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  • water heater lines

    Recently I installed a water heater and had some difficulty with those brass flex lines. First of all the top of the tank sits about 6 inches below the hot and cold feed lines coming out the wall. The smallest line I could fine is 18" in both brass flex and (I do not know the proper name) braided feed line.
    I've seen prior installations and the brass flex has been nicely bent with no kinks to fit just right. HOW the heck is this done? Is there a tool used to bend this stuff? Most times I end up kinking or even breaking the line and once you bend it thats it no going back or snap it goes and off I go back to the Home Center!
    When I tried the braided stuff I'll get a kink so I end up moving, rotating anything to align the line without a kink.
    Are there steps you guys follow to get a better fit?
    I know the brass flex will work because the prior install was just that only I could not replicate those bends.
    Your professional advice needed.
    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: water heater lines

    Sometimes a 45 degree angle can help the DIYer.They do make different size flex lines in the spiraled (I think they are the ones you are refering to as brass).I prefer these because They dont reduce volume As much as many of the stainless flexes,dont know what you have access to.I think you have noticed,you pretty much get one easy try at bending the standard flex,after that it becomes what they refer to as becomming annealed (rigid).A trick you can try is to put the flex on the wall stub-outs first leave nuts snug not tight.take your time,working from one end at wall to the water heater feed.

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    • #3
      Re: water heater lines

      Originally posted by Leonard View Post
      Recently I installed a water heater and had some difficulty with those brass flex lines. First of all the top of the tank sits about 6 inches below the hot and cold feed lines coming out the wall. The smallest line I could fine is 18" in both brass flex and (I do not know the proper name) braided feed line.
      I've seen prior installations and the brass flex has been nicely bent with no kinks to fit just right. HOW the heck is this done? Is there a tool used to bend this stuff? Most times I end up kinking or even breaking the line and once you bend it thats it no going back or snap it goes and off I go back to the Home Center!
      When I tried the braided stuff I'll get a kink so I end up moving, rotating anything to align the line without a kink.
      Are there steps you guys follow to get a better fit?
      I know the brass flex will work because the prior install was just that only I could not replicate those bends.
      Your professional advice needed.
      Thanks
      As mentioned above the flexes are likely a soft annealed corrugated copper with brass ends. Most 3/4" water heaters flexes reduce the flow to 5/8" so I prefer to hard pipe my heaters but I understand that is difficult for some DIYs.

      To connect your water heater do not try and use the shortest flex as it sounds like the radius of the bend is too tight for you. Instead use a longer flex and as you come away from the wall bend the flex up in the air and do a 270 degree loop to reach the top of the water heater. It won't be pretty but if you do it right you will not kink the flex.

      Mark

      BTW: If you are determined to achieve the same radius as before try to fill the flexes with sand and bend them before you install them.
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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      • #4
        Re: water heater lines

        after the 1993 northridge earthquake, we learned alot about strapping and flexes. the heater full of water is going to move, period. there has to be some form of flex or you stand the chance of breaking the line or kinking it. proper strapping is not only necessary, but required.

        i favored the stainless braided flexes after the earthquake, they allowed movement and also helped support a heater when the legs gave way. well after many stainless flex failures, i've gone back to the copper flexes.

        mark has the right trick. so does dirtyhands i carry all the sizes, 12'', 15'' 18'', and 24''. typically a longer flex that is rolled in a complete circle will be easier than 2 tight offset.

        as dirtyhands mentioned, you can also use a 45 or 90 at the inlet of the heater or wall stub to ease the offset to fit. sometimes i will have to cu the copper and install a new adapter or offset to match.

        there is no simple way, you just need to adapt to the particular situation.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

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