Advice needed on updating hot water heater lines.

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Austin83, May 17, 2011.

  1. Austin83

    Austin83 New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Texas
    Pictures below) I recently found a hole in the drain pan under my hot water heater. My hot water heater has rigid copper piping for the water lines which would seem to make it difficult to disconnect and allow me to lift the hot water heater to put the new pan under it. Some friends suggested to cut the existing copper tubing add in the corrugated flexible copper tubing with compression connections. I also know I need to add a shut off valve. There are limited locations on the rigid copper lines for me to cut and try a compression fitting due to slight kinks/crimps in the existing tubing which would make it difficult to get a good seal with the compression fittings. Plus, my lines are only about 17.5 inches from the wall to the heater with a gentle curve, I'm afraid that the 12-18" flexible copper sections would be too long and require some nasty bends to make the connection with the cut locations I have, and I don't know how I would tie in a shut off valve with the limited space. Should I just heat up the existing soldered connection and remove the copper piping there in order to maximize my space? Would the two inches of copper piping coming out of the wall be enough to use a compression fitting? What precautions should I take when using a torch that close to a wall? I have never worked with copper tubing so any help or advice is greatly appreciated. I hate to call a plumber for something this silly, but I'm open to suggestions. Thanks in advance.

    austin83_wh2.jpg

    austin83_wh.jpg


    Austin
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2011
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would solder on a shutoff, and two male adapters. Then use 24" flex connectors with the 3/4" threaded ends.
  3. Austin83

    Austin83 New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Texas
    Heat up and Remove the existing soldered connection and start there?
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Sure, that would work.
    Is that 1/2" copper tubing? or 3/4"?
    I can't tell by the picture. How old is that heater? You can tell by the serial number.
  5. Austin83

    Austin83 New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Texas
    3/4", It is 12 years old.
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,386
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I suppose you know the heater is on borrowed time. That really doesn't affect what you want to do now, however. When replacement time comes, the flex copper lines should always be replaced when the heater is replaced. Don't try to save a buck and reuse them.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You have plenty of room to solder neat the wall. I would not try to 'splice in' to the soft copper sections. Use a heat mat and/or cool gel on the wall.
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,386
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    If the pipes coming out of the wall are not perfectly round, compression fittings may be a problem. I would opt of sweat a male adapters then screw on a ball valve followed by the flex copper to the tank. As Jimbo notes, use protection. I have had good success with cutting and flatting a #10 can then notching it to slip over the pipe between the wall and joint. Remember, to keep a spray bottle of water handy just in case things get a bit too hot.
  9. Austin83

    Austin83 New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks everyone, I'll sweat the male connections on there and go from there. Thanks again!
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