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Thread: Electric water heater installation - certain code requirements

  1. #16
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    I have now been involved in three failures of those SS water heater flex connectors one of which was at my SO's house and didnt flood the basement but made quite a mess and literally soaked a 200 amp main panel as luck would have it the leak happened with a pretty much direct shot at the panel 15' away.

    I personally would never install any of those flex lines in my home anywhere. When one fails you will see that the inner poly tube is not very substantial (hence the outer s.s. braid) and all three of these the inner tube had pretty much turned to a soft gooey plastic. My guess is chlorine in the city water supply but who knows.

    Ive said it before, I dont even use the flex connectors on toilets and sinks. Soft copper is the only way to go for me.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  2. I have replaced 4 water heaters in 25 years in buildings we owned. Always used the copper accordian connectors. Except the last two when we connected pex tubing to 8 inch metal extensions on top the tanks. Never had a leak there. Had leaks in old copper pipes from hard water corroding the pipes after 40 years. Every one of those buildings had a wall switch within two feet. The last unit came with an elbow and three foot pipe that directed water from the relief valve onto the floor.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    Had leaks in old copper pipes from hard water corroding the pipes after 40 years
    There's your money shot.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  4. #19
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    In the typical installation diagram for a Rheem electric water heater, I find another unfamiliar recommendation - the 6 inch "heat trap". What's the idea behind a heat trap?waterHeaterIinstall.jpg

  5. #20
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    Heat trap prevents thermosyphoning since hot water rises, it does not go down unless there is pressure pushing it out. My last water heater I installed check valves on top of the tank to eliminate thermosyphon effects.
    Old Yanmar tractors had no water pumps just let the hot water flow to the top of the tall radiator and fall down the radiator as it cooled to be drawn into the bottom of the engine.
    Bil lD.

  6. #21
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    Looking at the Rheem water heater I have, it appears to have "heat trap nipples" already installed. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...5009/205680991 Those plastic inserts could easily be mistaken for temporary caps to keep debris out of the pipes.

  7. #22
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    There may also be dielectric unions on the heater. Not sure how but they are supposed to prevent water pipe electrolytic corrosion. They do mean the water pipe is no longer connected to ground. Some people put jumper wires around them which defeats the purpose.
    Bil lD

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    There may also be dielectric unions on the heater.
    On this particular water heater, there are only the nipples. No union fittings were included. However, it's interesting to hear about dielectric unions. The accessory plumbing for water heaters is turning out to be a complicated topic!

    Another technicality is that some places require that there be at least 18 inches of metal pipe between the cold and hot water heater connections and any plastic pipe.

  9. #24
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    The accessory plumbing for water heaters is turning out to be a complicated topic!
    In my previous residence, in a different state, a water heater installation required an inspection. This is only one of the reasons we decided to have it done by a professional.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Tashiro View Post
    I'm curious about why plumbing codes (in locations different than mine) have some of the following requirements.

    1. Accordion type flexible water line connections are not allowed. (As Steve Lavimoniere says in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoMzdqO5AZU ) I don't know if this also applies to the pressure relief drain.

    2. A vacuum breaker must be installed on the cold water line. (He says it keeps the tank from collapsing should the fire department start using a lot of water from the main iine - only a concern in big cities?)

    3. A top-mounted factory installed "short stem" pressure relief valve must be replaced by a "long stem" pressure relief valve.

    From other videos:

    4. A service disconnect box is required. Romex cannot be used to connect the disconnect box to the heater. (In my location, the pros use a cable that resembles an appliance cord for a dryer or stove.)
    A "service disconnect" is what disconnects the service entrance conductors , a appliance requires a disconnect, and it would a very rare situation that they are service entrance conductors.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    I have now been involved in three failures of those SS water heater flex connectors one of which was at my SO's house and didnt flood the basement but made quite a mess and literally soaked a 200 amp main panel as luck would have it the leak happened with a pretty much direct shot at the panel 15' away.

    I personally would never install any of those flex lines in my home anywhere. When one fails you will see that the inner poly tube is not very substantial (hence the outer s.s. braid) and all three of these the inner tube had pretty much turned to a soft gooey plastic. My guess is chlorine in the city water supply but who knows.

    Ive said it before, I dont even use the flex connectors on toilets and sinks. Soft copper is the only way to go for me.
    Mark
    Do you happen to remember which brand you used, and what the time interval to failure was? I installed two of them over a decade ago on our water heater, and to date they have been fine. Of course, everything is fine, until it isn't.
    Every sink in my house, and both toilets have flexible, braided, stainless hose going to it. I did have one failure, but it was an OEM, Grohe hose. Luckily it came after the valve. It had gotten kinked somehow or the other.

    Stephen
    Don't drive your self crazy installing an electric water heater. Mimic what was there, and you should be fine unless you're going to a different style system.
    The difference for the codes is geographic location.
    Mine has all the check valves, shutoffs, and anti siphon devices installed, and I don't need any of them, except for the check valves. I'm on a well, not city water. It is impossible for me to back pressure, and contaminate the city water system. The closest city water pipe to me is 3 miles away. But, my water heater had to have all of those features. I also have anti siphon hose bibs installed, which I don't need.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 11-29-2019 at 9:57 AM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    Do you happen to remember which brand you used, and what the time interval to failure was?
    No idea on either as I never installed the original flex lines and never bothered to check the brand on the failed connectors. As you say, they are fine til' they are not which is another of my big problems with these flex lines. Unlike copper, or even threaded, they give you virtually no warning of pending failure. A copper or threaded connection will be tapping you on the shoulder regularly for a long period of time before it ever completely lets loose. A drip, a bit of corrosion visible, and so on. Not so with these. Your lucky if they fail with a drip or two prior to a hole big enough for a steady spray/stream of a leak.

    I too have lamented the move by the manufacturers to install them factory connected to valve bodies all in an attempt to ease the DIY movement. I have less of an issue with them on the low pressure side (valve body to a spout) but under constant pressure they are a bad choice for me but you have no option with the factory installed stuff.

    The odd part is that all of them state clearly that they are not to be installed in concealed locations where they can not be regularly inspected. #1 this makes no sense because they will rarely show signs of imminent failure visually, and #2 they are selling them for dishwasher and sink connection that are impossible to see, or rarely seen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    I'm on a well, not city water. It is impossible for me to back pressure, and contaminate the city water system. The closest city water pipe to me is 3 miles away. But, my water heater had to have all of those features. I also have anti siphon hose bibs installed, which I don't need.
    This isnt actually true. While you of course cant contaminate a city water supply, the potential is most definitely there (although its about as good as a lottery ticket) to contaminate your own. The back flow/vacuum breaker/anti-siphon devices apply to public and private water supplies equally. Any number of issues could cause you a back flow situation. The check/foot valve on your well could fail and the column of water in the well would drop back into the well pulling a siphon on your entire home. The line between the well and the home, or the drop in the casing could fail and cause the same condition. The same could happen with maintenance. Ive done many homes with wells hundreds of feet deep and that are far over a hillside well below the elevation of the home. If any of those happened there would be a column of water easily capable of creating a siphon or collapsing a tank and worse siphoning nasty water back into your potable water piping.

    Would it kill you? Who knows. Put you on the pot for a few days? Who knows. Ever actually happen? Who knows. But all this stuff just like car insurance, is there for the rare occasion or hopefully never.
    Last edited by Mark Bolton; 11-30-2019 at 10:47 AM.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

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