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Thread: Recommendations for proper way to install expansion tank with new water heater

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  1. #1
    DIY Member DoofusOfTheDay's Avatar
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    Default Recommendations for proper way to install expansion tank with new water heater

    Well, I live in a neighborhood about 15 years old. My next door neighbor's gas water heater just failed, as well as my neighbor across the street. Of course the builder didn't spend the extra nickel to put a pan and drain pipe under water heater so I am scared mine failing and damaging all kinds of stuff I have. I know how to sweat pipes and have actually installed a water heater in my old house, but haven't had to deal with expansion tanks, as they are new code requirement. So, I took a look at how my next door neighbor's water heater was installed by professional plumber. The plumber installed the expansion tank horizontally(tank horizontal attached to vertical pipe) which Watts literature says is okay - http://media.wattswater.com/2915054.pdf but only if you support the tank. He didn't, it is just hanging there screwed into T-fitting. I have 2 options to install expansion tank when I buy new water heater next week. If I install the expansion tank vertically, I would have to extend the cold water supply a few feet on the ceiling, and then drop it straight down and back to the water heater. Would that be the best way to install the expansion tank, or should I just install it horizontally? If I do install it horizontally, what is the proper way to brace the expansion tank, given that the support would have to come from the ceiling? The closest wall is a foot or so away and is concrete that I'd rather not tap into.

    Thanks.
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    Cheers,

    Gregg

  2. #2
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Install it vertically. When installed horizontally and the bladder fails the tank fills with water and becomes to heavy to support itself.

    John

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If you, or anyone else, installs an expansion tank horizontally, it MUST have a support of some kind fastened to the ceiling. The ONLY way to install it safely without a support is hanging downward from the pipe in a vertical orientation. If it is "upward" gravity will still try to break it off once it fills with water.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  4. #4
    DIY Member DoofusOfTheDay's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I had another thought on installing the expansion tank. Is there any reason why I shouldn't install it in the supply line strapped to the ceiling, like just before the elbow that brings the supply line down to the hot water heater? I don't see anything that says how near the water heater the expansion tank needs to be, so if I installed in the supply line on ceiling it would be probably 5-6 feet from the water tank connection.
    Cheers,

    Gregg

  5. #5
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    That is fine as long as it between the valve and the heater. You don't want to be able to isolate the tank from the heater by turning off the valve.

    John

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You could strap it (the easier way normally), or build a shelf to set it on. Water weighs about 8#/gallon, so when it eventually fails, that's probably in the order of 25# or so hanging there. If it is hanging down, you won't spill much when you unscrew it. Sitting horizontal, it will dump some water when you unscrew it.
    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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