it's magic. A few hours later. the water was warm and I was back in the shower!

Knowing what to look for is an important part of buying or selling a home. If you want to know what parts of your home should be repaired or replaced to get your home ready for a quick sell, let's schedule a walk through and take a look.

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