Water Heater Heat Trap

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Brandon Kelling

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Recently re-did the plumbing on my hot water heater because it was done with pex all the way to the nipple and that is a code violation. In doing this changeout I could not get the new compression type fittings to make a good seal with the plastic heat trap inside the pipes. They were causing a drip on both sides....after removing them the compression fitting made a good seal.... Will this be okay ? Picture below

wh.jpg
 

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The fitting removed is designed to prevent standby heat loss. Theoretically that device prevents the heat stored in the tank from conducting up through your metallic flex tubes and into the wall where it releases that energy... You should be able to feel each of those tubes and they will be warm all the way to the wall. Simply creating a loop where the tube rises then dips back down, such as creating a full circle prevents that heat from getting past the top of the loop.
 

Brandon Kelling

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The fitting removed is designed to prevent standby heat loss. Theoretically that device prevents the heat stored in the tank from conducting up through your metallic flex tubes and into the wall where it releases that energy... You should be able to feel each of those tubes and they will be warm all the way to the wall. Simply creating a loop where the tube rises then dips back down, such as creating a full circle prevents that heat from getting past the top of the loop.
thanks for the help with this and for the fast reply; would you be worried about the fact that i went to a compression fitting ? There was a pipe thread fitting there before...
 

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OK.. I can't see any detail in the photo so I assumed you meant threaded fittings when you wrote compression. What style of compression fittings? Both ends of the flex are compression or is it threaded/union at the water heater and compression at the wall side?

Any type of compression fitting on a plastic tubing but especially PEX since it is very soft, requires the use of a stiffener that inserts into the tube. The stiffener sandwiches the tube against the compression fitting and won't allow it to eventually collapse and leak/fail.
 

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Jeff H Young

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We use that style connector about 90 percent or better here . but its not perfect and is a weak link to some degree. but virtually every new home has similar connection on the water heater side the PEX crimp not always
 

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We use that style connector about 90 percent or better here . but its not perfect and is a weak link to some degree. but virtually every new home has similar connection on the water heater side the PEX crimp not always
Awesome thanks for that makes me feel so much better ! all is well; bought a wireless WIFI leak detector and put it in the pan as well
 

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I've never used that, but seems legit. I like mine to have threads at both ends but a crimp fitting is fine too.
 

Reach4

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My concern was before i replaced the hoses they were pipe threaded connections making the seal but now they are a gasket mating to the nipple face with threads holding it down.
I would very lightly lube the gasket and threads before tightening. I would use silicone grease such as
https://www.danco.com/product/0-5-oz-silicone-faucet-grease/

The lube on the rubber helps it flow into place better. The lube on the threads give more tightening with a given amount of wrench force. I am not a pro. The lube is not generally needed, but I think is the better way.
 

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water flexes aren't the best connection available

Right?! I've really never put that much thought into this but Its like they purposefully have 1 or 2 too few straight threads in the nut to grab onto the tapered threads on the heater... There really should be straight threads on a heater hot and cold nipples
 

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That would be problematic for the situation in another recent thread, where using brass 90s on the nipples was the obvious solution.

Cheers, Wayne
Yes.. So we have straight to tapered adapters, like a union that we use on many other plumbing fittings.

As it is now, water heater flex nuts are barely holding on. If you tighten them Juuuuust a bit too far, the thread skips.. could be poorly made nuts. But I think its straight cut nuts threaded onto tapered nipples.. not a great combo.
 
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