Flexible connectors for hot water heater

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?
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Corrugated stainless steel connectors are the best, such as these: <http://www.falconstainless.com/

Yes, this is a good idea.
Cheers, Wayne
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ConnetiCat wrote:

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.
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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 efficiency rating.

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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 store.
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i've never seen any flex tubes that don't have a sever restriction in them. I go straight in with male adaptors. Perhaps a union if you want to get fancy.
s

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On Sat, 31 May 2008 10:17:20 -0700 (PDT), ConnetiCat

Then the city would probably stick a backflow preventer in at your meter and you'd be right back where you started needing an expansion tank. Just put one in and avoid the hastle.
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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...
Joe
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