Expansion tank neccessary - required?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Gabriele, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Gabriele

    Gabriele New Member

    Messages:
    1
    My husband just replaced a leaking water heater that was installed in Duvall, WA (King County) in the late 90s. There was no expansion tank.
    Do we need one now or does a "Grandfather clause" apply (because the house was built in 1984 when it was not code to have one)? Also do we really have to buy a permit ($64) to be able to install it ourselves or would not having it void our home owners insurance? (Well, he just did - without the permit and he did install one in Woodinville in June, with the expansion tank because it had one before). We bought a 12 year Whirlpool water heater, if that makes a difference.
  2. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Well if you bought a 12 yo heater it sounds like money is tight. If you have a well and there already is a pressure tank, and you don't have any check valve in between this well tank and the hot water tank, then you should be fine to operate without the expansion tank. I would recommended that you spend a few bucks and replace the existing TNP valve on the used tank for safety reasons.
  3. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Expansion tank neccessary -- required yes ! ! !

    There is no such thing as a grandfather cause applied to change outs of plumbing fixtures ! ! !

    That only applies to existing water heaters or fixtures

    the reason for the permit is to make sure it was installed correctly and safely

    just because he can connect the pipes back the way they came apart ! ! !

    Whenever you change out a water heater it has to conform to todays code

    and that "might" include a thermal expansion tank and a earthquake strap

    not one in effect in 1920's or 1984 thats what the plumbing inspector checks

    for to make sure your family is safe and do'es not end up on the 6:00 news
    headlines just google water heater explosions or carbon monoxide to see
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  4. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Expansion tank neccessary -- required yes ! ! !

    Part #2

    as far as the whirlpool water heater scroll this site to the whirlpool flamelock

    and check out all the posts on lowes and whirlpool water heaters ! ! !

    By the way i am under contract with american to provide warranty

    service on their products
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    expansion tank

    IF you need an expansion tank, then it makes no difference whether the code specifies it or not, you should install it. The tank is needed for proper operation of the plumbing system, not to provide the city with extra income from a permit.
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Much has been written on this forum about thermal expansion tanks. It would be worth your while to go back in the archives and review at least some of them. The bottom line is, if you have a closed system, you need an expansion tank. If you do not have a closed system you do not. The wisdom of obtaining permits has been well covered. The Whirlpool heater will not change the need for an expansion tank, but you did purchase what is probably the worst heater on the market.
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I think she meant 12year warrenty...
  8. flex

    flex New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    ohio
    hey guy's i have a fil-trol expansion tank i installed today and in now getting heat in the upper half of the house. on their are two like gate valves when they are open it lets off the over flow and water goes everywhere. what did i do wrong.
    thanks:(
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Maybe I'm missing something, but your question makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.:confused:
  10. flex

    flex New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    ohio
    English is my second language :eek: do these valves need to open. and the check valve that's on there now is from the old tank. i think that might be a source of the problem. I really don't know what I'm doing.

    Attached Files:

  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valves

    IF you "don't know what you are doing", why are you working on the system? If a "little knowledge is a dangerous thing", think about what happens with NO knowledge. The bottom valve looks like it goes into the automatic fill valve, and the upper one is a "fast fill" bypass. IF this is correct, the bottom one is ALWAYS open and the top one is CLOSED, except after draining ths system if you want to refill it quickly.
  12. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I still don't know what you have done. I think you should get professional help, but really installing the thermal expansion tank is fairly straight forward. It goes in the cold water supply line between the pressure regulator valve and the water heater. One simple fitting is spliced into the supply line and the expansion tank screws into that fitting. The sole purpose of the tank is to provide a place for expanded water which is created when the water heater heats water. Without the tank, the temperature/pressure valve on the water heater will release this expansion to prevent the water heater from exploding. It does not provide heat to anything. As HJ suggests, if you don't know what your are doing, you could be creating a real dangerous condition. Get help.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    Does your boiler system have a pressure gauge? What does it say? Is this a boiler for heat or for domestic hot water? If it is a boiler for heat, and you have, as HJ suggested, a valve that provides full potable water pressure, there could be a pressure relief valve that is opening as a result, since a boiler doesn't normally run at more than one atmosphere or so.

    Can't really tell from the pics you provided what's what.
  14. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    No Gary, you missed nothing, the original question makes no sense at all.
  15. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    Hi,

    My township just starting making it necessary for everyone to install an expansion tank when we go to replace the water heater someday.

    I sell real estate and have heard many people refer to a grandfather clause, but when I checked with our township it does not apply to the expansion tanks.

    An example it would apply in our township would be if you wanted to replace or rebuild a barn, it would have to be out of RD2 wood, meet some other specs and then, it can be built in the same place instead of meeting the new codes where it would have to be so many feet away from the road.

    If you need the expansion tank, you need to get it installed.

    I realize this work has already been done and you are just checking to see, kind of, after-the-fact; that is fine, I have done the same thing, too at times.

    About the permit, in my township, we need the permit. In my township, we are allowed to do our own plumbing and we can also, pull a permit. In some townships and in some states, it can differ. For instance, in Massachusetts, a DIYer cannot do their own plumbing or pull a permit.

    Either way, as in anything in life, it is better to err on the side of caution, if you are uncertain in what you need to know and hire someone to do the work.

    I hope everything is fixed for you and thank you for posting.
  16. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    What we have here is two separate questions and two separate answers. For the guy with the water heater. Yes, you need an expansion tank.

    For the guy with the boiler. The upper valve is a bypass and if you leave it open you will get water everywhere. Close it. The bottom valve needs to be open.
  17. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    In general, "grandfather" clauses when something like the plumbing or electrical code changes, apply ONLY to existing, unchanged or modified situations. When you change it or replace it, all new codes apply. Many times, jurisdictions require certain things to be brought to current code at the time of sale of the property. Some common examples are requiring all 1.6 gpf toilets, earthquake straps on WH, safetybeam controls on automatic garage door, etc. And then the ubiquitous home inspector will flag other items, which will not mandated by law....if you want to close the deal, you have to play ball.

    PERMITS: MANDATORY virtually anywhere, for any electrical or plumbing beyond very minor repairs, even if you do the work yourself. Again, this will come back to bite you in the butt big time later.
  18. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    And, I believe that if an unsafe or unsanitary condition exists the code inspector can make you fix it, regardless of how long it's been that way. With plumbing the goal is to protect eh health and safety of everyone, not just the homeowner.
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