Hot water heater

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    • #277421
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      How good are those flexible copper connections for hot water heaters. I’m installing a heater and I was planning on using them, but i’ve never heard of them before.
      has anyone experienced any problems with them.

    • #296183
      PLUMBILL
      Participant

      They are not permitted by many plumbing codes however; I have not heard of that many failures with them.

    • #296184
      Retired plbg1
      Participant

      I saw some that were leaking where the connection to flex is made,we cant use them here.



      Art retired plbg

    • #296185
      rescuemn
      Participant

      I have had good luck with them on several heaters that I have installed here in Utah.

    • #296186
      nicktheplumber
      Participant

      The flex lines to connect to the water heater inlet and outlet connections work well. They have plastic gaskets in them and connect on each end just like unions. You just have to make sure that you torque them up properly and you can’t connect and disconnect them too many times, or the gasket will get masked and leak. In my area (the SF Bay Area) where we have earthquakes, they are preferred, because they allow a certain amount of movement in the event of an earthquake.

    • #296187
      AKPlumber
      Participant

      The flexible lines for water heaters work well, and they are perfectly legal in my state. They also serve to act as dialectrics to isolate the copper lines from the steel nipples in the tank connections, thereby actually doing away with the need for actual male/female dialectric unions. I much prefer to hard pipe water heaters, but there are times when due to space limitations or just a cramped position where hard piping would be making contact with other lines the flex lines are life and time savers. Just use a good dollop of decent pipe dope (Megaloc is my current fave along with Rectorseal) on the threads to the nipples and cinch them down good.

    • #296188
      nicktheplumber
      Participant


      In reply to message posted by AKPlumber:
      The flexible lines… also serve to act as dialectrics to isolate the copper lines from the steel nipples in the tank connections, thereby actually doing away with the need for actual male/female dialectric unions…


      Which reminds me to mention that you need to run a jumper ground between the hot and cold water supply pipes before they join the flex pipe, since the dielectric connection to the heater electricially isolates the hot water from the cold water supply (which needs to be grounded per the NEC). Your water pipes need to be grounded.

      NtP

    • #296189
      cortezc
      Participant

      Actually, the UPC requires that flexible connectors be used on a hot water heater. The copper flex will work just fine as long as you do not kink them. Also care should be taken on tightening. Do not overtighten but check several times after installation to make sure they are not leaking…..If they do leak it should only take a little more tightening to correct. Grounding is not a concern at the water heate since the system should be properly bonded near the electrical panel. The breaking of the continuity by the plastic and rubber washers does not eliminate the bond/ground.

    • #296190
      AKPlumber
      Participant

      The grounding of both cold and outgoing on a water heater I thought was rather strange, and I’ve never seen it done, anywhere, so thanks to Cortez for confirming that.
      As far as flex lines needed per UPC, I’m not sure that’s applicable in every state. There are plenty of contractors here who hard pipe the connections, (so this must be a relatively new code or not applied here) and I personally prefer to do so since I have had many less leaks that way as opposed to the flex line connections which never seem to last as long. Allowing some room to move in case of a quake is a good point though and one good argument I suppose for using them.

    • #296191
      nicktheplumber
      Participant


      In reply to message posted by AKPlumber:
      The grounding of both cold and outgoing on a water heater I thought was rather strange, and I’ve never seen it done, anywhere, so thanks to Cortez for confirming that.


      Besides the problem of dielectric connections to the inlet and outlet of water heaters, many modern water heaters do not present an electrical connection between the inlet and outlet pipes (they are made of non-conductive materials that will interrupt the ground circuit from the electric service panel to the cold water supply). Therefore it is essential to run a jumper bond around the water heater by connecting the hot and cold water pipes. Maybe this is something that’s just required here in California, but I doubt it. Anyone else want to chime in?

      NtP

    • #296192
      AKPlumber
      Participant

      Interesting…

    • #296193
      nicktheplumber
      Participant

      For those of you who are interested in this topic, I will provide the NEC citation: you will find it at 250-104a,b. This basically requires ground bonding jumpers between all hot,cold, and gas piping so that if any of these becomes accidentally energized dangerous currents will be diverted to ground. This is the rationale behind ground bonding jumpers across water meters, water heaters, and other things that may electrically isolate sections of the metallic plumbing system.

      This really is an important safety issue, and I’m surprised by the number of times I’ve come across (mostly older, but not always) installations where this had been overlooked. It’s always easy to fix with a couple of pipe-groind clamps and a bit of 6-8 guage solid copper ground wire.

      NtP

    • #296194
      AKPlumber
      Participant

      Thanks for the info.
      In over 10 years of plumbing, I have never seen this done to the lines on any hot water heater, much less boilers, etc. I have also never seen it on any older installations. I have worked for numerous contractors, all licensed plumbers, none of them do it, and furthermore, I have never seen an inspector fail one because of it. Ever.
      Not to say that your info is wrong, just that I highly doubt anyone ever pays any attention to that particular code.

    • #296195
      nicktheplumber
      Participant

      Well, I have been plumbing since 1972, and I have to admit that I was not taught about this electrical issue by my plumbing mentors. I learned about it from my electrical colleagues. Of course I thought about it and it made very good sense. I guess we can always learn something from the other trades.

      NtP

    • #296196
      AKPlumber
      Participant

      Nick, thanks for this info, much appreciated.
      Alawys learning something….

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