Can Water Heater Be Transported Laying Down?

If you have an older water heater that needs to be replaced or just bought a new one, you will need to transfer it somehow to a new location. Since these are quite large devices, and sometimes it is inconvenient to transport them due to their dimensions, the question arises whether they can be transported lying down? Salespeople will tell you that the only way a water heater can be transported is horizontally, but is that true? In this article, we’ll talk about that. So, let’s start!

Can Water Heater Be Transported Laying Down? Water heaters can be transported laying down. However, during transport, the water heater must be placed on a flat surface and protected by ratchet straps to prevent scratches and dents. Salespeople claim that the water heater can only be transported in a horizontal position, which is not true.

When transporting the water heater on the side, it is essential not to damage it because this can shorten its life span. Therefore, protect the device with pads. Also, be sure to fixate a water heater to the vehicle with the help of transport ropes. If you want to learn more about this topic, continue reading.

Is It True That Water Heaters Need To Be Transported Horizontally?

A water heater can be transported while laying down

Water heaters are expensive devices. After spending a lot of money on this device, we should handle it very carefully. Dealers know this, and that’s why they have a goal to convince you to pay their company to ship the device. This is why they tend to spread the false story that water heaters must be transported exclusively in an upright position. Also, this essentially means that your vehicle isn’t suitable for transporting a water heater.

For that reason, the customer is usually scared by the dealer pointing out that the transport of the water heater on the side can damage the tubes and anode rods inside, which is NOT true! However, in the fear that due to the transportation on our own, we will potentially throw away the savings we just spent, we tend to believe the dealers. Not only that!  We also warn our friends and relatives about this, and in that way, we also spread false information.

This is how myths arise, which are not always true, and this is exactly the case regarding water heater transport. Therefore, don’t fall for this marketing trick. You can freely transport the water heater on the side if you properly secure the device.

If you want to learn more about water heaters, read Basics About Water Heaters: Types, Parts & How They Work.

What Do Professional Plumbers Think?

Plumbers’ opinion about transferring the water heater

Many plumbers say that it is not so important how the water heater will be transported (laying down or horizontally) as long as it is properly secured. If you secure your water heater in your vehicle, there is no danger that anything will happen to it.

Plumbers also say that if you do not have a vehicle suitable for transporting the water heater horizontally, lay it down during transport. It is much safer that way. The reason for this is simple. When the water heater is placed on the side, there is a significantly lower chance that something will happen and be damaged due to sudden braking. During transport, secure your water heater with pads and transport ropes.

How To Transport A Used Water Heater Laying Down?

If you are in the process of moving to a new location, or you simply want to transport your used water heater to another location, then you need to know how to do it correctly. A lot of people can be scared because the transport of such large things increases the chances of damage. At times like these, we are often tempted to pay for delivery. But that is not necessary at all.

The used water heater is not difficult to transfer from one location to another. However, a used water heater is a bit more complicated to transport than a brand-new water heater because it comes in a box. But it is still a job you can do by yourself. If you put more effort into preparation, it can be done easily and safely. Here is what you need to do:

1. Drain The Water From Your Heater

Empty your Water Heater

It is very important to drain water from the water heater before you start with the transport. Otherwise, the water that is inside the heater may damage some components. To do this, first, disconnect the water supply and then turn off the device. Connect the hose to the drain valve and turn on the hot water. Next, activate the drain valve, and the water will drain from the device.

2. Place A Water Heater On The Frame

Transporting a used water heater in a truck

In this step, you must protect the controls on your water heater. This can be done by placing your water heater so that the controls are facing up. Almost every water heater is round, so it means that if you transport them without their original packaging and factory protection, you cannot expect them to stay in one place during transport.

If your heater is not properly secured during transport, you can easily damage the controls on it. To prevent this, it is recommended to fixate the water heater so that the controls are facing up. This can be done with the help of a few simple wooden beams.

Prepare two wooden beams that are wide enough to place the water heater on. At one end, secure them with screws. You will get a solid frame that safely keeps your water heater in one place during transport.

3. Secure the Water Heater From Scratches

Protect water heater from scratches

As important as protecting your water heater from the inside during transport, it is equally important to ensure that the device is not damaged from the outside. If dents occur during transport, the water heater will not only look ugly. It will also hurt the insulating material inside the device, which is why the water heater will need more energy to operate. Scratches, on the other hand, can cause corrosion.

So, after you have constructed the frame that will fixate the water heater, take an extra step and cover the device with some pads. Moving blankets are an ideal choice, but any larger pieces of solid and thick fabric can also be used.

How To Transport A New Water Heater Laying Down?

Every new water heater bought in an official store comes packed in a box. Therefore, when planning the transport, remember that you will essentially be transporting a square object that comes in a box. Let’s look at what else you need to know before taking your new water heater for transport.

1. Water Heater Must Be Placed On a Flat Surface

The procedure for transporting a new water heater is slightly different than for a used one. During transport, the water heater must be placed on a flat surface. If you use a larger car or SUV with a spacious trunk corresponding to the water heater’s dimensions, you have an easy situation. Just carefully lower the box with the device into the trunk.

However, if your heater does not fit in the trunk, you must fold down the rear seats to get enough space. You must know that the rear seats cannot be lowered in most passenger cars and SUVs.

If this is the case, then you must create a flat surface. You will do this by folding the rear seats and placing press wood pieces on the space left at your disposal and two beams on them. Then you should place the water heater on the beams. Secure everything with transport ropes, and you are ready to go.

Note! A dolly is recommended when transporting a large device, such as a water heater. Ask the store to lend you one if you don’t have it.

Knowing the dimensions of your water heater before you start to transport it is a good idea. Measure the maximum free space in the back of the car and compare it with the measurements in the table below:

Water Heater Tank Size Heater Tank HeightHeater Tank Width
30 gallons32” (81.3 cm)19” (48 cm)
40 gallon39” (99 cm)22” (55 cm)
50 gallons47” (120 cm)24” (61 cm)
60 gallons61” (155 cm)28” (71 cm)
70 gallons72” (183 cm)30” (76 cm)
Table: Most common water heater sizes

If these dimensions meet the requirements of your vehicle, then you will be able to transport your water heater successfully. However, if this is not the case, it is recommended that you pay for the delivery. I know that such a situation does not make you happy, but at least you know that you did your best to avoid an unnecessary expense.

2. Use Ratchet Straps To Secure A Water Heater

Ratchet Straps Securing A Water Heater

Once you have successfully placed the water heater in your truck, it is time to fixate the package and thus secure it from moving all over the place while driving. To do this successfully, you need ratchet straps. Place them over the box and then fasten them to the hooks on your trunk.

In this way, you protect the water heater and all the passengers in the car since this is a heavy device that can cause serious injuries if it suddenly falls on someone.

How To Properly Use Ratchet Straps?

Water heaters are irregularly shaped on the top and bottom. Therefore, there is protection from polystyrene on these parts inside the box. Secure the box with the straps, so they go over the top and bottom of the package. In this way, the construction will be much stronger than if you had put the straps over the part of the package where the device is protected only by cardboard.

If you want to get rid of your old model, be sure to read: Water Heater Disposal: How To Get Rid Of Old Water Heater.

Final Thoughts

Finally, we can say that you don’t fall for the story that there is only one way to transport a water heater, and that way is horizontal. That’s not true. You can transport this device on the side of your vehicle and avoid expensive transport costs.

Just follow the instructions you have read in this article, and we believe you will successfully transfer the water heater from one location to another. In the process, remember that the most important thing is to fixate the device in the vehicle on a flat surface and cover it with pads. Good luck!

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