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Rheem Hybrid Water Heater | Is Transporting on Its Side OK?

Water heaters are massive tanks of boiling hot water. You do not want anything to go wrong with them! Whether you are installing a new water heater or transporting a working heater somewhere else, care must be put in to prevent it from breaking.

While it is often recommended to transport your heater in an upright position, that is not always possible. Let’s look into some safe alternatives if that is the case.

Rheem hybrid water heaters can be safely transported on their backs as long as there is padding and strapping and the journey is short and smooth. The heater must be left upright for a few hours after transport before being installed and used.

What Does the Rheem Instruction Manual Say?

If you check the Rheem instruction manual, you may notice that they do not specify how to transport their hybrid water heater. They also do not specify whether you should or shouldn’t transport their water heater on its side.

On the other hand, Home Depot indicates that transporting the water heater on its back should be safe. Therefore, putting it on its back is likely a safe way to move it.  

Home Depot is a trusted carrier of many appliances. They are widely known and have a reputation to uphold.

If they were giving out instructions that would endanger the integrity of an appliance or even the safety of a user (boiling water, remember!), then they would quickly lose their reputation.

They would also likely have to deal with countless returns, which is just more paperwork than anyone can stand.

Conditions of Side Transport

If you do decide to transport your hybrid water heater on its side, you need to be careful. Otherwise, you run the risk of permanently damaging important components within the machine.

When you transport it, you want to make sure that it is not able to roll around. The best way to do this is by securing it with ratchet straps. In addition, you can and should use padding under the tank.

STANLEY S1007 Black/Yellow 1.5" x 16' Ratchet Tie Down Straps - Heavy Cargo Hauling (3,300 lbs Break Strength), 2 Pack

When laying it down, you want to keep the controls up. This is because they are the most fragile and likely to get damaged parts when transporting your water heater. 

You will also want to avoid long and bumpy journeys. Bumps are an easy way to damage both the outside and inside of the heater. As for long trips, the longer your heater is laying down and on the road, with its potential bumps, the more susceptible it is to damage.

After transporting your heater, it is recommended to let it sit upright for a couple of hours before setting it up.

Potential Problems with Side Transport

Unlike normal water heater, which definitely can be transported laying down, when you transport your hybrid heater on its side, you run the risk of damaging important parts of it.

A lot of the time, however, damage can be easily avoided if you are careful and understand what parts are delicate.

The most delicate part is the compressor. This is what makes a hybrid water heater a hybrid water heater (also known as a heat pump water heater).

It’s mounted on springs, which is ideal for the appliance’s function but makes it quite sensitive to being orientated in any position other than upright.

If the compressor gets damaged, then the water heater won’t be able to function and will be basically useless.

The best way to prevent damage is to secure your water heater. If it is able to roll around in your car, then it will likely cause irreversible damage. As long as you are safe, however, you can curve most potential problems that would arise from transporting your water heater on its side.

Benefits of Side Transport

Compared to transporting your heater upright, transporting it on its side does have some benefits. For one, it is much more stable. Since hybrid water heaters are top-heavy, a vertically-standing heater is much more likely to tip over if transported than if it were on its side.

Transporting a water heater on its side in a pickup truck

Because of this, it is oftentimes safer to transport your hybrid water heater on its side as long as the proper precautions are taken.

Another benefit is that it is able to fit in your car. This removes the need to hire a transporter, thus saving you money.


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