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How to replace A.O. Smith 50 gal. electric water heater?

Replacing a 50-gallon A.O. Smith electric water heater is a task that can be accomplished with some basic plumbing and electrical skills. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to replace your old unit with a new A.O. Smith 50-gallon electric water heater:

1. Safety Precautions:
Safety should be your top priority. Turn off the electricity to the water heater at the circuit breaker or disconnect switch and shut off the water supply to the heater.
2. Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials:
You'll need several tools and materials for this task, including a pipe wrench, adjustable pliers, pipe tape, a hacksaw or pipe cutter, a pipe and tubing cutter, a pipe and tubing reamer, a flexible hose, a pipe fitting brush, a voltage tester, and a new 50-gallon A.O. Smith electric water heater.
3. Drain the Old Water Heater:
Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the old water heater. Run the other end of the hose to a suitable drainage location, like a floor drain or outside. Open the drain valve to allow the tank to empty completely.
4. Disconnect the Electrical Wiring:
Use a voltage tester to confirm that there is no electricity flowing to the water heater. Then, disconnect the electrical wiring from the old water heater. Typically, there will be a junction box on the side of the heater where the wiring is connected. Carefully remove the wire nuts and disconnect the wires.
5. Disconnect the Plumbing Connections:
Using a pipe wrench and adjustable pliers, disconnect the hot and cold water supply lines from the old water heater. You may need to use a pipe and tubing cutter to cut the pipes if they are soldered or threaded. Be prepared for some water spillage during this step.
6. Remove the Old Water Heater:
Once all the connections are disconnected, carefully remove the old water heater from its location. You may need assistance with this step, as water heaters can be heavy.
7. Prepare the New Water Heater:
Position the new 50-gallon A.O. Smith electric water heater in the desired location. Ensure that it is level and stable.
8. Connect the Plumbing:
Reconnect the hot and cold water supply lines to the new water heater. Use pipe tape on the threads to create a watertight seal. If you had to cut the pipes, use a pipe and tubing reamer to clean and smooth the cut ends before attaching them to the new unit.
9. Connect the Electrical Wiring:
Reconnect the electrical wiring to the new water heater according to the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure the connections are secure and the wires are properly insulated with wire nuts.
10. Fill the Tank:
Open a hot water tap in your house to allow air to escape as the tank fills with water. Turn on the water supply and fill the tank. Once water flows steadily from the open tap, close it.
11. Check for Leaks:
Inspect all the plumbing connections for any signs of leaks. Tighten any fittings if necessary.
12. Turn On the Power:
Restore power to the water heater by switching on the circuit breaker or reconnecting the disconnect switch.
13. Set the Temperature:
Adjust the temperature setting on the water heater to your desired level. Be cautious not to set it too high to avoid scalding.
14. Test the Water Heater:
Wait for the water heater to heat the water. You can test the hot water at a tap to ensure it's reaching the desired temperature. It may take a few hours for the water to heat up initially.
15. Dispose of the Old Water Heater:
Properly dispose of the old water heater in compliance with local regulations. You can often arrange for a pick-up or drop-off with a waste disposal service.

Replacing a 50-gallon A.O. Smith electric water heater is a relatively straightforward process, but it does require careful attention to detail and adherence to safety precautions. If you are not confident in your plumbing or electrical skills, or if you encounter any difficulties during the installation, it's advisable to seek the assistance of a qualified plumber or electrician to ensure the job is done safely and effectively. Proper installation and maintenance of your new water heater can provide reliable hot water for years to come.
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