Can You Lay a Water Heater on Its Side: Essential Guide!


Debarghya Roy

Can you lay a water heater on its side? Yes, but only for a short time and with precautions. The dip tube, which sends cold water to the bottom of the tank, can become misaligned if it’s laid horizontally for too long.

To transport a water heater safely, you need to drain the water from the tank and wrap it in blankets or furniture pads. Secure it to a hand truck with straps or bungee cords, then load it into your vehicle. Drive carefully to your destination and let the unit sit upright for 24 hours before connecting it.

My friend recently moved her electric water heater and had to lay it on its side to get it out of the basement. With careful padding and planning, they managed to get it down the stairs without any damage and installed it in the new home.

Key Notes


  • It is generally not recommended to lay a water heater on its side, as it can cause damage to the internal components and affect its performance.
  • Water heaters are designed to be installed in an upright position, with the cold water inlet at the bottom and the hot water outlet at the top.
  • Laying a water heater on its side can cause the sediment at the bottom of the tank to shift and potentially clog the water lines or damage the heating elements.
  • If you need to transport a water heater, it is best to keep it in an upright position to avoid any potential damage.
  • If you have already laid a water heater on its side, it is important to let it sit in an upright position for at least 24 hours before turning it on to allow any sediment to settle back to the bottom of the tank.
  • It is always recommended to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or a professional plumber before attempting to move or install a water heater.

Transporting a Water Heater on Its Side


Moving a water heater on its side can be done, but you must take extra care. Here’s a guide on how to transport it safely:

  1. Prep the water heater: Turn off the power or gas and let it cool. This will stop any accidents.
  2. Secure it: Take out the anode rod and dip tube, also drain the tank. This will make it lighter for transportation.
  3. Utilize suitable gear: You’ll need a dolly or hand truck with straps to secure the heater. Use furniture pads or moving blankets for extra padding and to protect internal components.
  4. Move with caution: Secure the water heater in your vehicle properly with restraints. Drive carefully and avoid sudden movements or rough terrain.

It’s best to transport a water heater upright, so only go on its side if absolutely necessary. Follow these steps and consider other methods to avoid damages. Make sure you securely transport the unit to ensure you have hot showers in your new home.

Potential Risks of Laying a Water Heater on Its Side


Laying a water heater on its side can lead to potential risks. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Damage to internal parts. A water heater on its side can damage the dip tube, anode rod and heating elements. Result? Decreased performance or complete malfunction.
  • Leaks and water damage. Horizontal transport may cause the pressure relief valve or drain valve to become compromised, leading to water leakage.
  • Injury risk. Liftin’ and movin’ requires strength and caution. If not properly secured, a water heater can fall over, causin’ injury.
  • Voiding warranty. Laying a water heater on its side can void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions for each type of water heater. Disconnect gas or electricity connections before moving. And remember, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid any costly repairs or replacement.

Be informed about risks, take precautions and handle heavy appliances like water heaters with extra care. Transport it upright and securely packed to avoid any unwanted incidents. Give your water heater the attention it deserves and enjoy hot water without worries!

Tips for Safely Transporting a Water Heater on Its Side


Transporting a water heater on its side can be done safely. Here’s how:

  1. Prepare the water heater: Turn off the power or gas supply and let it cool down.
  2. Secure the water heater: Use furniture pads or moving blankets and ratchet straps or ropes to keep it in place.
  3. Transport the water heater: Lay it on its side horizontally with padding at the bottom.

Remember, lay it on its side only for transportation and not for installation! Plus, take off the anode rod and dip tube and drain the water from the tank before transporting.

These precautions will help you avoid costly repairs and accidents. Keep your investment safe by ensuring proper handling during the process.

Installing a water heater on its side? Go ahead, live on the wild side!

Installing a Water Heater on Its Side


When moving a water heater, caution is key! It’s not ideal to lay it on its side while installing it. Try this instead:

  1. Prepare the water heater. Turn off electricity/gas, shut off water, and drain tank with a garden hose. Remove any attached pipes or controls.
  2. Secure it. Protect the exterior with furniture pads or blankets. Place it on a hand truck or dolly, centered and balanced.
  3. Transport it. If possible, keep it upright. Add padding to cushion movement if horizontal.
  4. Install & position the unit. Carefully unload and make sure it’s level and stable before connecting any pipes, controls, or electricity.

Note: Laying a water heater on its side for too long can damage internal parts such as heating elements. An average 50-gallon electric water heater can weigh up to 130lbs when empty. So be safe when handling it!

Conclusion


I often asked myself: “Can I lay a water heater on its side?” After researching and consulting experts, I came to the conclusion that it’s generally not recommended. Yet, it can be done safely in some circumstances.

Secure the water heater with a hand truck or dolly and ratchet straps when transporting it. Plus, use furniture pads or moving blankets to protect it.

Prepare the water heater before moving. Shut off the water supply and drain the tank. Depending on the type, you may also need to remove the dip tube and anode rod.

My friend recently had to move his water heater. He was worried about laying it on its side. But he followed all the steps and used padding. Thankfully, he moved it safely!

Frequently Asked Questions


Can You Lay a Water Heater on Its Side?

Yes, you can lay a water heater on its side for transport, but it is not recommended for long periods. Laying the water heater on its side can cause damage to the internal components and disrupt the proper functioning of the unit.

Can You Lay a Water Heater on Its Side to Transport?

Yes, you can lay a water heater on its side to transport it, but you need to take certain precautions. Make sure to secure the water heater properly with straps or ropes to avoid damage during transportation.

What Happens If You Lay a Water Heater on Its Side?

If you lay a water heater on its side for an extended period or without proper precautions, it can damage the internal components, such as the dip tube, anode rod, and heating elements. This can result in poor performance and reduce the lifespan of the water heater.

How Do You Safely Transport a Water Heater on Its Side?

To safely transport a water heater on its side, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the water and disconnect the unit.
  2. Drain the water heater completely.
  3. Secure the water heater with straps or ropes.
  4. Use furniture pads or moving blankets to provide ample padding.
  5. Transport the water heater in a vehicle with enough space and drive carefully to avoid sudden movements.

Can You Install a Water Heater on Its Side?

No, you should not install a water heater on its side. Water heaters are designed to be installed in an upright position for optimal performance and safety. Installing it on its side can result in damage to the unit and may also void the warranty.

How Do You Move a Water Heater on Its Side?

To move a water heater on its side, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the water and disconnect the unit.
  2. Drain the water heater completely.
  3. Use a dolly or hand truck to load the water heater for easy transportation.
  4. Secure the water heater on the dolly with straps or ropes.
  5. Protect the water heater by using furniture pads or moving blankets.
  6. Move the water heater carefully to its new location.

About the author

Debarghya Roy: A heating systems author, Passionate about energy efficiency and sustainability, Sharing insights and empowering readers through informative blog articles.