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  • Water heater question

    My old water heater just went out tonight, so I picked up a new one from HD. 75gal natural gas. I'm plannin on hookin it up tommorow night after work. I do have a couple questions thogh. I tried tonight to disconnect the old one, after turnin the gas off, and drainin' the tank, but I couldnt budge the union that was on there, so I went located some copper 3/4's parts I had lyin around, and I really have everything I need, including a shut off valve, but can I use copper to connect to the tank??

    My other question is, I have well water, and I remember hearing I should use an aluminum anode rod instead of the magnesium, to reduce the rotten egg smell common w/ it. I do have a water sofenter, and use carbon filtration, after a phase of chlorine filtration as well. My question is, I am ready to put the aluminum anode rod on, but I have read and have been told conflicting information on the process. Some have told me not to use teflon tape on it, as it will render the rod useless, as it need to be in direct ground w/ the tank, is this true?? Others have told me you can use tef tape?? Who is rite?? Is there something else I can use, as I'm afraid w/out anything it may have a pressure leak. Thanks in advance for any help guys!!!

  • #2
    The "union" you are referring to I am assuming is a dialectric union, and yes, this is needed and also I would believe is a code requirement as well in your area for the fitting to the tank itself for the supply and hot lines. You should NOT connect copper directly to the tank because it will eventually corrode, and the purpose of the dialectric is to isolate the copper from the steel/iron nipple that screws into the tank. You have two choices.....you can use a male dialectric union, and use the male end to screw into the tank as the nipple. Or, you can use a regular iron nipple and use one of the copper flex lines to make the connection (these act in the basic same way as a dialectric). But in my opinion the best and preferable way is to use a real 3/4" male dialectric.
    When using a dialectric I should add that you should cut the plastic ring and remove the rubber gasket prior to sweating it in.....you will melt the ring and gasket if you install these, make your connection and apply the heat needed to sweat it together. Cutting the ring will allow you to install it on the dialectric after you sweat it by just opening it at the cut and slipping it back on (the cut will not affect it's performance once the union is tightened) and the gasket can be applied anytime simply by opening the union.
    To add to this, dialectrics in some areas are NOT required any longer for boiler connections due to the lower water flow to these appliances, but due to the much larger water flow from water heaters they are still essential.
    I'm sorry I can't help you with the rod question. I've never really dealt with that issue....I always have used the rods that come with the tanks, whether it be well or city water, with no adverse reactions to my knowledge, and I know very few plumbers if at all who really worry about it. I have not encountered the "rotten egg smell" you describe.....if this is required then forgive my ignorance, just that I have not ever really concerned myself with it all that much. Interesting.
    Hope this helps.
    D.M.

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    • #3
      Also.....as an afterthought, is the rod you are describing a heating element? After thinking about what you were describing in your post, that's what it sounds like you are referring to? Is this a gas or an ELECTRIC heater?? If it's gas, you don't need an element and there should'nt be any! As far as screwing electric elements into the tank, no teflon tape should be used, these should make a tight, leak free connection once they are screwed in tightly to the female fittings in the tank wall. Sorry if this is not what you meant, but I'm confused as to what you are really referring to here!
      D.M.

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      • #4
        I appreciate the reply David, unfortunately I already did the change out. I used copper, the hole shot. Tell it to me straight Doc, how much time do I got??

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        • #5
          LOL Bill, I would'nt worry about it too much, they don't always corrode and it depends on a number of factors... but on the same token it is code to use dialectrics with H2o heaters and it's hard for me to imagine that it would be very difficult to get them on there regardless if the heater is installed unless you are'nt experienced at sweating copper. At any rate, you'll notice if corrosion starts if you pay attention to it but I'd think it's safe to say it could last several years easily with straight copper to nipples (I am assuming you used female threaded copper adaptors to steel nipples) though again I personally would get those dialectrics on there if this is a long term investment.
          D.M.

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          • #6
            Thanks David, glad it will hold out a bit. My heart sunk when I read your 1st reply, since I just completed it. I will take your advice and add those before years end. Wifes got the honey do so long at this point. Thanks again for all the help!! [img]smile.gif[/img]

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            • #7
              Here in Ohio certain types of well water will cause the smell. If it does we just take it out and cap it. A word of note, this is a two man job, 1 with a socket and a cheater bar and another holding the heater solid.

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              • #8
                Dave wrote "..(I am assuming you used female threaded copper adaptors to steel nipples).."

                While this connection transition from one material to another will certainly work in my expierence it is better to use male copper adapters. With the difference in expansion of the two metals the FM adapt will more than likely leak in time no matter how tight you screw the joint together. The copper will stretch with the repeated heating/cooling, when confined within a FM fitting a copper male adapter is much less likely to develop a leak. Weil-McLain has install manuals for their water heaters online which are well written and much of the information is fairly universal from one water heater to the next as far as installation goes.

                Weil-McLain literature

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