So you wake up one morning and find your flooring soaked around where the water heater is. You open the closet or compartment door and find a huge mess. You look around and see that you have neglected the fact that your water heater looks 30 years old and you possibly didn’t even know where it was in your home. Out of sight, out of mind. It is time to replace the unit.
First things first is you need to find the correct unit for a mobile home. You are going to have to call around and ask for a “mobile home approved, sealed combustion” water heater. Do not rely on the stock hand at your local Big Box Store who makes $10 per hour to tell you what you need or don’t need for an appliance in your home. Do your own research and make sure it is the correct one. If you decide to go cheap and buy any ordinary gas unit, it will be considered illegal and you will be putting yourself and family at risk for fire and carbon monoxide.
Now that you have found the correct water heater, let’s begin. Locate the main water supply shut off valve and turn it off. It most likely will be under your home, a real bear. Turn the gas supply off at the water heater. There will be a valve nearby the heater. Hook up a garden hose to the drain located at the bottom of the water heater. Open the drain all the way. You will then notice that no water is coming out of the hose. You have to break the vacuum in your plumbing system by introducing air behind the water. You can do this by opening the hot and cold faucet handles through out the house. Once water starts flowing you can disconnect the hot connection located at the top of the heater. This will speed up the draining process by letting a lot of air behind the water in the tank. Wait until you think the unit is empty. Turn the drain into the closed position. Disconnect the pressure relief line and pull out from the floor. Disconnect the cold water connection located on the side of the heater 2/3 the way down. Disconnect the gas supply line. Remove any shipping straps that might be holding the heater in place and remove any screws going into the floor. Remove the unit from the compartment.
Once you have placed the new water heater in the compartment, installed your hot and cold connections, connected your gas supply line, and connected the pressure relief line, you are ready to fill the tank.
Turn the main water supply line back on and make sure the faucets in the house are still in the on position so as to let the tank bleed out air as it fills. When water comes out of the hot and cold, the tank is full. Follow the instructions for lighting the pilot light and turn the unit on.