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  • Water heater install with copper lines who is right?

    Attachment My 12 year old water heater is corroding where the copper lines are screwed directly into the steel heater. This was done by a plumber when the house was built. I look on youtube and all I see are videos of how to do it wrong. I am ready to install a new water heater and I want to do it right. My confusion is with the steel nipples and dialectric unions. The steel nipple has a plastic liner and will be screwed into the tank. The plastic liner wraps partially over each end. I also have unions to be sweated (or I can get shark bite ones) on the copper side with steel threaded on the tank side. There is a fiber washer in there. The problem is this. The female side of the union has very deep threads and the plastic inside the nipple will in no way seat against the union. Water WILL get under the plastic liner. I do not see what good the plastic liner does. Can I use brass nipples instead? I am afraid the warranty will be void if I do not use the plasic lined nipples. Confused?
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  • #2
    Re: Water heater install with copper lines who is right?

    the new plastic lined nipples are fine. in fact some can't be removed as the cold diptube is part of it.

    the brass nipples are also great too. the longer the better.

    dielectric unions are a waste.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: Water heater install with copper lines who is right?

      what you have is corrosion and rust, yes, but not caused by 2 different metals in contact with one another. note the rust around the entire draft hood of the tank. you have a back drafting issue from the flue pipe which allows acidic moist flue gases to reenter the area. This flue gas causes your rusting/corrosion issues. Also, look for a leaking packing nut on the cold water line. There is a much larger rusty area below the valve and I can just see a round spoked handle indicative of this style of valve. There may be an indication of a past leak by a greenish or white-ish crust near the handle stem.

      the biggest issue is how to fix the back drafting problem. a new heater will not solve the problem.
      ~~

      ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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      • #4
        Re: Water heater install with copper lines who is right?

        EZ Check for back draft. Have a butane lighter lit ,and at the hood water heater vent cavity. Have another turn the Heater temp valve up all the way [ very hot ] .
        When it fires up the flame should continue into the cavity. If it blows out change out chimney from 3" to 4". Others that know more will chime in. The rust is at nipples only not all around the Hood ! Are You sure It's Back drafting ?
        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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        • #5
          Re: Water heater install with copper lines who is right?

          If the rust were only at each nipple then i would say it's just dielectric corrosion. but the paint all they way around the hood is damaged. it's worse where each pipe exits because the cooler pipes, cooler then the flue gases, cause the gases to condense in those areas.

          the test you suggest may or may not work every time. depends upon whether or not the flue is warmed already, outdoor temps, humidity, wind, home ventilators, furnaces, etc. Changing the flue size to a larger size may exacerbate the problem. Maybe the flue length is too long? Maybe the chimney is too large or damaged. Maybe it's partially plugged? Maybe it's just a bad application of a standard draft hot water tank, too.

          Someone on site, with professional qualifications, would probably be of better help.
          ~~

          ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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          • #6
            Re: Water heater install with copper lines who is right?

            When ever i see a WH connection tied tight with copper it is always perfectly clean inside the copper code makers are not always right
            Last edited by DELCASE; 12-06-2012, 08:22 AM.

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            • #7
              Re: Water heater install with copper lines who is right?

              To answer your Question Correctly. You should never put copper directly into the tank or onto an expansion tank. This is in all of the Major codes, sometimes inspectors in the past have let it slide, but they shouldn't. The copper flex lines of the 80's used to have a true dielectric connection, but ALL of the new ones don't work. I use stainless steel nut by nut connectors. These are Not the Braided flex connectors (sharkbites are these) Those have rubber in them that will break down in your area. Brass Craft makes a Stainless Steel one, Falcon, and the new version of the Holdrites brands are good too. Stainless steel works with almost all materials and provides a safe way to connect. If you try to remove the copper from the water heater, you will most likely find that it is almost welded in there. This is due to the steel and copper not working together. Pull that copper out and if you live in a area where there is hardness in the water (like Ok, TX, MO, KS,) you will see that there is build up that is reducing the flow. As a few have pointed out, most water heaters come with pre installed piping and it may have a anode or diptube connected. If you want to use shark bite, then put a copper x male sharkbite on and connect the nut by nut. Don't use tefelon tape on any of the threads, just a little pipe compound, to help it screw on just a little farther. The new copper dielectric unions don't work either. I special ordered some All Brass ones at $22.00 a piece, several years ago, but what I found out was they will start to leak. The reason is, that as the water heater heats up and cools down. It expands and contract. Every so slightly. This tiny movement, needs to be addressed. Hints the Term. "Flex connectors". Check out This link: http://www.brasscraft.com/PDF/0690_S...HeaterConn.pdf
              "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

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