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Followed this: Home & Family I just purchased a Sears Kenmore 40 gallon gas hot water heater Item #33166. When I took it out of the carton it had a big plastic bag over it. The bag was held on at the top by a spring disc slotted washer which was slid about two third of the way down the cold water inlet nipple. This slotted spring washer is not down as far as the blue plastic collar which covers the hole in the casing top. Should this washer 1) be removed before installation, 2) driven down so it seats on the blue plastic cover or 3) just left alone? The hot water heater manual does not show it in diagrams or make any mention of it. Since it is not now seated, it appears that the pipe fittings will contact it when they are connected on the cold water inlet nipple. Any help in this regard will be greatly appreciated. I am installing this myself and would like to hear back as soon as possible. Thanks in advance.