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Thread: outlet leak on new water heater

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member sproksch's Avatar
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    Question outlet leak on new water heater

    hello,

    Just installed a new ordinary electric water heater yesterday. Everything seems to work ok, except I have a very small droplet of water that forms at the base of the outlet heat trap (photo attached). What could be the problem? How should I diagnose it?

    This is my first water heater install - I read up alot and I feel like I did everything by the book: I bought a pair of heat traps, spread pipe joint compound over the threads and installed them into the water heater. I created the connector by sweating a female threaded connector to my copper pipe, then installed it onto the heat trap. I cranked it down pretty well - is it possible to over-tighten these connections? Did I miss something in the install?

    Any advice would be appreciated - I would like to know what to do to diagnose before cutting into my pipe. I feel like some plumber's putty could do the trick, but if I messed up something on the install, I suppose better to figure it out now.

    Thanks much!

    Steve
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  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    You're going to have to cut the riser and use a coupling... clean the threads and crank it down a tiny bit more so long as the threads aren't damaged at all.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member sproksch's Avatar
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    Thanks - I'll give it a try! I thought I cranked it down pretty hard, but I'll try again.

    Steve

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    FWIW, Plumber's Putty is a clay like product that is used to set sink drains. The product that is used on pipe threads is Pipe Dope. This is a gooey substance that is just brushed over the threads. I prefer this to Teflon tape, although some folks prefer the tape and some use dope over the tape. Dope can be a bit messy, tape is neat, but sometimes a bit tricky to wrap. Comes down to personal preference.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member sproksch's Avatar
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    Thanks much! I originally used pipe dope on the threads and after I looked, each connection had a tiny droplet of water that would form. I just finished re-doing everything, this time with the teflon tape, and that seems to have done the trick! I'm not sure where I got the idea to use pipe dope - my plumbing book says to use Teflon tape for water heater fittings. Whatever the case, problem solved!

  6. #6
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    You can use either or both.

    Both is always a safe bet.
    I'm glad it's fixed now. Cool.

    Edited after Gary's post. Either meaning pipe dope or Teflon tape.

    No plumbers putty. I forgot that Gary mentioned not to use putty, and he's right. No putty.
    Last edited by Terry; 04-19-2011 at 08:13 PM.

  7. #7
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    My point was that there is a difference in plumbers putty you were thinking of using in your original post, and pipe dope. I doubt if the original leak was due to using pipe dope, most likely you just didn't tighten enough. Glad the problem is fixed.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I ALWAYS use pipe dope, and NEVER use Teflon tape, so your leaks were NOT caused by the type of sealant you used. You either did not apply it properly, or did not tighten the nipples adequately. As a side note, I also never use those "dielectric" nipples unless they come with the heater, since I would NEVER spend the money to buy them. They are "cosmetic" so buying them is wasting your money.

  9. #9
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    3/4" pipe fittings require a pretty good amount of torque....if you were using a small wrench, it may just not have been tight enough. This is not an exact science, but looking at the number of threads exposed, I might have opined you need one more turn.

  10. #10
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Flex lines would have made your repair much easier, and the romex would like to be in flex also....

  11. #11
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Ballvalve makes an excellent point. Some places require the flex connectors, other prohibit them...go figure. But, they sure do make connecting the water lines easy. My gas heater doesn't use much Romex, but a flex line would likely be good to use also.

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