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 removing corroded fitting on water heater
Author: ericsarratt (NC)

Any suggestions for getting a corroded brass fitting off of a ball valve? It is on a hot water heater. I am looking for suggestions before I tackle this tomorrow.

Off the top of the water heater there is a galvanized 90 degree elbow. Into the elbow screws a metal ball valve. On the end of the ball valve is a brass (?) fitting that reduces to a 3/4" pex connection. Pretty standard.

I moved the pipe which was attached to the 3/4" pex connection and the end of the brass pex connection snapped off.

At this point I stopped for the day.

The top of the hot water heater is not very accessible. It is in a crawl space.

Edited 2 times.

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 Re: removing corroded fitting on water heater
Author: packy (MA)

a picture would be helpful..
i'm gonna say that you'd be best off to unscrew the nipple from the top of the tank.
it is not that difficult.
then use a stainless steel nipple into the tank and replace from there.

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 Re: removing corroded fitting on water heater
Author: ericsarratt (NC)

Thanks. I had that in mind.

I have pics, but I can't get them off my camera; something is busted.

I'll try again tomorrow.

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 Pics & video uploaded--Re: removing corroded fitting on water heater
Author: ericsarratt (NC)

I am trying to remove the elbow at the arrow, but I will take what I can get: the pex fitting which snapped, the ball valve behind the pex fitting.

You can also see the elbow at about 0:10 in this video: [youtu.be]

Here is the barb pex fitting which snapped off. I moved the pex pipe back a forth a few times trying to get my pex repair coupling on and this broke.

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 Re: Pics & video uploaded--Re: removing corroded fitting on water heater
Author: steve (CA)

Dezincification of the brass fitting caused the fitting to weaken and break. Cheap brass fittings that contain too much zinc suffer this fate, depending on water pH. Here's a picture of a brass fitting that has had dezincification occurring. The zinc gets removed and copper remains(pink color, like your fitting).

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 SOLVED Re: Pics & video uploaded--Re: removing corroded fitting on water heater
Author: ericsarratt (NC)

Thank you for the explanation. That was useful.

I prayed to the plumbing gods and put an open end wrench on the snapped fitting. After a bit of struggling, it moved. I had just enough room to turn the threads one wrench flat at a time.

I did not have to remove the galvanized elbow or the ball valve.

I took the broken part to the plumbing supply. They suggested that the ph of the well water was the culprit of the deterioration (dezincification) and suggest stainless. The brass pex barb was replaced with a $5 stainless fitting.

I also switched to plastic elbows for the other fittings to eliminate more brass.

I put everything back together and all is well.

No leaky-leaky.

Edited 4 times.

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 Re: SOLVED Re: Pics & video uploaded--Re: removing corroded fitting on water heater
Author: packy (MA)

nothing succeeds like success.

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