Replacing the hot water heater...are flexible connectors any good, and
if so which are the best? The EPA recommends a "heat trap" for in and
out going water; a flexible connector, basically, with a u-bend. Is
this a good idea? The local plumbing supply store guys scoff at
anything but sweat fitting and straight copper pipes. Also, how would
I know there's any problems with water pressure? About nine years
ago, I was talked into installing a pressure regulator, and I've had
nothing but trouble since. I don't have overly high (city) water
pressure; never had trouble before with anything. The house was built
in 1989. Why shouldn't I just take it out, and that way I don't have
to install an expansion tank? Any ideas, Joe?
Sure, they're good. They make for very easy installation.
Hmm. I though heat traps were valves to prevent convection losses. Sorry,
though, I don't have any information on them.
Why would you care if there's a problem with the water pressure? There's
nothing you can do about it.
Flexible connectors to water heater are usually only allowed in
earthquake zones. Check with your local building inspectors to see if
they'll allow them. If they do, you want the corrugated copper lines,
not the rubber/stainless steel variety.
If you've had trouble with high water pressure, it's a real good idea
to install an expansion tank on the cold side of the water heater. In
fact, they're always a good idea since they cut down on stress to the
sides of the tank.
As for heat traps, check with the new water heater. Most models
include them from the factory. That's how they can squeak out a higher
No idea, but I used screw-on flex connectors and they work fine. Make sure
they have a plastic liner in them (it's part of the unit), this prevents the
steel tank from contacting the brass or copper of the flex connector. Same
function as a dielectric union. I used the screw-on kind, just sweated some
threaded fittings on to the copper pipe. This way I don't need the torch
when it comes time to replace the heater.
Yes, my heater doesn't seem to fire as often because the hot water stays in
the tank. Traps also make insulated pipes pretty much unnecessary. But if
you try & bend these "flexible" connectors, you will soon find out they are
not very flexible. I soldered some copper pipe in a loop for this purpose,
then used the flex connectors to hook up to the heater.
Maybe the pressure regulating valve is not adjusted right. 50-75 psi at a
faucet is the range I was told. Get a pressure gauge at the local hardware
Thermal expansion tanks are like insurance policies...useless until
the tipping point in the system is passed, then a $$ saver. You can't
prevent municipal bureaucrats from modifying water systems with
antibackflow valves or other EPA mandated gadgets which will affect
your water system. So a 2 gallon expansion tank at around $100 makes
sound economic sense. The alternative would be a capped and vented
standpipe tall enough to allow equilibrium with local water pressure.
Of course, the neighbors might not like a 100' tall (or more) pipe
poking up in the yard. Even disguised with vines or dressed up as a
cell tower it couldn't pass most building codes. Oh well...
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