Quick basic advice on a dripping gas 40-gal hot-water heater

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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 05:29:11 -0800 (PST), N8N wrote:

Hi Nate,
That brings up the first (of many) questions that arose when we replaced our hot water heater (with your help) yesterday ...
1. I agree, while replacing the altruistic anode is a "good thing" ... http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2086/2274079124_f60ec145cf.jpg?v=0
The problem I found is ...
2. Even Superman couldn't would have a tough time removing mine ... http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2033/2274085498_52c3b7d618.jpg?v=0
Given it took a pipe wrench plus a huge cheater bar to remove the anode with the water heater removed and blocked on the ground ... and given that any in-place plumbing and vent ducts would have severely hampered access ... and given that a water heater isn't rigidly "mounted" ... I wonder ...
Can anyone really expect to remove the anode when it needs inspection? Why don't they provide TWO HOLES so you can add a second anode when needed?
Donna http://www.flickr.com/donnaohl
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! Cost 2 How would you know if a new one is needed if you cant get the first one out? 3 That plug would not come out either after years of use
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On Feb 18, 11:58 am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

If you try to remove it next year, you should be able to do it easily. It might be a two person job, but even on my 20-year old old water heater I could do it. I did need an appropriately sized socket (I think 1-1/16" or 1-1/8"? I forget) a heavy 3/4" drive breaker bar and a 36" long "cheater pipe," but it came out. The second person is to hold the tank while you're reefing on it, and it helps to leave the tank mostly full of water to add weight (but make sure that the water is below the level of the T&P valve, so it doesn't shoot out when you finally remove the anode.) I did have some concerns about cracking the bung off the tank, but I figured it was one of those things, if it broke it needed to be replaced anyway. I got lucky and it didn't. A new tank should not have this issue.
Putting some pipe dope or pipe tape on the anode's threads will help keep it from corroding so between that and R&Ring it every year it shouldn't be a major issue. The dope/tape will not cause any problems with nonconductivity, enough of the threads will bite through the dope/ tape to provide a solid electrical connection.

Nope, there are only a couple basic styles. I wouldn't worry about it until it shows signs of getting close to the wire.

yes. There are two considerations - whether you have a hex head or combo style anode and whether or not you have restricted overhead space. If you have enough room to pull the anode completely out without bending it you can use a standard one. If you don't you will need to buy a slightly more expensive segmented one (basically just a standard anode turned down every foot or so to allow it to be bent and straightened) I bought mine from waterheaterrescue.com simply because the only other source I could find for magnesium replacement anodes was direct from Rheem and WHR had a better price.
nate
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 09:18:04 -0800 (PST), N8N wrote:

Good point. We should remove the anode every year so that it *can* be removed when it comes time to replace it with a similarly sized one.
One thing we still need to do is attach the drainage pipe from the Temperature & Pressure valve to near the floor in case of an overflow. http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnaohl/2274211119 /
Is the drain pipe mandatory (can we just leave it off)?
It seems to me a drain pipe *should* be mandatory because you don't want hot water spewing forth at eye level. However, due to configuration changes, even with the taller tank, the old drainage tube is too long and too close to the tank so we can't just screw the old one in. We have to modify it somehow to make it shorter and move it away from the wood base.
QUESTION: How many inches ABOVE the garage floor should it end?
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2030/2273228265_01c9df0f48_m.jpg
If we can end ABOVE the 18 inch wooden platform, that would be easier. If we have to end six or so inches above the garage cement floor, that would necessitate an elbow to get past the wooden base but it seems a horizontal line can clog causing a safety hazard.
I googled but did not find any specs as to HOW MANY INCHES above either the floor or better yet, the wooden platform, that a drain pipe must terminate.
Can someone recommend a solution?
Thanks Donna
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On Feb 18, 11:42�am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

new plastic [pipe and fitting will repace the drain line easily....... no biggie
replace the galvanized all of it before it leaks and causes mold , structural damage or a flood.
it will fix all flow issues and make your home more valuable
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 12:08:17 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

This implies we can't use plastic for the discharge tube: http://www.usinspect.com/WaterHeaters/HWaterTPRVDischargeTube.asp
Here's what it says ... (catch that last counter-intuitive line!)... Donna
A discharge tube is a tube or pipe that is attached to the TPR valve that directs the superheated water down to the floor and away from anyone in the discharge area to prevent scalding or burning.
The pipe itself must be made of a material that is rated for both high temperature and pressure, which includes most rigid wall copper or iron. Also, the size of the pipe must match the opening size of the TPR valve discharge (usually ¾ inch).
The tube must terminate no more than 6 inches from the floor or be directed to the exterior of the home.      If the discharge tube is routed to the exterior, the pipe must discharge 6 to 24 inches from grade, with a downward slope to prevent the pipe from clogging or forming a trap. Blocked discharge tubes will prevent the superheated water from discharging and will burst.
Though counterintuitive, it is often recommended that the discharge tube terminate next to the water heater so that any malfunction of the water heater will be more readily noticed.
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Notice this one says six to twelve inches above the floor: http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/PressureRelief.htm
And, again, note the restrictions on the materials.
The discharge tube overflow pipe "must be made of a material that's rated for both high temperature and pressure. This includes most rigid wall copper, iron and, in most places, chlorinated polyvinylchloride (CPVC plastic not regular PVC) pipe. The pipe size must match the opening size of the TPR valve discharge (usually ¾ inch). It must terminate 6"-12" above the floor, and the end cannot be threaded or have a fitting which permits connecting a plug or cap."
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 16:26:18 +0000, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I can't believe this thread is still going after what three weeks?
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 12:26:44 -0500, Meat Plow wrote:

Hi Meat Plow,
There are more questions now, after having done the job, than there were in the beginning, even though I read a dozen how to's, I posted my step-by-step guide, I read a half-dozen PDFs on specifications, etc.
It seems all the required information is not in any one place (yet).
For example, unanswered questions which remain are:
Q1: Can we terminate the drain pipe above the wooden base (easier) or must we terminate (how many) inches above the cement floor (necessitating a short elbowed horizontal run)? http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnaohl/2274211119 /
Q2: Is it a code requirement to replace the incoming yellow gas lines? http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnaohl/2273276741 /
Q3: Since the old drain valve (predictably) snapped in half (causing most of the installation problems we saw), http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnaohl/2273262535 / and since Sears personnel said the drain valve can not be removed, do you really remove and replace the new drain valve with a brass one (we opted not because the store said it was unremovable)? http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnaohl/2273262545 /
Q5: How *tight* should the earthquake straps be (the originals were loose)? http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnaohl/2273250269 /
Q6: How much space should be left between the walls and the heater? http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnaohl/2275029488 /
Q7: Must we use a sheet-metal screw or is hand tight (it's very tight) good enough for the vent flue? http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnaohl/2274085488 /
Donna
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On Feb 18, 11:55 am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

I think it needs to be *at least* 6 inches above the floor, you don't want it to be too high though in case you are in the room when it goes off. I assume you have a floor drain in this room?

I believe every WH manufacturer recommends replacing the flex line if the heater is replaced (that is if a flex line is used.)

I would. Can you at least look and see if the valve looks like it is a standard 3/4" pipe thread? If so I'd replace it. Like I mentioned earlier, I just used a 3/4" dielectric nipple, a 3/4" NPT ball valve, a 3/4" male NPT to male garden hose adapter, and a brass garden hose cap to make my own drain valves (I actually have three water heaters on my property, two in the house and one in the garage...)
I have yet to see a drain valve for a water heater that didn't screw into the tank with a 3/4" pipe thread. I imagine the Sears rep just told you it wasn't replaceable to keep you from messing with it.

don't know, they apparently aren't required anywhere I've lived.

Your installation instructions should have that info.

I'd screw it together, at least two screws per joint. Before you do that though, check with a match to make sure it's drafting properly - light a match and hold it in the gap between the top of the water heater and the flue vent while the heater is burning. The flame should go straight up or slightly in towards the center of the vent - NEVER away from the center of the vent. If it does it is backdrafting and whatever condition is causing that needs to be corrected.
good luck
nate
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 10:55:41 -0800 (PST), N8N wrote:

Hi Nate, It's a garage that drains down the driveway.
This reference also says "at least" six inches off the floor. http://www.high-performance-hvac.com/heating/hot-water-heaters/hot-water-heater-maintenance-tips.html
This one says "within" six inches of the floor: http://www.friendlyplumber.com/plumbing101/hot_water_heater.html
I'm going to tell Bill to decide to put it at the 18 inch mark above the elevated step; otherwise it would need a horizontal length which would be bad.
Thanks, Donna
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 10:55:41 -0800 (PST), N8N wrote:

Or he didn't know and he was just hazarding a guess disguised as fact.\\ This reference says they can be replaced with a ball valve. http://www.high-performance-hvac.com/heating/hot-water-heaters/hot-water-heater-maintenance-tips.html

THey say six inches but the old one was less than half that.
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I'd guess if you remove and inspect annually, that the threads don't lock up.
Why did you want to remove the anode of the old heater? Just curious?
--
Christopher A. Young
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 14:40:50 -0500, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Better than curious. I wanted to learn if the anode was corroded in which case it was a diagnostic tool as to what caused the failure of the prior tank.
By the way, I found some requirements for the installation of the pressure relief valve plumbing ... which must "not terminate more than 6 inches (152 mm) above the floor". Darn. Now we need to horizontalize it, creating the chance of clog causing further danger to occupants! :(
Donna
http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/4101:3-5-01
504.6 Requirements for discharge piping. The discharge piping serving a pressure relief valve, temperature relief valve or combination thereof shall: 1. Not be directly connected to the drainage system. 2. Discharge through an air gap located in the same room as the water heater. 3. Not be smaller than the diameter of the outlet of the valve served and shall discharge full size to the air gap. 4. Serve a single relief device and shall not connect to piping serving any other relief device or equipment. 5. Discharge to the floor, to an indirect waste receptor or to the outdoors. Where discharging to the outdoors in areas subject to freezing, discharge piping shall be first piped to an indirect waste receptor through an air gap located in a conditioned area. 6. Discharge in a manner that does not cause personal injury or structural damage. 7. Discharge to a termination point that is readily observable by the building occupants. 8. Not be trapped. 9. Be installed so as to flow by gravity. 10. Not terminate more than 6 inches (152 mm) above the floor or waste receptor. 11. Not have a threaded connection at the end of such piping. 12. Not have valves or tee fittings.
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On your new heater, take the anode out and wrap the threads once with teflon tape or anti-seize compound. Much easier to remove the next time; still provides protection too.
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yes it does,,,,,,,,,,,, no metal to metal contact no protection.....
geez i just replace the tank when it fails, it gets me a more efficent unit every 10 years or so.
disturbing the anode and messing with the tank can generate a leak and early tank replacement.........
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 15:31:12 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

In addition to the prior quoted article from Rheem which says to use Teflon tape on the sacrificial anode, these guys on the plumbing forum ran an experiment by wrapping 20 layers of Teflon tape around a threaded coupling and then measuring the electrical resistance: http://www.plbg.com/forum/read.php?1,285316
Here's what they say about it. Donna
"I just put about 20 layers of teflon tape on each end of a nipple and tightened one into female galv an one end into female copper. I then used a multimeter to measure the resistance from one fitting to the other, through the two teflon-tape joints. The resistance was less than a tenth of an ohm (i.e. short circuit).
When I did the same across a dielectric union, I got about 2 mega-ohms (i.e. there's just a tiny bit of conduction through the water, but the metals aren't touching)
So the business about teflon tape being just as good as a dielectric union is complete nonsense. The threads just cut through the teflon. It may work in some cases, but it won't work in others and should not be recommended.
What's amazing to me is that there are all these "old plumbers' tales" out there, so people are arguing about whether brass or teflon or stainless are good or bad. Shouldn't this be scientifically determined? I realize that corrosion happens over many years, but still, there must be ways of measuring corrosion in the lab. It shouldn't be a matter of opinion or first-person stories (anecdotal evidence)."
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says...

Automotive anti-seize compounds should not be used for potable water connections, due to the presence of petroleum distillates and metals such as nickel or molybdenum.
--Gene
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If you are talking about the galvanized nipples with blue plastic flaps that go between the heater at the cold/hot ports, those are thermal breaks - not check valves. They reduce the heat loss from the tank into the pipes when the water is not being used.
A check valve is significantly larger than a nipple and would typically only be be found after the main valve and before the heater.
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On Tue, 19 Feb 2008 07:39:50 -0700, Rick Blaine wrote:

Hi Rick, Oh. That changes things. I'll check with the literature. We thought the hot had a heat check valve inside the nipple. It had a black rubber center which the cold nipple didn't have.
Due to the fact there was little room, and we thought the heat-loss valve was already there, we didn't put in a flap valve and we used a straight stainless steel flexible pipe.
If what you say is correct, then we may need to replace the stainless steel flexible pipe with an S-shaped copper flex tube plus a dialectric union.
One question that still confuses me is the BRASS on the ends of some of the stainless steel and copper pipes. Can we pub BRASS to galvanized or must we alwyas use a dialectric union. (I ask because the stainless steel pipe had brass on the end yet it was advertised for iron to iron).
Donna
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