black nylon braided flex connectors on the water heater

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by foxhome01, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. foxhome01

    foxhome01 New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    North Carolina
    How do I identify this on my water heater? I'm not sure what it looks like.

    Also, is this something that I can easily replace safely?

    This is likely the last option I have to try to fix my black speck problem since I've already tried replacing the anode rod and expansion tank.
  2. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Have you posted pics of the black specks in the other threads you've started¿ Can't remember...
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    They are flexible lines connected to the hot and cold fittings on the top of the heater. They are black!
  4. foxhome01

    foxhome01 New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    North Carolina
    No I haven't but that may be a good idea. The only way I can capture a photo of them is if I take a picture of the inside of the dishwasher or any plastic piece that they have attached to. I'll see if I can get this done.
  5. foxhome01

    foxhome01 New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Any chance you may have a photo or a web link they can send me?
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    How about a picture of your water heater connectors...
    We know what they look like...
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,309
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I would replace those braided hoses with flexible copper lines that are not going to flake. It's simple to do, just turn off the gas or power, turn off the water, open a hot water faucet then open the drain cock on the bottom of the tank and drain a bit of water. Now remove the braided hoses and replace them with the copper flex lines. These come in several lengths, and you will want them not too much longer than the space they will fill. While these lines are flexible, you do want to avoid trying to make major bends as they can kink. :( These lines connect just like a hose and need no tape or sealant, just screw them on and tighten them with a wrench. Turn the water back on and when water comes out of the open hot water faucet, turn it off. Now restore gas or power.
  8. theplumber

    theplumber Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    CA
    Copper flex connectors are better than those braided flex connectors. The braided ones also restrict the volume going in and out of the water heater whereas if you are able to put in the copper flexes w/out kinking they don't restrict volume. There's also a company making stainless steel flexes like the copper ones but they are impossible to kink. How well they last though is an unknown.
  9. Probedude

    Probedude New Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    CA
    Doesn't the convoluted inside of the copper flex connector restrict flow due to causing a lot of turbulence?

    Also, FWIW, the inside diameter of the SS over rubber/teflon hoses I put in a while ago is on par with the copper flex units I've also used in the past. Side by side I'd expect the SS over rubber ones I have to flow more due to the lack of a rippled surface.

    That said, the Rheem supplied heat trap nipples with the rubber flap on the WH I just put in are quite restrictive all by themselves. I believe the inside steps down to about a 3/8" diameter orifice.

    Dave
  10. theplumber

    theplumber Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    CA
    I personally won't use those nipples that rheem provides. I've had several heaters I've had to go back to and pull them out because that little flow ball gets stuck cutting off the hot water flow altogether. I had to double check myself to make sure I didn't put them in upside down and found that I did it right and the flow mechanism failed w/out my help. Now they use those little flaps and I'm just as skeptical of their usefulness as those old balls they used to use. I'd put in a BCV before your shut off vale for the heater before I'd put in the nipples w/ those backflow balls or flaps in them. As far as the plastic lined nipples for WH's they reduce the diameter some but not as much as those braided flex connectors. The copper flexes also don't restrict the volume as much as the braided connectors. You can really see the difference when you have a Price Pfister multi-handled shower valve in the house. A Delta or Moen might not let you see the difference due to their own internal restrictions.

    Also if your pressure regulator fails along the way, the braided hoses will blow out way before a copper flex connector will. The stainless steel ones might provide better flow even but you can never really tell the quality of the "neutral" metal used in them until some time after you put them in.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  11. Probedude

    Probedude New Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    CA
    I've had good luck with the check balls over the years. I think they went with the flaps solely because they're silent. It's odd to be in my garage now and not hear them rattling around when someone is using the hot water.

    I think we're using different flexes. The inside diameter of mine are as large if not larger than the copper flex lines. Having low flow shower heads (So. Cal - we're in a drought AND my water bill is already high), I'm not flow limited by the flex or the 1/2" copper pipe going to my valve. Certainly my flex inside diameter is over 1/2".

    You mean TPV? True, but I think other weaker components will fail first. For reference, I have some SS whips used to interconnect 250cf nitrogen gas cylinders together. They're good for over 3,000 PSI and the inside is nothing but a plastic teflon pipe. Built correctly these flex lines CAN be quite strong. They are certainly more convenient to use.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
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