Here’s a time saving tip if you have to purchase lots of different and hard-to-find parts: Buy them from your local plumbing supply store frequented by plumbers. In my experience, my large box retailers most often did not have everything I needed, forcing me to frequent different store locations.
Yes, prices will be higher (around 10%) at a local plumbing supply store, but trust me, hunting for parts is at best frustrating. At worst, it’s a huge time suck and energy sapper. Time is money, so don’t waste it.
For me, I bought these items from Aaron’s Plumbing Supply Store in Somerville, NJ (plus some handy recommendations):
- One, Bradford White, 40 gallon, natural gas hot water heater
- One, Drip pan, metal
- Two, Quarter-turn, 3/4 inch water shutoff valves
- Ten feet of 3/4 inch copper pipe
- Two, 3/4 inc female copper adapter
- Three, 45 degree 3/4 inch joints – copper
- Three, 90 degree 3/4 inch joints – copper
- Two, 3/4 inc gas union – black steel
- One, Yellow Teflon tape (yellow is heavier than white Teflon tape, and is rated for gas use. White is used for water pipes only)
OLD TANK REMOVAL
As is the case with other DIY projects, putting things back together always takes longer than taking things apart. Unless that is, if you spend some time carefully labeling everything to make the re-assembly easier and faster.
By spending just extra 10 minutes to label all joints, I reduced the time it takes to re-assemble them later without fussing around with multiple angles.
So, make sure to take the time out NOW to carefully label all parts.
Turn off the natural gas shutoff valve
First, you will need to locate your nearest gas shutoff valve. Easiest way to do that is to start from your hot water tank’s thermostat and trace back the gas line. Unless you have a very new house, a standard natural gas line is usually a 3/4″ black steel pipe. Keep tracing back until you find a quarter-turn gas shut off valve.
Second, I suggest applying small pieces of masking tape to all gas pipe sections, either joined by a coupler of a shutoff valve. This is done to make sure that I can spot any inadvertent pipe disturbances I may create when loosening and tightening up new pipe.
Use a Sharpie to draw a straight line to these two pieces of tape. This will help you to see if you broke the seal between the pipe and shutoff valve (if you noticed that the lines don’t match up, don’t panic. Just trace the pipe further back to find the next shutoff valve. Then re-seal the pipe/shutoff valve).
Using a pair large pliers, turn the valve 90 degrees counter-clockwise (valve should be perpendicular to the pipe when completed).
Other than a union joint, all other existing pipes will be re-used, provided that their threads and pipes are in good condition.