Having troubles with your water heater at home? Feel like you’d rather have a shot at repairing it yourself than going through all the hassle of calling in the professionals?

Well, if you’re confident that you’re up to the task of installing a new water heater on your own – then here’s a straightforward rundown of the parts that you’ll need to assemble in order to get the system up and running.

Drip Tray

A water heater sits in a special tray, either made of plastic or steel, and fitted with a waste pipe which drains water from the tray and channels it away safely

Vacuum breakers

These are small brass knobs, which sit mounted on the pipe above the water heater itself. Don’t under-estimate the value of these little things. They prevent water from siphoning out of the water heater when the cold water supply is stopped.

Shut off valve (on cold water side)

This is a tap which will be situated on the cold water side of your water heater, which connects straight to the drain cock. The valve does what the name suggests.

T&P (temperature and pressure) safety valve

The pressure rating on this valve must meet the pressure rating on your water heater. The valve will generally be mounted on the opposite side of the water heater to the drain cock, and it must be connected to a pipe leading directly out of the building.

Pressure-control valve

This valve is a water pressure control, and will be fixed to the water heater’s cold water supply. This serves to balance out the water pressure of both the “hot” and “cold” supplies. Specifically, it reduces the pressure of the cold water supply in order to match the pressure as the hot water coming from the geyser itself.

Electrical isolator switch

Should be in close contact to the water heater – around a metre or so away. The water heater must also be earthed.


Regulates the temperature inside of the water heater.

Self-sacrificing anode

A specially constructed metal rod that comes screwed into the tank. The rod is designed to have a higher current potential than the other metals in the tank, which ensures that the galvanic current passes through the rod to the other metals. In other words, the rod will rust so that the tank doesn’t (the rod will generally last about 5 years.)


The pipes which connect everything together. (The water heater can be fed via a plastic pipe, but the pipe into and out of the water heater must be made of copper or galvanized steel).

Got these? Great – well you’re all set to replace your water heater – good luck!