Water Heater Connections

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James Samuel

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This is my first post. I've been reading this forum for several years and am thoroughly impressed with the knowledge available on here. My house was built in 1987. I've owned it for five years now. The water heater was replaced in 2011. I have never paid any attention to my water heater until last weekend when I replaced the line to the icemaker as part of a kitchen renovation. The outlet is directly connected to polybutylene as you can see in the picture. The inlet is PEX with a tee that connects to polybutylene that connects to copper that goes in the wall. The relief valve is connected to polybutylene and connects to copper that goes into the wall. There is a copper line that comes from the wall with a valve that is near the tank drain. The valve was closed. I opened it and no water came out. I think this is connected to the relief valve. I want to replace the polybutylene. On the outlet side I can sweat a threaded fitting onto the existing copper pipe and connect a corrugated copper hose. The inlet and relief connect that branches off to the wall are in tight quarters behind the water heater. I think I can heat up the existing copper elbows and remove them. Then sweat on a new elbow with copper stub ups that gives me room to work. Any thoughts? What corrugated copper lines do you recommend?

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Reach4

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You want a shut off valve feeding the WH.

Press copper fittings are popular, and they even have hand tools that are not that expensive -- under $200. That avoids the danger of fire when attaching copper near walls. I have never tried press, myself.

T&P output is supposed to be 3/4 the whole way.

That valve near the floor may have been for discharging from the drain valve. It also could have been part of a recirculation system that has been deactivated.

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Plumbin...EnrichedProductInfo/Ntt-corrugated+3/4?NCNI-5 are corrugated stainless steel. Falcon makes some premium corrugated stainless that maintain the 3/4 inch ID.
 

James Samuel

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You want a shut off valve feeding the WH.

Press copper fittings are popular, and they even have hand tools that are not that expensive -- under $200. That avoids the danger of fire when attaching copper near walls. I have never tried press, myself.

T&P output is supposed to be 3/4 the whole way.

That valve near the floor may have been for discharging from the drain valve. It also could have been part of a recirculation system that has been deactivated.

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Plumbing-Water-Heaters-Water-Heater-Parts-Water-Heater-Supply-Lines/N-5yc1vZckrc/Ntk-EnrichedProductInfo/Ntt-corrugated+3/4?NCNI-5 are corrugated stainless steel. Falcon makes some premium corrugated stainless that maintain the 3/4 inch ID.

Thanks. There is a shutoff valve feeding the water heater it is hard to see. It is an old multi turn valve that I will replace with a 1/4 turn ball valve.
 

James Samuel

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Update the pressure relief valve is 1/2” and terminates on the side of the house. The water heater is in the garage just reroute with 3/4” and let it flow onto the garage floor?

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John Gayewski

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I'm relatively sure you had at one time, or at least the house had, a dedicated recirculating line. I think if I already had a relief strain piped outside I would just up size it to the correct size and keep it running outside, but it's fine to dump on the floor if you want. Just run it so that I'd it's spraying out, toy can get to the water heater and not get scalded.

How many fixtures are served by this water heater?
 

John Gayewski

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Wow, 11 fixtures that need hot water, with one half inch line? If iui t worked before it was because of the recirc.
 

jadnashua

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Among other requirements, the outlet from the T&P valve is not supposed to have any restrictions in it, so dropping it down to 1/2" should have caused it to fail any inspection. In a worst case scenario, that outlet could be steam and/or scalding hot water, so location can be important to. If it could freeze up and end up blocking the line from a slow seep, should it ever flash to steam, it could launch the WH up through the roof and down the block! Water to steam expands over 500x the liquid water volume...a huge force.
 

James Samuel

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Funny this is there is a home inspection sticker on the side of the water heater from when we bought the house five years ago. Luckily here in Florida we don’t have to worry about pipes freezing. The current 1/2” line is in the wall and I don’t feel like ripping out drywall to upsize along the existing route. I have a plan to reroute the T&P using 3/4 copper along the front of the garage and drill a hole in the exterior block wall. That should pass inspection and not get water all over the garage floor should the T&P valve open up.
 

WorthFlorida

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James, when your home was built, having a recirculation piping to a heat exchanger on the air conditioning liquid line side was very common. I had a home built in 1990 that had one. It tapped off the cold inlet side, went to the heat exchanger mounted outside next to the high pressure liquid line side and then pumped back to the WH drain. I suspect your label "drain pipe?" was from. The exchanger fixture was no bigger than a shoe box and the exchanger with a pump was no bigger than a frozen orange juice can. Amazingly they worked quite well. As AC units became more efficient and the scroll compressors became the standard, many AC techs disconnected the system or when the water heater was replaced. This heat exchanger changed the pressure readings where it felt it might affect the new AC unit. I disconnected mine when I realized the pump was no longer working. My home was in Palm Beach County.

For a while some were marketing a device that went inside the WH at the T&P fitting. It was connected directly to the liquid line side. Problem was expensive, only an AC tech can install and if you needed to replace the WH, more expense. It never really took off in sales.
 

James Samuel

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Thanks for the info. Interesting to know. Eventually I might pull the drywall on the other side of the heater and remove the lines. I have too many projects going on right now.
 
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