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 Best way to connect water heater?
Author: LI Guy (IN)

Helping my brother in law replace his 50 gal electric water heater today. As you can see in the pic it's straight piped, and I was thinking of using the 18" braided stainless hose connections to make replacement easier next time. The issue with using those is that I don't have enough vertical height with the expansion tank where it is. I'm also planning on replacing the shutoff with a ball valve and adding a shutoff on the hot side as well.

So it seems my choices are to use unions instead of the flex hoses, or use the flex hoses but change the orientation of the expansion tan to give me more vertical space.

What's considered best practice on these configurations? It's been a while since I've had to mess with a big standalone HWH like this.



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Not a plumber by trade but a fierce DIYer

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: sum (FL)

is it the same exact model WH with same size, height and location of the inlet/outlet? Chances are they won't be so some sort of shift or offset may be needed.

If you use a pair of flex hoses I suggest to not use the SS braided ones but use the SS flex hoses like this instead.



If you are going to do a ball valve on the cold side and the hot side, you might consider just piping in a bypass loop it is just one extra ball valve.

Are you going to put in a pair of dielectric coupling or long brass nipples?

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: bernabeu (SC)

no dialectric necessary with s/s flex (not braided OVER plastic, but actual corrugated stainless)

the flexes are also make in copper

like sum says: NO braided s/s OVER plastic tubing



IMO:

'side arm' the ex tank directly from the tank inlet nipple

screw on brass tee (on the run)

long enough nipple for clearance nipple from bull - elbow ('looking' up) - tank

(no valve needed on branch to ex tank)

'top' of tee (on run) nipple

s/s or copper corrugated flex connector

valve

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Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: LI Guy (IN)

I saw those corrugated stainless flex hoses...why not the braided ones?

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Not a plumber by trade but a fierce DIYer

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: bernabeu (SC)

because the 'braided' ones are merely a 'cover coat' of a plastic tube

said tube is 'usually' vinyl

the braid looks good and is shiny BUT it merely protects a 'hose'

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Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: LI Guy (IN)

Thanks for the help guys! I moved the expansion tank back a little so it could hang from the cold pipe, installed a new cold water shutoff and added a hot side shutoff. This should make changing it next time a breeze since you can do it without shutting off water to the whole house.

I see what you mean about the corrugated stainless lines, a much better option to the braided stainless. Makes you wonder why the still sell braided lines for this application, but thinking about sum's post on DWV fittings, they sell a lotta stuff you shouldn't use...



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Not a plumber by trade but a fierce DIYer



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: bernabeu (SC)

smiling smiley

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Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: sum (FL)

Looks like a very clean install. How heavy is the expansion tank? That two hole strap is holding some weight?

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: LI Guy (IN)

The expansion tank is about the size of a watermelon...if it holds 2 gals of water (worst case) plus the tank itself that puts it around 20 lbs. The tank eliminates any shock load on the piping so it's all static load, it just hangs there. The strap is screwed into the joist with 1-1/4 drywall screws, what could I use that would be sturdier?

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Not a plumber by trade but a fierce DIYer

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: bernabeu (SC)



saddle clamp - heavy

1/4 x 1-1/2 lag screws




commercial specs for hangars: must support 250# plus weight of pipe / load

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Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: sum (FL)

in my opinion, the issue may not be the two hole strap that the copper piping is secured with.

there is a soldered tee at the top there, then a couple more soldered joints below, a ball valve, then a threaded connection to the expansion tank. All of those are weighted down by the expansion tank. So it's like a soldered joint being pulled with a 20 pound force 24/7, is that an issue? I don't know.

If it's me I would let the joist above take that weight instead. I see a groove around the expansion tank, I would be tempted to take a piece of #10 or #12 electrical conductor wire, wrap it around the groove of the expansion tank, then have two ends of the wire pulled up to the joist, and wrap each end onto a screw that's secured to the joist. I think that is very easy to do and can relieve most of the weight pulling on the joints above the expansion tank.

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: bernabeu (SC)

the 'groove' is for a 'U" Bolt type support

seriously


again: commercial 'specs'

"U" Bolt it to a piece of mounted/fixed 'unistrut' or 'kindorf'

hangars are how the apprentices earn their pay while learning piping

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Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: packy (MA)

for heavens sake !!! the guy does a very nice job of installing a water heater for his relative and all you can do is criticize his work?? the expansion tank has about as much chance of falling as the orioles have of winning the world series.

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: bernabeu (SC)

packy

my FIRST response to LIguy was a smiley face

then, after he replied to Sum, i answered his ?

then , i replied to Sum re: methodology


I am SURE LIguy appreciates the feedback/banter.


HOWEVER

since you mentioned it

see: [www.lowes.com]

and/or




to LIGuy: again, nice neat job

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Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Best way to connect water heater?
Author: LI Guy (IN)

Thanks guys and no offense takensmiling smiley I do appreciate the feedback and why I like to post here.

According to the tank mfrs specs, it can be mounted in any position, BUT it needs support if mounted horizontally to lessen the twisting force on the fittings. The vertical mount I did puts all the joints in straight tension with no twisting forces applied, so it should be fine. Solder is rigid when it sets, there is no elasticity and no issues with tension. The weight of the tank is supported by the tee, and the pipe is strapped to the joist right at the tee. The 2-hole strap is not the strongest but I think it will be fine to support the weight of the tank. I don't like to use steel support straps with copper piping because of the potential for galvanic corrosion.

Brother in law reports that he only gets 5 years out of a water heater. He's not sure why but he says all his neighbors report similar lifespans. This is city water with a softener inline right before HWH. Next swap will be easier with threaded connections and shutoffs on both sides.

Brother in law also reported that sister in law was VERY happy with the job and the money saved. Came by last night with this:



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Not a plumber by trade but a fierce DIYer

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