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Thread: heat trap question

  1. #1

    Question heat trap question

    This forum supports using the "U" piping for a heat trap to keep hot water from migrating. I understand today's tanks are delivered with heat trap nipples, something Terry and others do not like as they can cause problems. I also believe I heard that if you remove the heat trap nipples from the delivered tank that can cause the plastic to melt at the entrance where the pipes are attached.

    In summary, can the heat trap nipples be removed on the tank delivered, and replaced by the "U" piping? Or just leave things alone as delivered and forget the "U"?

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    Most manufacturers will only recommend removal by a licensed plumber for warranty purposes. They can, however be removed and replaced with plastic lined galvanized nipples that are available at some big box stores and plumbing supply retailers. Some plumbers will even use brass nipples. I think there may be some confusion about the melting you mentioned. Melting of the plastic insert of the nipple, and potentially the dip tube of the tank, typically comes from soldering the copper fittings after connecting them to the nipples. It's always recommended to pre-solder the copper female/male adapter on to a piece of pipe approx. 16" long and allowing it to cool before threading it on to the supply nipples on the tank.
    Regardless of the type of nipple used, remember to get some dielectric unions to reduce corrosion to the nipple-to-tank connection.
    I prefer piping the heat trap instead of relying on the nipples as even manufacturers will admit to the noise they cause. If possible, I pipe 12" vertical up, 12" horizontal then 12" vertical down. Adding insulation is a bonus.
    Last edited by Caduceus; 10-17-2013 at 04:13 PM.

  3. #3

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    You wrote: "I prefer piping the heat trap instead of relying on the nipples as even manufacturers will admit to the noise they cause."

    Are you saying - use the U piping heat trap, and remove the nipples because they can make noise?

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by netmouse View Post
    You wrote: "I prefer piping the heat trap instead of relying on the nipples as even manufacturers will admit to the noise they cause."

    Are you saying - use the U piping heat trap, and remove the nipples because they can make noise?
    Yes. They are well known for causing a mysterious vibration sound in the pipes which can be mistaken for a bad PRV, loose washer in a valve or even a siphoning ballcock assembly. Here is a piece of text copied from the Bradford White website:

    "From time to time there have been reports of these heat traps being noisy. This is usually caused by the pressure of the incoming water causing the balls to vibrate as the water velocity rushes around them. Most people tolerate the noise when they realize the heat traps translate to dollar savings on the electric or gas bill. Heat traps are estimated to reduce heat loss by as much as 12%. If the noise cannot be tolerated, the cold inlet/dip tube and hot outlet/anode heat trap assemblies can be removed and replaced with assemblies that do not have heat traps."

  5. #5

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    Thank you! Very helpful.

  6. #6

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    I read the Bradford White text and it ends with this, " Removal of the heat traps, (or the balls in the heat traps) is not recommended by Bradford White, and is not covered under the provisions of our warranty. Please consult a Plumbing Professional for assistance."

    Maybe best to leave heat traps in place unless there is a problem that cannot be tolerated.

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