Electric Water Heater Maintenance

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Bubba wrote:

I thought that the expansion tank was only required *if* you had a BFP installed... (of course, my understanding is that most PRVs are also BFPs...) I have neither and have not noticed problems, although my pressure does run a little high. Makes for an awesome shower, even all the way up on the second floor...
Now I do have lots of water hammer, despite the original plumber putting in air traps at most (all?) points of use (just capped pieces of pipe.) Do the new sealed cartridge things really work better than the old school way? If so, I might have to start using those whenever I rework a connection.
nate
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please explain how lower pressures use less water??
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On Sun, 15 Feb 2009 06:52:14 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

How do lower pressures use less water? Im going to guess you are trolling because that is very elementary. If you still cant figure it out I suggest you google it. Bubba
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do tell more, how much water you use depends on how much you need.
it might shorten fill time of a dishwasher, etc but your bathtub still holds only so much, as do most appliances in your home.
harder flow at a sink may result in less water use, since the force may clean better
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I'm guessing a shower is where the higher pressure would really show up. However I find that a shower feels best to me with a "low flow" shower head but higher pressure than it does with a regular head and low pressure (as in a motel)
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

it feels best to me with high pressure AND a regular head. If i want lo-flo, i'll turn it down. thank you very much. piss on a bunch of lo-flow shit devices.
s
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Think water fountain.
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HeyBub wrote:

to stand there and drink longer. no water savings. actually probably more waste 'cause 100% of the flow does not go in your mouth. So the longer it takes, the more down the drain.
s
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Yes, you are correct. My mistake

Im sorry to say but if you didnt replace that cheap plastic drain valve then you likely got nothing out of the water heater except water. The clearance between that washer and its seat is very very small. Thus the need for a full port valve. In regards to removing the plastic valve, most of the time they crack off. Just grab it with channel locks at the base, rock it back and forth a bit if you can to get it loose but most of the time they just break. Dont worry. Its only plastic. It will come out. The 1/4 turn valve (ball valve) is 3/4" IPT (iron pipe thread). It has female threads at both ends. Install a short nipple (die-electric) in the tank first, then the ball valve, then a 3/4 MPT (male pipe thread) to hose adapter. Bubba
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Bubba wrote:

Makes sense. I wonder how the manufacturers get away with that.

So are you saying that if it breaks off, I should still be able to get the rest of the plastic pipe out of the threaded part of the water heater? Man, if I break it off and can't get the right one in there, I'm out of hot water until I get a new water heater or a plumber! Just looking for some reassurance here.
Is this what the replacement valve should look like?
http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/images/SetupBallValve.jpg
I'm going over to Lowe's tomorrow to see if they have what I need. If I recall correctly, I may be able to remove the lower heating element to see inside the tank to see if there is crud.
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Yes, its only plastic. A screwdriver or whatever and a little picking at it and you will get it out. They are usually brittle since they have been exposed to heat for a long time.

Make sure you have a new o-ring or gasket or whatever that particular element uses to reseal it. Bubba
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I replace the drain valves on install of a new water heater, The plastic ones may last the life of the water heater if you never use the valve but if you flush it regularly if will only last a few years, Its a heck of a lot eadier to replace it on a new heater while the tank is empty than after its full of water and the plastic is old and brittle. This also gives you a chance to install the valve at a handy place, mine is at about knee level. You are more likely to do that annual flush if its easy to do.
Jimmie
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On Sun, 15 Feb 2009 16:50:47 -0800 (PST), JIMMIE

Knee level? So you piped the valve from the floor up to the height of your knees or you raised the entire water heater up that high? Otherwise, your "crud' isnt going to flush UP and OUT too easily. Bubba
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mcp6453 wrote:

Most people use the valve exactly once, to drain the tank when they replace it. Sadly the concept of "maintenance" just does not occur to most people. Thus very few complaints about the lack of a sturdy valve...

http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/OrderPages/XCart/Sediment-Control-Flush-Kit.html
This is exactly what your valve should look like when it is assembled. On my (gas) water heater I needed to add a coupling and a short brass nipple between the dielectric nipple and the ball valve to clear the gas valve/burner assembly, but you said you have an electric, so that should be all you need. While you're shopping pick up some teflon tape or pipe dope if you don't have any laying around.

Probably not necessary, but can't hurt. If it seals with an O-ring or gasket you may wish to pick up a replacement.
If you are going to Lowe's and don't have a good flashlight, their 3W 2-C cell LED "Task Force" flashlight is excellent, compact, and cheap, I have two. (I mention this because Lowe's is not at all convenient to me, and I went out of my way to get those flashlights. A good flashlight is key if you expect to see anything inside the tank. You still may not see anything...)
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/OrderPages/XCart/Sediment-Control-Flush-Kit.html

Why would I want a curved dip tube? To be able to get it into the tank with a low clearance?
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The curve exists at the bottom of the tube to create a whirlpool effect when the water enters the tank. The theory is that the movement of water will stir up any crud, leep it suspended in the water and eventually get drawn out of the tank.
I've never seen any controlled evidence that this does any good or even works, but it doesn't do any harm and it makes for nice marketing.
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wrote:

Personally, *any* water inlet will cut thru crud in a particular path. Straight down and there is a crater with the crud at the periphery, a bent tube you get a channel. I could be all wet but unless there's a spray at the top and even that will have some sort of regular pattern at the bottom.
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Yep, it's more marketing than anything else... There won't ever be a spray at the top of the tank - that's where the hot water is drawn from and the whole reason for the dip tube. Better to just draw off the water from the flush valve every 6-12 months.
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mcp6453 wrote:

That's something unique to that web site, and their theory is that the curved tube allows you to flush more completely. I wouldn't worry about that part of your existing heater unless you determine that a) it's worth reworking as the tank is still sound and b) you have an unusual amount of sediment build up.
I've never seen them anywhere else but that web site; I'm guessing that they've found a type of commercially available dip tube that made of a type of plastic that can be bent when heated and will re-set when cooled, and they just bend 'em themselves.
nate
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I removed the bottom element on mine and with a small light to look inside I could see there was considerable amount of crud. I had a small wet/dry vac with about a 1 1/5 inch vac hose and sucked the crud out. After I got the majority of the crud with the vacuum, the rest flushed easily out with water. Steve
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