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Thread: Water heater copper pipe corrosion

  1. #1

    Default Water heater copper pipe corrosion

    I've found a few threads with similar photos, but the answer seems to be different in cases that look the same to me. I'm a complete plumbing novice.

    Can anyone tell me what would cause this corrosion? The installer insists that it was properly installed (though he won't send someone out to check) and claims that it's a leak. (that mysteriously appeared after the install because the pipes were fine with the old water heater)





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  2. #2
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Ignore me, because I am not an expert, and I am sure experts will chime in later.

    I do not like the look of that saddle valve above your shut-off valve. That looks as though it is/was leaking.

    And while your electrician was right to jumper your water heater (with the copper wire) the clamps he used do not appear to be copper or brass or bronze. If they are steel they will react with the copper pipe.

    And I wonder if your dielectric union on the cold supply became faulty?

    And where is that flue going? (unrelated to your problem). Is it allowed to do that someone? And it should be screwed to the vent hood.

    Your pics should generate a lot of responses.
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 05-06-2008 at 09:03 AM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Gills View Post
    Ignore me, because I am not an expert.

    The plumbers installation from what I see was probably OK.

    However, I do not like the look of that saddle valve above your shut-off valve. I assume that was there before he fitted the heater. That looks as though it is/was leaking.

    And while your electrician was right to jumper your water heater (with the copper wire) the clamps he used do not appear to be copper or brass or bronze. If they are steel they will react with the copper pipe. Again I assume the plumber did not do that.

    And I wonder if your dielectric union on the cold supply became faulty?

    And where is that flue going? (unrelated to your problem).
    The plumber did install the jumper. I have no idea where the flue goes :/ I think he might have installed that valve also.

  4. #4
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    He surely did not install the small corroded valve above the blue valve and the jumper because it does not appear to be connected to anything. Let's wait for the pros.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    You should give the local plumbing inspector a call. It is not a saddle valve leak those are ground wires. The leak is in the joint that the plumber did not solder correctly and the water heater may be corroded very badly because of it... This Bozo needs to come back and fix his pig slop plumbing!

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Gosh, Redwood! Do you have to be so diplomatic? Can't you just come out with it and tell it like it is? Geezh, I had pussyfooting around!

  7. #7
    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
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    From all the corrosion I am going to guess moisture and condensing.

    1. I am guessing that it's the cold line going to the hot water heater.
    2. it's in an area that has moisture or a leak.

    I would use some white vinegar or LCR cleaner to clean all the pipes.

    Then coat all the pipes in something to keep the whole area from rusting
    like Oil, grease, petroleum jelly, tape, or paint.

    It's hard to tell where to start until it's cleaned. Once cleaned it will be easier to see where the corrosion starts again.
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

  8. #8
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I see the whole problem as a leaking joint at the 3/4 X 1/2 coupling. If its fixed right away that water heater may last! Its well on its way to being junk! Nothing to do with condensation! I was wrong there is a saddle valve above the ground clamp but its not the problem see how every thing above the reducer is clean with no corrosion. While doing the install he should have gotten rid of the saddle valve... Just laziness is all I see.

    I would not only go back to check my work but if it looked that bad I would do some major sucking up!

    Sorry I'm no diplomat! Can you tell!
    Last edited by Redwood; 05-06-2008 at 06:37 PM.

  9. #9
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    The saddle valve is leaking...possibly due to a slow leak and the steel bracket and copper contacting each other causing the problem. The 1/2 X 3/4 coupling appears to be leaking also. There may be other problems that show up / are found after this is corrected and cleaned up.

    There appears to be a T where there once may have been an expansion tank...do you have a check valve and or pressure reducing valve on the system?
    Last edited by Cass; 05-07-2008 at 04:31 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Are water heater flues allowed to join furnace flues like that?

    It's a neat solution if they are, but it looks too simple to me. Surely if both devices are working this could risk CO escaping from the WH?

    Comments please.

  11. #11

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    I agree with redwood. It looks like you have a leak at the 1/2 x 3/4 " coupling. although the saddle valve looks pretty bad too. I would cut the pipe just about the saddle valve and install a 1/2" x 3/4" coupling and then a ball valve then remove the union and redo it. How long ago was that water heater installed?

  12. #12

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    Oh, yea, and it doesn't look like the plumber put screws in the flue pipe to connect it to the hood.

  13. #13
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    And it looks like that might be a black iron plug in that tee too.

    Mighty ugly install any way about it!

    Everytime I look at it the thing looks uglier!

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