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  • water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

    I'm seeking any pros/cons for corrugated flex connectors in stainless versus copper? (I'm in California and state code requires flex lines for earthquake safety). I was reviewing the plumbing discussion boards and most pros seem to be using stainless, although I've seen some statements favoring copper. Also, any preference for brands (e.g., Falcon, Rhino, Watts) ... is there really a difference? Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

    i prefer the stainless corrugated flexes over the copper ones. the stainless are much more flexible and don't kink.

    stay far, far away from the stainless braided hoses.

    my preference are the rhino flexes.

    don't forget the gas flex should be changed too.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

      I switched to stainless flex lines from the copper ones after I had a few of the copper ones leak in the first year. Also, the stainless lines are more flexible then the copper ones.

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      • #4
        Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

        Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post

        stay far, far away from the stainless braided hoses.


        rick.
        Can you give reason(s) for avoiding the SS braid connectors? That is what was on the water heater when I bought this house a few years ago. Should I consider changing them?

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        • #5
          Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

          At one time the ss braided supplies had a huge problem. The rubber inside hose, HOT HOSE, melted to a black goo and added oily specks to fixtures! Drove us crazy until i found the cause on this forum. Thanks again Ridgid !
          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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          • #6
            Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

            Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
            At one time the ss braided supplies had a huge problem. The rubber inside hose, HOT HOSE, melted to a black goo and added oily specks to fixtures! Drove us crazy until i found the cause on this forum. Thanks again Ridgid !
            that's the small of it

            for some reason the braided flexes for water heaters don't holdup like the ones for fixtures. possibly the heat, possibly the flow

            the problem is they rupture at the crimp, both hot and cold

            of the hundreds i've installed, i've probably replaced at least 25% of them.

            copper flexes were the old standard. i've found the stainless corrugated flexes the new standard.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

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            • #7
              Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

              On a new installation could you guys in cali rough the water pipe in 18" higher and use pex as flex connectors?

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              • #8
                Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

                pex is approved now in calif. problem is most heaters are outside in sheds or inside that would be exposed to uv light. so i would say probably not.

                rick.
                phoebe it is

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                • #9
                  Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

                  Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                  pex is approved now in calif. problem is most heaters are outside in sheds or inside that would be exposed to uv light. so i would say probably not.

                  rick.
                  You can paint pex for UV protection or insulate it. Just curious if the pipe would serve the code as a "flex connection".

                  ADD> I use Rehau pex with a UV shield covering on the pipe thats good they say for 30 days of UV exposure but I find it on fishing piers thats going on 5 years in the sun and freezing temps with no failures. The regular pex with no UV protection will last about 2-3 years and it will start getting surface micro cracks but it will not leak.....but its weak and if it freezes or get hit,it will fail and leak. After about 4-5 years the white non protected pex will start failing due to standard water pressure and will break like chalk. Unprotected PVC water pipe will do the same but it takes a bit longer,you can run your fingernail across the pipe and it flakes off....thats with the unprotected pex or the pvc exposed to extreme UV light
                  Last edited by TheMaster; 02-04-2011, 10:45 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

                    Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
                    You can paint pex for UV protection or insulate it. Just curious if the pipe would serve the code as a "flex connection".
                    Some pex manufacturers will void your warranty if you paint the pipe.
                    including Rehau

                    Page 3 of their warranty info
                    "Do not expose REHAU products to harmful chemicals, oil or petroleum products, paint, adhesives,
                    solvents, household cleaners or aggressive water."
                    No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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                    • #11
                      Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

                      Originally posted by MoJourneyman View Post
                      Some pex manufacturers will void your warranty if you paint the pipe.
                      including Rehau

                      Page 3 of their warranty info
                      "Do not expose REHAU products to harmful chemicals, oil or petroleum products, paint, adhesives,
                      solvents, household cleaners or aggressive water."
                      True and they also advertise it as freeze break resistant and then tell you in the warranty not to let it freeze. The latex paints available today will not harm pex but its in the warranty because who knows what they will put in latex paint made 5 years from now. But for those who are concerned about voiding the warranty can protect against UV with various pipe coverings.

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                      • #12
                        Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

                        when I lived at the beach, anywhere we had to run piping that could be exposed we did it in cpvc "crap" and plumbed it so that it could be drained completely.

                        job security comes in when you realize that the people buying these houses had no clue that you needed to keep plumbing from freezing.
                        No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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                        • #13
                          Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

                          Copper flex tend to get hard and rather brittle with time and snap off in earthquakes.

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                          • #14
                            Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

                            Is there any statistical data to support that the Flexes help in earthquake areas being that the heaters are also strapped with approved methods?

                            Thanks.


                            J.C.

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                            • #15
                              Re: water heater supply lines - stainless or copper?

                              I've been using the copper flex lines but lately they've been getting to be a pain in the butt. Next one will get the stainless for sure - they definitely seem more flexible.
                              Ideal Plumbing

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