Expansion 90 Question

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Joel, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. Joel

    Joel New Member

    To start I'll admit I really don't know squat about plumbing but I don't feel real confident with what the plumber who just visited my house said. Here's the scenario.
    I've been in my house about 3.5 years. About 6-9 months ago we started getting a drip from a drainage pipe (about 1-2 gallons a day.) Since then it has increased to the point of 10-12 gallons a day. I got tired or emptying the bucket 4 times a day so I finally caved and called a plumber. This morning he said the Expansion 90 valve was bad. He said the options were 1)to replace it (but this would require moving the hot water heater because there was no room to work around it 2) capping it off and installing an expansion tank or 3) capping it off and not putting in an expansion tank. He recommended option 3 and even though I obviously seemed skeptical (because that 10 gallons of drainage had to go somewhere) he stuck by his recommendation.
    His reasoning seemed to be the hot water heater was only 4 years old, prior to 2002 code didn't require it, and our water pressure is only at 40 so the lines can take additional pressure.
    I hope this is enough information to explain what I'm dealing with. My question is does his logic make sense or should I have someone else come out to take a look and replace the Expansion 90/install an expansion tank.
    I'm on city water if that's relevant. Thanks for any feedback.
  2. I'm assuming that this expansion 90 valve is a bypass valve built into a ball valve that is serving the cold water inlet to the water heater, which also has a hard copper tube going to a drain?


    If so, sounds like the spring assembly is gunked up similar to a T&P valve on a water heater. My plumbing supply house tried to get me to buy those instead of expansion tanks and I opted to keep the Expansion Tanks.

    They are by far a better way to control thermal expansion even though they have a life of only 4 to 8 years most times.

    I'd get another plumber to examine your situation. If I've correctly diagnosed the product you have, replacement of that device would probably lead to it doing the same thing again. The expansion tank wouldn't allow any loss of water over the course of it's wear life.

    Just only when the tank thins out and starts leaking. But when that happens you'll be replacing that within days, not months.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2007
  3. Joel

    Joel New Member

    The picture you attached isn't what it looked like, but I don't know if that matters. The valve he removed actually came off of the pipe that goes to the outside spigot. It branch off right before the pipe exited the closet in the garage where the hot hater heater is. The valve basically just came out 6 inched lower than the outside spigot. It also didn;t have a know or handle to turn it off. It has a short extension that looks like the rest of the pipe, but it rotates. It says Watta Regulator CC across the top with numbers ranging from 50 to 175 on it. Excue me if this is irrelevant - like I said you're dealing with a plumbing idiot here.

    I agree with having someone else come out and look, but let me ask you. Since right now I have neither a expansion tank or the Expansion 90 on it - what's the time frame I need to get this dome by? What can happen if it's left alone.

  4. The good thing you have in your favor is the low water pressure, that helps. I would take care of it sooner than later, especially with the fact that the last one was doing something in regards to removing thermal expansion buildup.

    I'll try taking a look see on watts website again regarding the numbered device you speak of. I'm sure I've seen it before, just can't figure it :confused: out right now.

    Here's some great information in relation to thermal expansion

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2007
  5. Joel

    Joel New Member

    Thanks alot Rugged. I saw the device I was talking about on the watts website (530). I'll call someone else and have them install the expansion tank - unfortunately for me I'm not handy enough to do it myself.

    I appreciate all the help. Here's hoping I don't have any problems before they make it back here.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    I have no idea what an "expansion 90 ell" is, nor have I ever heard of one. If it is a pressure relief valve, then it is just duplicating one half of the safety valve on the water heater. We would have to know why this thing is leaking, and some more information about your system, before we could make a good diagnosis, but I might not want that plumber coming back to give any more advice.
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