C & H lines reversed

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by krustybaguette, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. krustybaguette

    krustybaguette New Member

    My daughter's gas hot water heater was replaced by a professional last fall and today I connected an ice/water supply line for her new refrigerator. Looked at the two water lines on top, one labeled "C" and uninsulated, the other labelled "H" with insulation. So I connected the tap to the "C" but the water that flowed into the refrigerator was hot, not merely warm. I then grabbed the insulated pipe (labeled "H" and it was cold to the touch.

    Called the plumber who installed it and his explanations sounded kind of hokey, including a claim that hot water would be OK with the icemaker. In fact he said hot water freezes faster than cold (Zamboni's lay down hot water on an ice surface, true, but only because that allows the old ice with its chips and cracks to be filled in and produces a smoother surface) Anyway, I went out and got a second tap and installed it on the ACTUAL "C" line, the one labeled "H" and left the other one in place in a closed position.

    Now to the worrisome part. Later my daughter told me he had said back when he installed the heater that all the lines in the hose were "backwards". Funny because they all work as they should, Hot produces hot and cold, cold. I guess everything would be OK except I stumbled across the 37 page thread about Whirlpool Flamelock water heaters. Guess which one my daughter has?:eek: It's been in service for maybe 5 months with no problems but is there anything we can do pro-actively to head off some of the thermocouple, gas valve problems associated with this infamous HW heater?
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Water from a water heater should not be eaten or drunk. It's a health hazard.
    But he is right about water that has been heated at some point freezing sooner. That doesn't remove all the junk in the water though. Don't drink water that has been inside of a water heater.
    An instant hot is okay, those tanks are stainless steel, but not your common tank type water heater.

    A water heater is designed with a "dip tube" that puts the new incoming cold at the bottom of the tank. Heat rises, so the hot water if pulled out of the very top of the tank.
    You can reverse the order, but you won't have as much stored hot water ready to use.

    http://everything2.com/title/Never drink or cook with hot tap water

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    Also note that on some WH, you can relocate the dip tube, so in fact, it may be okay (other than the markings!). You'd possibly do that to minimize reworking all of the supply lines to keep the burner controls facing out, rather than backwards into the wall. You'd have to ask the plumber if he did that, otherwise, you'll end up with effectively a smaller WH because of the way it dilutes the hot water with the incoming supply. There should be a shutoff on the inlet...there could be one on the outlet, but that's not required. that may be one way to tell.
  4. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    northfork, california
    At the risk of offending the boss....

    I can only guess that the idea of not using hot tap water for cooking came from Grandma that had an old heavily lead soldered coil on her iron lined boiler.

    Insides of tanks are glass or epoxy, and obviously rated for potable water.

    The tank may collect sediment, but its exactly what you drink in solution in the cold anyway. So actually if someone is afraid of the calcite sediments on the bottom of the tank, that is only what you DID NOT drink in the hot water, but rather got in your cold water.

    I think the bacteria myth has been proven untrue, as the water heater is a basic pasteurizing device.

    The only thing left is an aluminum anode. In reactive water, one might get more aluminum than desired if he drank hot water full time. But then, he might be heating his pasta in a aluminum pan on the stove and getting a bigger dose anyway.

    I see the tank water heater as a effective settling pond, a water bacteria reducer, and a more efficient heating device than a stove. Then, if you use a magnesium anode, you get a needed mineral added in minute amounts for free.

    Best debunker: the skin is our biggest organ, and a nice soak in that tub absorbs everything from the hot water heater. So if you can't drink it, dont let it it sit around your naked body!
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  5. SacCity

    SacCity In the Trades

    Sacramento, CA
    Is the anode aluminum, I've not changed one in years I had always assumed that they were zinc.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2011
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    For starters, I don't like the taste of the water coming out of my hot taps. The taste on the cold side is better.
    I also don't run my water heater at 140 degrees, so that's an issue too. I am considering running the heater at a higher temp and installing a tempering valve which I can dial down to 120 or less.

    A little information on heating water

    And I repeat, when I put ice cubes in my Margarita, I don't want them to taste like my water heater.
    I still have working taste buds.
  7. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Wet side of Washington State
    I occasionally drink warm water, especially when eating home-made ice cream too rapidly. I've been doing it for most of my life along with sometime using hot water for cooking and all I can say is that I'm still not dead. I DO run my water heater at 140 degrees, though.

    Also, the idea that hot water freezes faster than cold is utter nonsense. It came about in the olden days before frost-free freezer compartments and ice makers in refrigerators. What would happen is that someone would fill a metal ice cube tray with warm water and this heat would cause the ice/frost between the tray and the metal evaporator coil in the freezer compartment to melt thereby giving a more intimate contact between the tray and the freezing coil. It was this intimate contact that allowed the heat in the water to more rapidly transfer to the refrigeration system than a tray of cold water insulated by a layer of frost/ice. Simple heat transfer mechanics!
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