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By Billie Jo Jannen Updated May 11, 2022
You can connect a propane tank of nearly any size to your household hot water heater as long as you satisfy three conditions: You need to install a pressure regulator between the tank and hot water heater, ensure that the hot water heater is equipped for propane rather than natural gas, and maintain the correct safe distance between the tank and the hot water heater. The sizes of some fittings might vary with the needs of your water heater control box. Some gas appliances come with kits that include some of the fittings you'll need, reveals Family Handyman. Improve safety and simplify the task by having the hardware store cut and thread your pipes.
Set the propane tank on a low, flat platform made of bricks or cinder blocks, so that it is stable and level. The propane tank needs to be at least 10 feet from the water heater, reports Propane 101. Some municipalities might require a greater distance, so check local regulations in case you need more than 10 feet. The propane tank should not be under an awning or other shelter that could retain vented gas from the propane tank.
Dig a 12-inch-deep trench between the water heater and the propane tank. Some municipalities might require a greater depth, so check local regulations.
Smear plumber's paste on the threading at both ends of the 10-foot pipe and screw elbows onto each. Make sure that both the installed elbows face in the same direction when completely screwed on. Hand tighten and use a pipe wrench on each side of the union to tighten it one more turn.
Put plumber's paste on the threading of one end of a 20-inch piece of 1/2-inch pipe and screw it into one of the elbows. Hand tighten and use a pipe wrench on each side of the union to tighten them one more turn. Repeat at the other end of the 10-foot pipe.(Video) Propane tank and outdoor tankless water heater installation
Place the assembly in the trench with the two pipes at either end pointed up. Place a piece of tape over the open pipes to ensure that no dirt or debris falls into the pipes as you complete the installation. Take the tape off before you screw on additional pieces.
Place plumber's paste on the threaded pipe nearest to the water heater and screw the shutoff valve onto that. Hand tighten and use a pipe wrench on each side of the union to tighten the union one more turn.
Smear plumber's paste onto the threaded side of a male pipe-to-flare adapter and screw that into the top of the gas valve. Hand tighten, then use an adjustable wrench to tighten it one more turn.
Smear plumber's paste on one side of a 1/2-inch nipple and screw it into the side of the water heater's control box. Smear the other end of the nipple and thread on a female pipe-to-flare adapter. Hand tighten and use a pipe wrench to tighten it one more turn.
Screw one end of the flare-to-flare flexible gas piping into the adapter and the other end into the top of the shutoff valve. Smear plumber's paste on both fittings before screwing them into their respective fittings. Hand tighten and use an adjustable wrench to tighten them one more turn.
Smear plumber's paste on the threading of the open pipe at the propane tank end of your assembly and screw the last elbow onto it. Hand tighten and use pipe wrenches to tighten it one more turn.
Smear plumber's paste onto the threaded side of a male pipe-to-flare adapter and screw that into the open side of the elbow. Hand tighten and use an adjustable wrench to tighten it one more turn.(Video) 🔥 LP Propane gas mechanicals - Converting from Natural Gas 🔥
Smear plumber's paste onto the threading on the pipe side of the pressure regulator and screw it into the open side of the pipe-to-flare adapter. When installed, the vent side of the regulator should be pointed down so rainwater will not seep into the device via the vent. Hand tighten and use an adjustable wrench to turn it to the appropriate orientation.
Screw the other end of the regulator connection into the propane tank outlet. This is a fitting you will screw and unscrew regularly if you are using a portable tank. If you are using a portable tank, don't put plumber's paste on this fitting. Hand tighten and use an adjustable wrench to tighten it up to one more turn.
Open the propane tank valve, usually a round handle on the top of the tank, and the shutoff valve to the water heater to pressurize the line.
Put 2 teaspoons of dish soap in a cup of water, mix it gently and swab the solution onto all your unions to check for leaks. If you see bubbles pushing through the solution from any joints, disassemble the joint, reapply paste and reassemble the joint. Test until all joints show a tight seal.
Follow manufacturer's directions to light the pilot and start the hot water heater.(Video) PART (2 ) How to connect the PROPANE to the Rheems Tankless Water Heater Model # RTG-70XLP-1
Things You Will Need
Cinder blocks or bricks
A safety-certified propane tank
Pressure regulator rated for your water heater
1/2-inch gas shutoff valve, female on both sides
Flare-to-flare flexible regulator connection (also called a pigtail)
1/2-inch flexible gas tubing with flare fittings on both ends
Plumber's paste (pipe thread paste or pipe dope)
10 feet of 1/2-inch metal pipe, threaded at both ends
Three 1/2-inch elbows, female connectors at both sides
Two 20-inch metal pipes, threaded at both ends
1 female pipe-to-flare gas adapter, 1/2 inch on the pipe side
2 male pipe-to-flare gas adapters, 1/2 inch on the pipe side(Video) Before Installing a Propane Tankless Water Heater
1/2-inch pipe nipple
2 pipe wrenches
Masking tape or duct tape
Many states, including California, require earthquake straps on both hot water tanks and propane tanks. If necessary, you can drive posts into the ground on either side of your propane tank and wrap straps around the posts and the tank. Move the tank away from the area when driving metal posts with a metal post driver.
Plumber's paste should be applied liberally to completely cover all threading on the male connection.
Always ensure that your hot water heater is well-secured in its cabinet with earthquake straps.
Avoid overtightening threaded unions. Too much force might rip the threads. Wrench-tighten over one turn only if necessary to make a complete seal or if little force is needed to do so.
Never use an open flame to check for propane leaks.
Never use a propane tank to power a water heater fitted for natural gas. Doing so might cause a fire.(Video) How to attach a 20lb propane tank to home
Never place used fittings in a new gas installation. Used fittings might have small holes through which gas can escape. Any time you replace a pressure regulator, replace the pigtail as well, advises Propane 101.
- Turn off the main water valve at the meter.
- Cut into the existing water–supply pipes attached to the old water heater.
- Remove the old water heater and mount the new tankless heater to the wall.
- Run threaded iron pipe from the outdoor propane tank to the heater; tighten all connections with a pipe wrench.
You can connect a propane tank of nearly any size to your household hot water heater as long as you satisfy three conditions: You need to install a pressure regulator between the tank and hot water heater, ensure that the hot water heater is equipped for propane rather than natural gas, and maintain the correct safe ...
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You will need two regulators. You will need one regulator to take the tank pressure (up to 200 psi) to down to a household line pressure (2psi). You will also need a regulator to take the household pressure down to the 11" WC needed by your hot water heater.