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Can You Install A Hot Water Heater On Its Side? [Explained]

It’s understandable that you’re planning to install a hot water heater. But you’re not sure if you can install it horizontally.

When you’ve got some space to set it up, it’s obvious that you’re wondering can you install a hot water heater on its side?

Yes, but to do that you will need to turn off the power supply at first and then drain all the remaining water. Now separate the pipe and remove the dip tube from inside. Lastly, just tilt and set it horizontally.

It’s just a sneak peek but to have a proper idea on how to install a water heater horizontally just follow down.

Can You Install A Hot Water Heater on its Side?

You might be in dire confusion about whether you can move your water heater on its side. By that we mean, if you can lay it down horizontally instead of vertically.

In fact, it doesn’t really matter which side you put it on because both serve the same purpose. Unlike an electric shower and combi boiler, there are no difference in the components.

Here, it’s just going from one position to another. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get any benefit from this move! It surely benefits the users when it is put on its side.

So the answer to can you set your water heater on its side is as simple as the answer to can you use 12 2 wire for lights. In both cases, the answer is yes.

It’s believed to function fine even in this horizontal position. So, let’s just take you to the installation process.

How to Set A Hot Water Heater on Its Side? 4 Easy Steps

Now that you know you can set your heater safely, the next thought must be how to set hot water heater on its side. No worries, we have got you covered. 

There are some certain steps that should be followed if you want to set a hot water heater successfully. So let’s not waste your precious time and see what tools you need to keep handy:

  • Heat resistant gloves
  • Furniture pad
  • Straps

Now that you know what’s needed, get right into the steps.

Step 1 of 4: Turn Off The Power To Drain Water 

First of all, make sure that the power is turned off. Otherwise, you might be a victim of a bad outlet that may ruin your circuitry.

Close all the switches attached to the tank for safety. We take these similar steps installing a faucet or for any plumbing job.

After closing the switches, you can now disconnect the pipe and the electric line. 

After disconnecting the lines, open up the heater’s valve so that you can drain the water properly. But, make sure to do it carefully unless you want to get scalded by hot water. 

And if you want to have an idea about how hot the water can be, keep in mind how hot an overheated furnace is. Well if you don’t want to mess with the piping hot water then you better wear heat-resistant gloves.

Step 2 of 4: Separate The Pipe And Remove The Dip Tube

Now, if you are using a gas water heater, separate the pipe from the main vent hood. So you can cover the gas line. Ensure that the pilot light is turned off at this moment.

After that, put out the dip tube from the inside of the tank.  This will make sure you don’t want it to damage the tank while moving it. Now it’s time to remove the anode rod. Otherwise, it might damage the gas lining, while you are working on the tank.

Step 3 of 4: Secure The Heater

At this point, pull out the water heater from the remaining plumbing pipes. While doing it, please be cautious of the hot water. 

Glide the base of the dolly or the hand truck underneath the heater. Position the water heater wisely so that it is perfectly upward when positioned horizontally. 

Put a furniture pad between the hand truck and the hot water heater. To secure the heater to the dolly, use a strap. You don’t need to tighten the strap too much. Just secure it properly and you’re good to go.

Step 4 of 4: Place The Heater On Its Side

Now tilt back the dolly and slowly set the water heater into a horizontal position. While you are lifting the tank, make sure to handle it with care and attention. Because you don’t want to damage things.

And while lifting and transporting the tank, make sure to avoid any kind of tough movement or bumps. If you’re thinking of dragging the tank, then buddy it’s a big No! Because then you’ll end up causing irreparable damages to the heater if you do so. You can take a look at rheem and ruud water heaters. Both these companies provide secured heaters and furniture pads.

So, always remember to keep the water heater secured with and use furniture pads. See? It’s not as complicated as converting a gas fireplace to a stove.

If you want an insight into our favorites when it comes to straps and furniture pads, then here we go-

Furniture pad 1 Strap 1
Furniture pad 2 Strap 2

Why is it Important to Set Your Water Heater Horizontally?

Now you know that you can put your water heater on its side and how you can put it. But then again what benefits would you get putting it horizontally?

By putting your hot water heater horizontally, you can avoid damages like metal casing and glass cracking. You see how much trouble it can save for you if set on its side. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about any bathroom renovation.

But nothing good comes without any precautions. So, try to be careful when you install the water heater on its side. Otherwise, some damages can occur which may create unnecessary problems.


Where can you locate a water heater?

A water heater generally is located by the external walls where it can operate without disturbance. For example, in your basement or garage.

Is it difficult to install a hot water heater all by yourself?

Installing a hot water heater is not as easy. Though it can be done by yourself, following some easy steps. Or you can always use some professional help.

Can a tankless water heater be set horizontally?

Yes a tankless water heater can also be set horizontally. But for a tankless water heater to be installed, you’ll need a vent adapter.

Parting Words

Big applause for sticking with us and learning something new.

By now, you should have a clear idea on whether you can install a hot water heater on its side

So just start working on it already. Good luck!