durable water heater flex washers

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by charles2, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. charles2

    charles2 New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Georgia
    I've noticed that the rubber washers that come with corrugated water heater supplies deteriorate in just a few years. Are y'all aware of washers that can take the heat for the life of the heater?
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,053
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    When I install a water heater flex, I don't touch it again until I replace the water heater. I've seen them last twenty years.

    Once a flex is removed, you have to throw it away and replace with either a new flex, or at the least, with new rubber washers.
    And I tell my guys the same thing, if you touch it, replace it.
  3. charles2

    charles2 New Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Georgia
    Terry, thanks for your reply. So all rubber washers are basically the same? And do you ever get calls to check anode rods?
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The rubber washers should NOT need replacing during the life of the connector or the heater, whichever fails first. I have never had anyone call to "check" the anode rod, but if it is causing a problem, such as creating smelly water, I remove it.
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Next time in the hardware isle, note the condition of the ends of nipples. Many are sharp as knives, irregular, and certainly not designed as a sealing surface for a washer. They cut the washer and prep it to fail early.

    Then the guy gives it another turn when it leaks, and the the washer is 3/4 cut through.

    These nipples cause the ruin of the washers unless you chuck them in a lathe or sand them flat, or find a good one.

    Anodes are the only thing keeping a water heater alive.

    Good read:

    http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/Longevity/what-kills-water-heaters.html
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    YOU buy your nipples at a hardware store?
  7. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I buy my nipples where they are of good quality, and good price, and supply houses get the same ones without UPC tags, typically.

    The best nipples are schedule 80 pvc and made in USA, and have machined ends that do not eat a washer.

    No one has been able to tell me if they are suitable near a water heater, though one would assume so judging by the drain valve.

    Brass is nice, but nearly all imported, and I find that the threads are way off spec, and often leak.

    lately I have been using stainless steel, which I aquired a few hundred pounds of in an auction. Use tape and dope as they are so hard that they leak without godzilla to tighten.

    Better to go to PEX 100% anyway, and slowly on the way.
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    And by the way, the original poster was a DIY and certainly found them at home debri. Oddly enough, you can find heavy wall US galvanized parts in ace hardwares and true values. Maybe old stock if its an old store - the supply houses around here are often the same price as some small hardware stores anyway.
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I know some of you poo-poo the dielectric nipples which come on the water heater. There are plus and minus.....
    PLUS= the smooth plastic end is gentle on the washers!
    MINUS= I have seen a lot of these nipples with threads cut too long, and the nuts, which are not tapered thread, have trouble getting a bite on the thread.

    The comment about the end of hardware store nipples: that might be true of galvanized nipples, but I see brass nipples made with a little better quality.
  10. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Becareful of chinese brass nipples, many are off spec and can go all the way into a coupler and still wiggle around.
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