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Thread: Expansion tank neccessary - required?

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    Default Expansion tank neccessary - required?

    My husband just replaced a leaking water heater that was installed in Duvall, WA (King County) in the late 90s. There was no expansion tank.
    Do we need one now or does a "Grandfather clause" apply (because the house was built in 1984 when it was not code to have one)? Also do we really have to buy a permit ($64) to be able to install it ourselves or would not having it void our home owners insurance? (Well, he just did - without the permit and he did install one in Woodinville in June, with the expansion tank because it had one before). We bought a 12 year Whirlpool water heater, if that makes a difference.

  2. #2
    Radon Contractor and Water Treatment 99k's Avatar
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    Well if you bought a 12 yo heater it sounds like money is tight. If you have a well and there already is a pressure tank, and you don't have any check valve in between this well tank and the hot water tank, then you should be fine to operate without the expansion tank. I would recommended that you spend a few bucks and replace the existing TNP valve on the used tank for safety reasons.

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    TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP MACPLUMB 777's Avatar
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    Exclamation Expansion tank neccessary -- required yes ! ! !

    There is no such thing as a grandfather cause applied to change outs of plumbing fixtures ! ! !

    That only applies to existing water heaters or fixtures

    the reason for the permit is to make sure it was installed correctly and safely

    just because he can connect the pipes back the way they came apart ! ! !

    Whenever you change out a water heater it has to conform to todays code

    and that "might" include a thermal expansion tank and a earthquake strap

    not one in effect in 1920's or 1984 thats what the plumbing inspector checks

    for to make sure your family is safe and do'es not end up on the 6:00 news
    headlines just google water heater explosions or carbon monoxide to see
    Last edited by MACPLUMB 777; 07-22-2009 at 11:43 AM.

    MACPLUMB 777

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    TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP MACPLUMB 777's Avatar
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    Exclamation Expansion tank neccessary -- required yes ! ! !

    Part #2

    as far as the whirlpool water heater scroll this site to the whirlpool flamelock

    and check out all the posts on lowes and whirlpool water heaters ! ! !

    By the way i am under contract with american to provide warranty

    service on their products
    Last edited by MACPLUMB 777; 07-22-2009 at 10:13 AM.

    MACPLUMB 777

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    35 YEAR MASTER PLUMBER, HEATING, ELECTRIC, DRAINS, FIRE SPRINKLERS, WATER HEATER
    AND BOILERS SINCE JAN, 1989

    281-706-1631 7 DYS A WEEK SALES AND TECH. SUPPORT
    Trojan Worldwide Web Site


     



  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default expansion tank

    IF you need an expansion tank, then it makes no difference whether the code specifies it or not, you should install it. The tank is needed for proper operation of the plumbing system, not to provide the city with extra income from a permit.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Much has been written on this forum about thermal expansion tanks. It would be worth your while to go back in the archives and review at least some of them. The bottom line is, if you have a closed system, you need an expansion tank. If you do not have a closed system you do not. The wisdom of obtaining permits has been well covered. The Whirlpool heater will not change the need for an expansion tank, but you did purchase what is probably the worst heater on the market.

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99k View Post
    Well if you bought a 12 yo heater it sounds like money is tight. If you have a well and there already is a pressure tank, and you don't have any check valve in between this well tank and the hot water tank, then you should be fine to operate without the expansion tank. I would recommended that you spend a few bucks and replace the existing TNP valve on the used tank for safety reasons.
    I think she meant 12year warrenty...

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member flex's Avatar
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    hey guy's i have a fil-trol expansion tank i installed today and in now getting heat in the upper half of the house. on their are two like gate valves when they are open it lets off the over flow and water goes everywhere. what did i do wrong.
    thanks

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm missing something, but your question makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

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    DIY Junior Member flex's Avatar
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    English is my second language do these valves need to open. and the check valve that's on there now is from the old tank. i think that might be a source of the problem. I really don't know what I'm doing.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default valves

    IF you "don't know what you are doing", why are you working on the system? If a "little knowledge is a dangerous thing", think about what happens with NO knowledge. The bottom valve looks like it goes into the automatic fill valve, and the upper one is a "fast fill" bypass. IF this is correct, the bottom one is ALWAYS open and the top one is CLOSED, except after draining ths system if you want to refill it quickly.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I still don't know what you have done. I think you should get professional help, but really installing the thermal expansion tank is fairly straight forward. It goes in the cold water supply line between the pressure regulator valve and the water heater. One simple fitting is spliced into the supply line and the expansion tank screws into that fitting. The sole purpose of the tank is to provide a place for expanded water which is created when the water heater heats water. Without the tank, the temperature/pressure valve on the water heater will release this expansion to prevent the water heater from exploding. It does not provide heat to anything. As HJ suggests, if you don't know what your are doing, you could be creating a real dangerous condition. Get help.

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Does your boiler system have a pressure gauge? What does it say? Is this a boiler for heat or for domestic hot water? If it is a boiler for heat, and you have, as HJ suggested, a valve that provides full potable water pressure, there could be a pressure relief valve that is opening as a result, since a boiler doesn't normally run at more than one atmosphere or so.

    Can't really tell from the pics you provided what's what.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    No Gary, you missed nothing, the original question makes no sense at all.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriele View Post
    My husband just replaced a leaking water heater that was installed in Duvall, WA (King County) in the late 90s. There was no expansion tank.
    Do we need one now or does a "Grandfather clause" apply (because the house was built in 1984 when it was not code to have one)? Also do we really have to buy a permit ($64) to be able to install it ourselves or would not having it void our home owners insurance? (Well, he just did - without the permit and he did install one in Woodinville in June, with the expansion tank because it had one before). We bought a 12 year Whirlpool water heater, if that makes a difference.
    Hi,

    My township just starting making it necessary for everyone to install an expansion tank when we go to replace the water heater someday.

    I sell real estate and have heard many people refer to a grandfather clause, but when I checked with our township it does not apply to the expansion tanks.

    An example it would apply in our township would be if you wanted to replace or rebuild a barn, it would have to be out of RD2 wood, meet some other specs and then, it can be built in the same place instead of meeting the new codes where it would have to be so many feet away from the road.

    If you need the expansion tank, you need to get it installed.

    I realize this work has already been done and you are just checking to see, kind of, after-the-fact; that is fine, I have done the same thing, too at times.

    About the permit, in my township, we need the permit. In my township, we are allowed to do our own plumbing and we can also, pull a permit. In some townships and in some states, it can differ. For instance, in Massachusetts, a DIYer cannot do their own plumbing or pull a permit.

    Either way, as in anything in life, it is better to err on the side of caution, if you are uncertain in what you need to know and hire someone to do the work.

    I hope everything is fixed for you and thank you for posting.

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