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My day to be plumber

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by begreen, Jun 11, 2007.

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  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Plumbing, particularly repairs, is not my favorite job. I hate leaks. But remember when we raised the house that I put the HW heater on washing machine hoses? Well, it was still on them and a couple nights ago I was in the utility basement when I took a look at those hoses. One had swollen up about 3 times the normal width. Uh oh. I got materials stocked up yesterday for the repair and went at it today. This meant draining lines and the upper part of the hw heater, then removing the hoses, unsoldering the temporary connectors, cleaning up the run on the cold water side, then dropping legs down to the hw heater which with the raised house is now 36" below. My torch was wimpy with the copper 3/4" lines, especially because water kept draining back into them from the rest of the house. I finally got it fitted, cleaned, and soldered back all together. And thankfully no leaks. Phew!

    But for the first time I used 3/4" stainless steel jacketed flex lines to connect the hw heater. They are Watts brand, but as I'm installing them I notice, made in China. Has anyone used these? Are they as safe as the old style copper corrugated, flex tubing? The last thing I want is problems down there.

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Why are you using flex lines? When our plumber installed our H/W heater, he used copper pipe all the way, and there is no flex in the connections at all. This is a 30 gallon, natural gas heater sitting on the floor in our basement. I can't recall seeing flex lines on the hot water heater in any place I've ever lived, so I'm a bit surprised...

    Gooserider
  3. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I believe flex lines are the standard DIY install nowadays. At least that was the plumber at Lowes suggested when he handed me the 2 pack of them for my weekend hot water heater replacement. I still went with swetted copper all the way only because I wanted to learn how to do it. Now I wish I hadn't because I have a small leak right where my female cooper threaded union is threaded onto my cold water inlet. I am going to have to unsolder things to tighten it back down, which is supposedly much harder to do when you have water (or residual water) in the lines. I used thread tape but there is still a very small leak.

    I might go back and look for these braided lines BeGreen mentions. It would be easier for me to tighten this connection up or loosen it up if needed in the future to move it or whatever.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    The stainless braided lines I got for the washer from Home Depot supposedly has a valve in it that will close in the event of a break.
  5. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    My intake on my Toto toilet advertises this feature. Its some kind of a ball valve that supposedly will close on a lack of any water pressure on the water, i.e. a catastrophic leak in the toilet plumbing somewhere. It's not going to stop a leak in anything but supposedly will work when there is 0 PSI backpressure.

    My 40 gal GE water heater has sweated copper all the way to the intake but my father who has a newer installation has a metal braided intake line. I haven't had any problems with either... The metal braid sure is shiny, compared to my copper.. :)

    Jay
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I often see the old style, corrugated copper flex lines on electric hot water heaters. Maybe it's because we're in an earthquake zone and a little flex is a good thing?

    The braided stainless flex lines of the length I needed (18") were all they had at the hardware store. That's why I ended up using them. I thought about just adding unions and hard plumbing it, but the drops don't align perfectly and who knows where the nipples would be located on a replacement heater or what height it would be?
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Be careful not to heat the copper fitting directly connected to the tube in the tank, wahoo, since they are made out of plastic and will melt. Hence the unions.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I just checked on Watts website. They say these connectors provide full flow capacity and protection from vibration and bursting under pressure surges and seismic activity. They're rated at 125psi. We're regulated at 60 psi, so hopefully it's the right product to use here.
  9. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    To address the above issue, drain as much as you can and then take a piece of white bread (i.e. Wonder) with the crust trimmed off and shove it into the pipe. Works like a sponge and you won't have to try to fish it back out. When everything is hooked back up, pull of the aerator on the closest faucet and turn on the water. The dissolved bread will come out the faucet.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    "My intake on my Toto toilet advertises this feature. Its some kind of a ball valve that supposedly will close on a lack of any water pressure on the water, i.e. a catastrophic leak in the toilet plumbing somewhere. It’s not going to stop a leak in anything but supposedly will work when there is 0 PSI backpressure."

    This sounds like an anti siphon device. A check ball that will prevent the tank of the toilet from draining onto the floor.

    I like the braided stainless lines for washing machines, ice makers, faucets and toilets. Handy as heck and I've always had 100% success with them.
  11. Hokerer

    Hokerer Member

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    And they're also great when you cut them up and make a manifold for your lauter tun for homebrewing beer!
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