Re: Plumbing water heater risk in Bellevue
Posted by Terry Love on January 16, 19101 at 01:22:08:
In response to Re: Plumbing water heater risk in Bellevue

The City of Bellevue, located in Washington State insisted that relief valves were not needed on water heaters, but instead insisted that they be put on the cold water side of the system. Of course, if you turn the cold supply off to the water heater, it can explode and land a block away on someone else's house.
Now they make a big deal whenever a plumber replaces a water heater in Bellevue, insisting that whoever replaces it, bring things up to the correct understanding of the plumbing code, and by the way, what has always been proper plumbing code and is a part of the water heater instructions that they came with.

Expansion tanks are a new item that have just recently has been added to homes. As utility departments try to reduce cross contamination by adding check valves, they have created tighter plumbing systems in the homes, creating water hammer and extra pressure on the welds of water heaters. As the pressure builds, it will flex the inner tube on a gas water heater. The expansion tank is a nice add-on, which has an added benefit of creating more volume in the piping system, which means less pressure drop when a fixture is used.

The use of check valves to reduce cross contamination is a good thing for everyone. Where countries maintain clean and safe water, everyone benefits. It does cost a bit more, but we value life more than they do elsewhere. Terry

: Connecting to a public water supply is only safe if the risk of thermal expansion is known and judged to be acceptable to the homeowner. If homeowners aren't warned by the local government how to deal with it, they are very likely to incur harm UNNECESSARILY. How can you say the local municipality doesn't have to take responsibility for not warning their customers of a danger they are aware of probably happening!

: : On your claim: The municipality would never take this responsibility, as (1) they don't have to, since this kind of due diligence is always the legal responsibility of the property owner and installer, and (2) it would open the floodgates for similar claims in other subcode areas in addition to plumbing issues.
: : On the relief valve: It is very unlikely that the P/T relief valve was "gunked up", since it is installed at the top of the tank and is not subject to filling with sediment (which is why it is installed where it is). It is not unheard of for one to fail, but it is fairly rare.

: : : "The lack of a expansion tank would not cause the failure of the previous tank."

: : : Thanks for responding to my post. I understand that the lack of an expansion tank wouldn't cause the failure of my previous tank unless the pressure relief valve was not working (it could have been gunked up due to well water. Our well water was always gunking up our washing machine cold water line). There was water in the catch pan but water was never observed coming from the relief valve. The water heater REP authorized the replacement of my failed hot water heater under warranty.

: : : "The temperature/pressure relief valve would have relieved the temperature build up before failure occurred." Right, unless the relief valve wasn't working.

: : : "If you replaced the water heater because of a relief valve discharge without checking for a bad tank, then that is your problem."

: : : We had a hot water heater REP check and he authorized that the tank be replaced.

: : : "But in any case, the municipality will not accept responsibility. They even mark blueprints that they approve that the installing contractor will be responsible for any errors they make in approving the plans."

: : : I was hoping that because the plumbing inspector is suppose to interpret regulations and codes to property owners and assist them in meeting established standards that the local government would cough up reimbursement for labor to install my new tank. Also, The thermal expansion could have been eliminated at a cost in money that I was willing to incur if I had know the facts and was given the choice. In other words, the local government (plumbing office) was aware of the possible thermal expansion problem their water customers could occur hooking up to their sealed system but they didn't tell me. You still think I don't have a good claim?

: : : "And if you are like a lot of customers, if someone had told you that you needed an additional item that you had not needed previously, you might have refused believing that they were just trying to increase their income." I would have verified with the plumbing inspection office that a tank was needed.

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