Getting a new hot water heater can be rather exciting, especially if your old one has been malfunctioning or underperforming. However, like with most major projects, you should expect some minor interruptions to your daily life while the hot water heater is being installed. Here's what you can expect to change and not change during the procedure.
No Hot Water
As soon as your old water heater is removed, it will no longer be able to provide your home with hot water. This means that it's a great idea to use the hot water to your heart's content before your plumber arrives to install your new water heater. Of course, there's no harm in not using that water, but as long as it's already sitting in the tank waiting and will otherwise be wasted, why not?
Plentiful Cold Water
Although your hot water will be interrupted, you shouldn't expect the cold water to be. Plumbers can shut off the water at the intake, rather than the water main. This means that water will continue to flow to all of your taps, toilet, and even shower while the new heater is being put in place and connected. So if you need to cook, wash your hands, or just want a drink, you won't have to panic or pick up bottled water beforehand to get by.
Temporary Power Interruptions
This typically only applies to electric water heaters, but you may experience some temporary power interruptions while your new hot water heater is being put in place. These should be very short, but your plumber may need to turn off the electricity to set up the heater for everyone's safety. If you're concerned about this, open up your window shades to let in plenty of natural light, and ask your plumber to let you know before they shut off the power so you don't find your work interrupted or any other problems cropping up from having no electricity. Rest assured that the interruption should be very short, so you won't need to worry about things like your refrigerated food going bad.
This usually isn't an issue for gas-based hot water heaters, as the plumber can shut off the gas locally.
Time to Refill
Once the new tank is in place, it will likely need some time to refill. The exception to this is tankless hot water heaters; these heat water as it flows through, so you can start using the hot water immediately. Otherwise, though, you'll need to wait a while for the tank to fill up and then start heating the water. Your plumber can tell you how long it'll take to have plentiful hot water based on the size of your tank.
Contact a plumber who handles hot water tank installations to learn more.