Low Boy WH Install

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James Roland

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As most of the bids I am receiving are well over $1,500 to replace my current "low boy" 50 gallon heater, I am contemplating buying one (about $659) and installing it myself as I have (what I think) is enough skill to do it. First off, if the images illustrate improper installation, please be aware, this is how it was when I moved in, and NOT anything I did myself!

1. My biggest concern is that the water heater sits on a slab with no drainage in the floor. As you can see, the current set up is using a PEX tube to the washing machine drain in the next room. I have been advised that this is not an ideal situation as that type of tube is not rated to handle those temperatures.

Should I add a drain pan underneath the heater and a traditional straight copper pipe down from the relief valve to the pan? Or is routing out through that PEX tube still a better option?

2. I am thinking of adding (soldering) a 3/4” threaded nipple to the hot water out side for easy addition of new copper flex lines. Anybody see and potential problems with this idea?

3. Anything else I should be aware of for this install? I know to shut off all power to the old heater and drain it, then and fill the new one with water (opening a hot water faucet) before turning the power to the heater back on…

PS: Lastly, what is the large, roundish valve in the cold water line, sitting directly over the heater?

20210804_113748.jpg
 

Dj2

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You say you have bids over $1500, but you don't say what they include.
It's important you correct the deficiencies that exist in the current set up and hopefully, those bids cover them. If you sell the house, you will have too correct them, so why not do the corrections now?
-- The cold water supply line has to have a shut off valve.
-- The T&P drain pipe should be 100% metal (check your local code).
-- The T&P drain pipe should go down from the T&P valve, not up and down.
-- You ask about a pan, which is a good idea if it drains correctly, because you have 50 gallons in your tank. A good drain system is a system that can dispose the water outside the building. It also has to drain down, not up and down.
-- If you live in a city that requires water heater earthquake straps, then you should install them.
I don't understand your question #2, as your water heater already has built in nipples.
Regarding your last question, the picture is pretty dark, and the "large roundish valve" could be a water meter. Take a better picture of it, using more light.
 

Sarg

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Just a couple observations from a novice that has replaced his electric heater a couple times ........
On #1 ---- Looks OK to me. Pex handles normal temps of 130 degrees.
On # 2 - Heaters come with 3/4 nipples for the hot and cold ...... some makers have very short nipples and they should be avoided.
And to note .... the position shown on your heater does not allow for the Anode rod replacement. The anode I suspect is under the plastic cap you see behind the hot water exit line (red) .
And if you plan on ever doing normal maintenance on the heater the plastic drain ( compression valve ) shown on your existing unit should be avoided and/or replaced with a brass 3/4 ball valve to remove the sediment that collects in the tank.
And for the last question ... could there be a recirculating pump or water meter in your system ?
Below is an excellent website that can answer all kinds of questions. It's a large site and a little difficult to navigate but there is tons of info. :
http://waterheatertimer.org/index.html
 

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Terry

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Water meter is above the water heater.

The T&P needs to drain downward, not up. You can't trap a relief line. It daylights six inches above the floor.
The water heater should sit on an insulated pad when over concrete. You might want a pan with a moisture alarm.
If there is a check on the meter, then an expansion tank.
Two straps for the earthquake strapping.
 

James Roland

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You say you have bids over $1500, but you don't say what they include.
It's important you correct the deficiencies that exist in the current set up and hopefully, those bids cover them. If you sell the house, you will have too correct them, so why not do the corrections now?
-- The cold water supply line has to have a shut off valve.
-- The T&P drain pipe should be 100% metal (check your local code).
-- The T&P drain pipe should go down from the T&P valve, not up and down.
-- You ask about a pan, which is a good idea if it drains correctly, because you have 50 gallons in your tank. A good drain system is a system that can dispose the water outside the building. It also has to drain down, not up and down.
-- If you live in a city that requires water heater earthquake straps, then you should install them.
I don't understand your question #2, as your water heater already has built in nipples.
Regarding your last question, the picture is pretty dark, and the "large roundish valve" could be a water meter. Take a better picture of it, using more light.

The quotes are for removal and install, new flex lines and earthquake strapping. These IS a shut off on the cold water side just out of the picture. There is NO drain in the floor and no way to get water outside of the unit other than the washing machine drain in the room next-door (as it is currently configured).

The nipple I was referring to soldering in is at the top of the hot water out line. It is all soldered with no threaded nipple other than the one on the top of the tank. Makes it tough to replace flex lines.
 

James Roland

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Water meter is above the water heater.

The T&P needs to drain downward, not up. You can't trap a relief line. It daylights six inches above the floor.
The water heater should sit on an insulated pad when over concrete. You might want a pan with a moisture alarm.
If there is a check on the meter, then an expansion tank.
Two straps for the earthquake strapping.

Not sure what you mean by: "If there is a check on the meter, then an expansion tank."??
 

Sarg

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If there is a check valve that prevents back flow out of your home back into the public water system then an expansion tank may be needed at your heater.
Any pressure created needs someplace to go ..... that's why many places require an expansion tank.
 

JerryR

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I turned up the lighting for you so we could see the installation better.

0C9A2E4E-E2F9-4E70-BF9C-F8172A9B9FDF.jpeg
 

Glennhvac

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That "Roundish" thing looks like your water meter with a wired outside remote for readings. UNTIL I looked closer and see it piped directly into the tank. It could very well be an automatic water shut off. See where those wires head off to. I bet they get power from someplace and also take off to a sensor
 

Jeff H Young

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Thanks!!!

I'll get some more revealing photo's too!!

Even for $1,500 I'd be careful that this will pass code.
The T and P could be an expensive fix as could the drain pan.
What I found puzzling was the water meter seemingly feeding only the water heater is the cold water free? never saw this before maybe there is a tee on the meter tail piece
 

WorthFlorida

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"........ What I found puzzling was the water meter seemingly feeding only the water heater is the cold water free? never saw this before maybe there is a tee on the meter tail piece

What this picture tells me this WH was part of a remodel. Notice the armor cable has white paint overspray and this closet has unfinished drywall. In no fashion could have the T&P drain would past inspection. Why a water meter, I'm assuming that this building was an old apartment building and converted to a condo, therefore, separate water meters. Since the hot water line goes high on the wall, this probably was a tall closet/WH and a stairway was added because of the angled ceiling. The T&P drain heigh is good for a tall tank.
 

Glennhvac

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Not sure why you are assuming it is a water meter. I thought so too at first but why meter only hot water? That's why I wondered if it may be an automatic shut off but someone else may know better if there are any that look like that. OP is gone so it's a dead thread to me.
 

Reach4

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Not sure why you are assuming it is a water meter. I thought so too at first but why meter only hot water?
Because it looks like one.

As to why, I could speculate as to a reason, but why?

Maybe one of the upcoming photos will tell us more.
 

WorthFlorida

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Not sure why you are assuming it is a water meter. I thought so too at first but why meter only hot water? That's why I wondered if it may be an automatic shut off but someone else may know better if there are any that look like that. OP is gone so it's a dead thread to me.
It's definitely a water meter. The gray wire goes to a remote digital display mounted outside for a meter reader. I had one at my Illinois home.
Here is a water meter with auto shut off, the gray box on the left is the shutoff device.

It could have a auto shut off device out of site: Many condos have auto shut off since a leak can cause major damage to the floors below.

https://waterheroinc.com/p100leakde...MIt8mXmunE8gIVYGpvBB3zqAXgEAQYBiABEgJmUvD_BwE

Screen Shot 2021-08-22 at 10.22.46 AM.jpg
 

Dj2

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I'm with reach4 on this one.
Maybe this was the best spot the plumber had for the water meter.
There are more piped we can't see in this photo.
 

Jeff H Young

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It's definitely a water meter. The gray wire goes to a remote digital display mounted outside for a meter reader. I had one at my Illinois home.
Here is a water meter with auto shut off, the gray box on the left is the shutoff device.

It could have a auto shut off device out of site: Many condos have auto shut off since a leak can cause major damage to the floors below.

https://waterheroinc.com/p100leakdetectionautoshutoff/?utm_source=adwords&utm_campaign=ED+|+Shopping+|+GS-Low-Top+Terms&utm_term=&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_src=g&hsa_grp=49393951126&hsa_kw=&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_ver=3&hsa_acc=7469720082&hsa_ad=242840564316&hsa_mt=&hsa_tgt=pla-398747416763&hsa_cam=1026090614&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIt8mXmunE8gIVYGpvBB3zqAXgEAQYBiABEgJmUvD_BwE

View attachment 76144


I never saw a water meter only for the hot water system as this appears to be? Just some unusual things about this job.
 

Reach4

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I never saw a water meter only for the hot water system as this appears to be? Just some unusual things about this job.
If it turns out the meter is just for hot, imagine a landlord who provides water, but charges extra for hot due to energy costs. Yes, separate utilities would make that not make sense.

Alternatively, imagine a parent who has access to a surplus meter who thinks some kids spend too much time in the shower....
 

Jeff H Young

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If it turns out the meter is just for hot, imagine a landlord who provides water, but charges extra for hot due to energy costs. Yes, separate utilities would make that not make sense.
A creative way to keep wasted water dowI suppose. We have tenant laws here and don't know what they allow. we allow apartments to charge water usage based on how many people live in the unit . curious if op was able to do this job right with the stupid way it was plumbed and no drain
 
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