• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey installs a heat pump water heater.

    1. Shut off the electricity and water leading to the old water heater.
    2. Drain the water from the old water heater.
    3. Disconnect and remove the old water heater.
    4. Install new shut-off valves to the hot- and cold-water pipes.
    5. Set new heater into place directly beneath the water-supply lines.
    6. Remove vacuum breakers and solder on the appropriate copper fittings.
    7. Connect new water heater to shut-off valves on the hot and cold water-supply pipes.
    8. Turn the water back on to fill the tank.
    9. Connect the existing electrical cable to the new heater.
    10. Run the heater's condensate line to a condensate pump.
    11. Connect condensate pump to laundry drain using flexible plastic tubing.
    12. Turn the electricity back on.
    13. Install the heater's air filter.
    14. Adjust water temperature at the heater's electronic control panel.
    • 4 to 6 hours
    • $1,200 on average for a 50-gallon heat-pump water heater
    • Difficulty: Hard
      this installation is best left to a pro

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      Tools List

      • close quarter tubing cutter
        Tubing cutter, used to cut copper tubing
      • locking pliers
        Pliers and wrenches, used to tighten and loosen threaded fittings
      • propane torch
        Propane torch, used to solder pipe joints
      • hammer
        Hammer, for tapping in tubing staples
      • utility knife
        Utility knife, used to cut plastic tubing

      Shopping List

      1. Electric heat-pump water heater

      2. Copper pipe and assorted fittings and valves, used to connect new water heater

      3. Solder, flux and emery cloth, for sweating copper pipe 4. Plastic tubing, used to drain condensation from the heater

      5. Tubing staples, for securing the plastic tubing to the wall

      6. Ball valves, used to replace old shut-off valves