How to Move a Hot Water Heater on Its Side

When moving, replacing, or installing hot water heaters, transport them with care to avoid damage. In certain situations, the hot water heater may need to be laid on its side. If the hot water heater is not properly moved while in a horizontal position, the metal casing could become damaged or the glass lining could crack. You can follow a few basic steps to protect your water heater when moving it on its side.

Step 1

Turn off the gas or electricity.

Step 2

Open the water heater's drain valve to drain the water. Be careful—the water is hot.

Step 3

Separate the vent pipe from the draft hood if you have a gas water heater. Make sure the pilot light is out. Disconnect and cap the gas line.

Step 4

Remove the interior dip tube and anode rod so they won't hit and damage the glass lining during moving.

Step 5

Remove the water heater from the plumbing pipes. Be careful—standing water may be hot.

Step 6

Carefully slide the base of a hand truck (dolly) underneath the water heater. Position the water heater so that its controls will be facing upward when it is on its side.

Step 7

Place a blanket or a furniture pad between the water heater and the hand truck. Secure the water heater to the hand truck with a ratchet strap. Do not over tighten the strap. Slowly move the water heater into a horizontal position by tilting back the hand truck.

Step 8

Prevent jiggling, jolts, and bumps while rolling, lifting, or transporting the water heater. Fragile parts inside can become damaged. Never drag the water heater. Always cushion the water heater with blankets or furniture pads. Always secure the water heater with straps.