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Thread: Water Heater Connectors Leaking

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member jasonbaur's Avatar
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    Default Water Heater Connectors Leaking

    Hello, I recently installed a Rheem 50 gallon gas water heater , I used the existing copper connectors but replaced the plastic o rings/seals & Teflon tape on the threads however I am getting small droplets every 30-40 minutes sometimes longer when no water is been used within the house. I have them about as tight as they will go so I'm thinking of replacing the pipes but I have no idea how to bend them the the way they are currently. The shut off valve to the house is also leaking its the circular turn knob type, I was wondering if there's a way to fix that or does it have to be replaced. I have posted a link below with some pictures, any advice or suggestions would be appreciated

    Thanks

    http://img607.imageshack.us/slidesho...111310001u.jpg
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    Last edited by Terry; 11-15-2010 at 01:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Remove all of the Teflon Tape for starters.

    And then either replace the rubber seals, or throw out the old flexes and start over.
    We always throw out the old flex and use new ones. Or guess what, you have dripping flex connections. Just not worth rusting the top of your tank for what the flexes cost.

    Teflon Tape interferes with the seal. It has to go.
    Last edited by Terry; 11-15-2010 at 10:43 AM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    On the shutoff, if you tighten the packing nut slightly, you can probably stop it from leaking around the stem. This is the nut the stem fits through under the handle. You often don't need much rotation to stop a drip, and if you get it too tight, you won't be able to turn the handle.
    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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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Tighten the nut on the valve. The one leaking at the pipe on the hot side, usually means the end of the galvanized nipple is rusted and too rough to seal properly. The one on the cold which is leaking at the top of the nut, usually means the connector itself is bad and has to be replaced. You do NOT have any "difficult" bends to make as long as you get new supply lines the same length as the ones you have now. However, we NEVER reuse the supply lines when we replace heaters, especially when they are "nut by nut" ones which are not soldered in.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I'm not a plumber, but where I am at least, plumber always install new copper flex when installing a new water heater. If it was my project, I replace the flex. The only thing you have to be careful about in bending them to shape is to use gentle bends.

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    In the Trades Jerome2877's Avatar
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    The problem is more than likely the galvanized nipples being coroded, but I would replace the flex lines as well anyway with braided lines. Copper and galvanized shouldn't be directly connected as they cause corrosion. Switching to the braided lines and replacing the short nipples should solve the problem.

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    DIY Junior Member jasonbaur's Avatar
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    I do want to replace those supply lines but for the life of me when I tried bending the new supply lines the copper kinked horribly and closed the passage way. I bought this exact pipe link below. I tried bending it ever so gently and even used objects that were circuluar to help assist but with no luck, and I did purchase some flex line ones but they werent flexible enough and also kinked, all I can think of is those lines were bent after they were heated maybe with a propane torch and bent into shape as there not to flexible anymore.

    Last edited by jasonbaur; 11-15-2010 at 01:16 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member jasonbaur's Avatar
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    When you say braided you mean like this (picture below) I purhcased this kit and tried to use them but they would kink also when doing the bends I need.


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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    use the copper flex, connect one end first, then holding onto the end, the part with the nut, pull it over to the pipe on the heater. It will naturally bend easier that way and without kinking. There, I just gave away a plumbers secret again.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member jasonbaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    use the copper flex, connect one end first, then holding onto the end, the part with the nut, pull it over to the pipe on the heater. It will naturally bend easier that way and without kinking. There, I just gave away a plumbers secret again.
    Thanks for the tip I did try this maybe I just purchased a bad brand (watts) with some cheap copper or something.



    Here are some pictures I took of the supply lines I bought and tried to use with no luck.

    http://img691.imageshack.us/slidesho...d=60910712.jpg

    Last edited by jasonbaur; 11-15-2010 at 01:35 PM.

  11. #11
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The more copper is bent, the stiffer it gets. You really only have one shot at it.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member jasonbaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    The more copper is bent, the stiffer it gets. You really only have one shot at it.
    Gotcha, ok well I will purchase new lines tomorrow (different brand) and try again.

    Sigh I have another problem I think, my wife was cleaning out the trash cans under the sink in the bathroom and she noticed water and well sure enough now that's leaking. To make a long story short I think I know why this happened I think it all comes down to a bad water pressure regulator valve.

    (back story)
    I replaced a toilet with a pressure assist system maybe 2 months ago and I decided that the water pressure (50psi) was to low so I raised it after watching a few videos how to (80psi) after a few weeks washing machine overflowed it couldn't stop itself i figured **** I better lower that back down so I went to (65psi) well the damage had already been done the next day I saw my water heater had started to leak from the tank itself on the bottom so I replaced it with the new one you see now. And now sure enough I tested the water pressure and it starts at (65psi) just like I set it from last time but it slowly climbs after around 15-20 minutes it raises to around (75psi) so I figure the regulator is bad and needs to be changed. How hard of a job is that to do with galvanized pipes would I need any special tools etc? Here is a picture of the current regulator below.


    Last edited by jasonbaur; 11-15-2010 at 02:44 PM.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If you have the PRV, then the water heater needs an expansion tank.

    Though, if the PRV is older then ten years, it could need a rebuild or replacement. I would add the expansion tank first, and then see how it is working. Right now, everytime the water is heated, it's raising the water pressure.
    Last edited by Terry; 11-15-2010 at 04:40 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member jasonbaur's Avatar
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    Ah, hmm well I am not sure if this matters but I had tested the pressure from a valve after the pressure regulator, so I would think no matter how much pressure is pushing through (130psi from the street) the regulator would handle it, its rated to (300psi) on the label. I think its from 1989 when our first water heater blew up because we didn't have a regulator I think sears installed that one. Concerning the expansion tank is that really needed? I am only using the water heater at 120 degrees default by all standards I had read but not certain. The PRV is the pressure relief valve? shouldn't that release some water if there is to much pressure/heat, as of yet it hasn't.

    Just trying to understand how this all works I am very new at this been reading as much as I can.
    Last edited by jasonbaur; 11-15-2010 at 03:28 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A PRV acts like a one-way valve. WHen you use a lot of hot water, then heat it, it expands. This will raise the internal house water pressure until you use a little, or it leaks out because of the higher pressure. A closed system like yours needs an expansion tank or you are stressing things. The Watts site has a calculator to determine the size needed. It uses the incoming water temp, the tank setting, and the size, along with how many feet of pipe.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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