NG water heater supply connections

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by jm66208, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. jm66208

    jm66208 New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    KC
    Been reading up on this trying to find out what method is most current. Current (failing) water heater has dielectric unions between galvanized nipples on tank and copper water lines. New water heater (American standard) has plastic lined galvanized nipples. Old dielectric unions look fine, but I'd rather not re-use them. Counter guy at supply house said "everyone's usin' the sharkbite braided SS lines. Quick & easy". I'd rather use a solid connection. Should I remove the plastic lined nipples & use a brass nipple, or just use the factory installed nipple & screw my FIP copper adapter directly to it? I've done a few in the past this way and have not had any problems. Thanks!

    PS. 16 y/o water heater is rusted and leaking where the brass drain screws into the side of the tank. Coincidence, or is something to be said about the use of brass nipples as a dielectric? :confused:

    sb.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,279
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    coincidence. There are several possible ways to make the connection, but even with the "dielectric' nipples" on the tank, (which are mostly cosmetic anyway), I would use a dielectric connector of some kind, if for no other reason than that they are usually easier to install. One plumber friend of mine uses that Sharkbite supply all the time, and I NEVER do, so it is a matter of what you are most comfortable ith.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, depending on where you live, some places require rigid connections to the WH, and some require flexible ones. It may also tie into whether you are required earthquake straps or not, but then some places don't care and you can use either one.

    Where I live, you are also required a tempering valve and a vacuum breaker, so it's good to know your local codes if you don't want hassles.
  4. jm66208

    jm66208 New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    KC
    Midwest here, so no earthquakes. We are pretty much behind the times here, no TV's or VB's required. It's the dielectric component that is see opinions all over the board on. If I use the Sharkbite SS adaptor as pictured above, I'll be "just like everyone else" ,and I guess that makes it OK.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,790
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It's just old. If it wasnt' leaking there, it could have started somewhere else.

    I"m not a fan of the braided water heater supplies. I typically use the copper flex for mine. I find that the stainless flex are harder to seal than the copper flex.

    So that's braided flex
    Copper flex
    Stainless flex
    and rigid copper.
    That's four ways it can be done.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,279
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Four materials and several different connecting methods create a large variety of possibilities.
  7. jm66208

    jm66208 New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    KC
    When you say "copper flex", are you referring to the corrugated copper lines? If so, how do you handle the dielectric connection?
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,790
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington


    It's built into the flex where the nut is. There is a plastic sleeve.

    Most water heater nipples come with a plastic liner though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Two different brands, but both have the plastic sleeves. One is obvious, the other isn't.
    Though the nipples on the Rheem heaters are lined anyway.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,279
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Counter guy at supply house said "everyone's usin' the sharkbite braided SS lines. Quick & easy".

    Isn't "everyone's doing it" what you told your mother when you wanted to do something crazy?
    The corrugated stainless steel connectors also have a dielectric function in the connection nuts.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  10. jm66208

    jm66208 New Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    KC
    Ended up using Dielectric unions & hard copper. Thanks for all the help!
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