Water Heater Question

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by dmkraft, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. dmkraft

    dmkraft New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Yesterday my 8 year old 50 gal AO Smith gas water heater began leaking out of the top of the unit around the exhaust flue. My home is also 8 years old, it is a ranch with the heater in the basement. I was surprised at the way it was plumbed. Instead of a drain valve sticking out of the side it instead has a 3/4" copper pipe connected to a tee, one side of the tee goes down and a shutoff valve is mounted. The other side of the tee reduces to 1/2" has a shutoff and goes up to the ceiling and follows the same route as all of the supply lines. They all go thru a finished portion of the basement so I have no way of knowing where this particular line ends. I replaced the water heater and left this line unconnected. I have hot water at all fixtures. My question is what is this line for? Why would the plumber run a line from the drain valve? Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It was the pipe for your "instant hot water" feature. Without that you have to run the water at the faucets longer before the hot water arrives. If it did not have a pump it was probably NOT working properly, if at all, and if it did not have a check valve, then you are better off without the connection.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Actually, the line ran to the tank as hj said, for a recirc return.
  4. dmkraft

    dmkraft New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    So where is the line that is going to the drain valve coming from? It has a shutoff on it, should I cap it? If it isn't doing me any good I would rather not connect it to the new heater. If I connected to the new heater via the drain valve would it have any benefit?
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The line would most likely come from the furthest fixture. Its purpose is to recirculate the hot water back to the tank so that the water in the line is kept hot. It could be done with a pump or using gravity/convection.
  6. dmkraft

    dmkraft New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    It does seem like it takes longer for the hot water to reach the fixtures now. It might just be my imagination. Any advise on whether it is worthwhile hooking up again?

    Thanks for your help.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If it worked without a pump before then it should still work if you hook it up. I am considering putting in a recirc so IMHO, it would be worth it considering most of the heavy lifting has already been done.
  8. dmkraft

    dmkraft New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Is it difficult to remove the drain valve from a Richmond heater? Is it ok to sweat the fittings after the galvanized nipple?
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
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