Seeking advice on water heater hoses

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Sluggo, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. Sluggo

    Sluggo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    WA
    I'm hooking up a small tankless water heater to 3/4" copper supply lines and would like advice on the best choice for the flexible 18" connection hoses I'll need. It looks like the most common types are the corrugated copper hoses, the corrugated stainless steel hoses, and the PVC ones covered with stainless braid. Please tell me your preferences on which seem to give the best long-term service, and/or whether you have had bad experiences with any of these. Thanks.
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I prefer the copper flex connectors over the stainless.
    I don't use the braided supply lines for water heaters.
  3. Sluggo

    Sluggo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    WA
    Terry-
    Thanks. Just curious on why you have those preferences.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Just curious on why you have those preferences.

    Experience gained by years of using them.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    hj, that's the perfect answer. :)
  6. Sluggo

    Sluggo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    WA
    Ok...I appreciate that you guys are professionals in plumbing, which is why I asked, but I am still curious about reasons. I've done a little more homework online since I first asked this question, and have read enough horror stories about PVC hoses with braided stainless outer jackets to stay away from them. However, I have read good things about a brand of stainless steel corrugated hoses called Falcon that professionals and homeowners think are great and some professionals prefer them over corrugated copper after installing copper for many years. Falcon is also the only brand I have found with a lifetime warranty and they also make hoses for a lot of industrial applications. Not to be annoying, but any more specific thoughts about this subject, including brands that you particularly trust? Thanks.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The Falcon stainless is harder to seal at the ends.
    I hate those service calls fifteen minutes after I leave a job.
    That never happens with copper.

    Copper costs more. That would be the only reason to use the less expensive stainless in my book. However, I like doing things once, not several times. My time is worth something. And my brain catalogs all the issues I've ever contended with, and I learn from it.
    You only have so much time, and I'm not going to waste it.

    You get what you pay for. :)
  8. Sluggo

    Sluggo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    WA
    Terry-
    Thanks. I appreciate the helpful, added detail. I wasn't looking to save money...just wanted the most reliable choice. Do you have a favorite corrugated copper brand?
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; I hate those service calls fifteen minutes after I leave a job.

    Or as in one situation I had, it was a month later when it started spraying water out of the connection. Corrugated stainless is a bit more flexible, but if you use the stainless by copper ones, other plumbers have had defects where the two metals are joined together.
  10. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    411
    Location:
    California
    The way copper connectors are made, the washer is the only thing you will have to ever replace. They are the only accident proof connectors on the market.

    When installing copper connector, shape it gently and try not to re-shape it again and again. It is softer copper after all.
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I find that the copper bends easier near the nuts for me.
    With Stainless, sometimes the seal doesn't come down flat on the pipe nipple. I have an easier time sealing with the copper corragated flex's
    There is nothing wrong with stainless corragated, you just have to be more carefull with them.
  12. Sluggo

    Sluggo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    WA
    Ok...I went to Home Depot and the all-copper corrugated hoses they carry are a brand called "Homewerks." They look fairly sturdy and are pretty stiff. Any experiences -- good or bad -- with these? If these are not up to snuff, what brand is better that's readily available in the Greater Seattle area? Thanks.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,013
    Location:
    New England
    One thing to keep in mind is that in some parts of the country, they want the thing hard piped...in others, they want it flexible...in others, they accept either. Those in earthquake country typically want flexible ones. First, you need to know what is allowed in your area. Since Terry suggested the flexible copper ones and is in your area, those may not only be required, but the norm for your area. Sometimes, the better choice is a plumbing supply house, and some of them are open on Saturday mornings. You may still only have a selection of one brand, but it is likely to be a higher quality than what you get in a big box store.
  14. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You should be fine with those.
    Seattle, being Earthquake country, is mainly installed using flex connectors, and the tank gets earth quake strapped. we also use flex connectors on the gas lines.

    A lot changed after the big San Francisco quake. There was a lot learned on that one.

    The Seattle fault lineis right along I-90
    Right near where I grew up.
  15. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    557
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    Being an old timey sort of a guy with earthquake heritage I think all flex stink in a quake. The braided ones are garbage and dismiss them from the top. Copper flex are only flex until they become water hard then they are prone to fracture when the world wiggles. The corregated SS flex seem like the right idea, but I haven't seen anyone come out with a solid one. My experience has been in the burbs of LA, post WW2 boom. The houses were plumbed in galvanized. In the Northridge quake our little local family plumbing supply store sold thousands of copper flex lines as replacement. One person came in whose gal solid connection leaked and it was obviously leaking before the earth danced. At times it looked like a religious procession with people walking down the sidewalk holding bad flex in hand like votive candles. Strap the heater and hope for the best, a leak ain't nothing, you just don't want the water heater to leap on the hood of your car or schmuck your mother.
  16. Sluggo

    Sluggo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    WA
    This is for a tankless water heater, so the earthquake issues are not much of a concern. The copper plumbing is on the same wall as the heater and I positioned the water heater connections about 17-1/2 inches above the hot and cold lines, so there isn't even much bending. Just wanted to make sure the 18" hose connectors are good quality so they will be as trouble-free as possible....
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,013
    Location:
    New England
    I'd still probably source them at a plumbing supply store rather than HD, especially a house brand, probably made in China to get the price low.
  18. Sluggo

    Sluggo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    WA
    Thanks for all the input everyone. I know it was a mundane question, but I have a visceral fear of pressurized water leaks...now I'm comfortable. :)
  19. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    411
    Location:
    California
    I survived the Northridge quake as well - with no damages. In fact none of my rentals in the Northridge area had any copper connector snap, break or leak. And no water heater was dislocated in my 22 rentals. Just lucky or good prep?
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