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What can go wrong when do-it-yourself clients try to replace home water heaters


January 19, 2021   by Greg Meckbach


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Some homeowner clients could get in trouble if they try to replace water heaters themselves, by following do-it-yourself handyman advice they find somewhere on the Internet.

Many home insurance policies specifically require that water heater installation be done by a licensed plumber, Jim Bowman wrote in a recent article for Southlake Style.

Moreover, some insurance companies won’t cover failure of old water heaters because they view those as avoidable accidents, Oakville, Ont.-based AtlasCare warns on its website.

“Many people forget to have their water heater serviced. It is common to see water heaters leak or fail around the 10-12 year mark for exactly this reason,” said AtlasCare.

Installing a water heater requires skills in several areas – including plumbing, electrical, carpentry, heating and ventilation – said Jeff Sims, president of billyGO Plumbing Operations, as quoted by Southlake Style this past December.


“Improper installation can cause pressure to build up in the tank to the point it will explode and launch itself through whatever is above it.”

The older a hot water tank gets, the more susceptible it is to leaks and corrosion, warns personal injury law firm Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC.

Water heaters can explode as a result of improper installation or lack of maintenance, Chicago-based Rosenfeld said on its website.

Corrosion can occur if different metals touch one another or connect while being immersed in an electrolyte, explains Southlake Style in its Dec. 21, 2020, article, Should You Install Your Own Water Heater? Seriously?

A person who installs a water heater needs to know how to use a pipe cutter, solder, and apply even heat with a blow torch, explained Southlake Style, a Fort Worth, Texas area community magazine.

“Otherwise, you will have a costly, damaging leak.”

Feature image via iStock.com/didecs


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1 Comment » for What can go wrong when do-it-yourself clients try to replace home water heaters
  1. Barry Jones says:

    One of the most important items that need changing are the Anode and the dip tube. The venting of gas water heaters is poor in many places as is the ventilation requirements. The system shown in the photograph is electric and therefore venting is not required, it is also shown shut off.

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