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Old 03-16-2013, 04:47 PM   #1
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


I am replacing my natural gas hot water heater and someone mentioned that my gate valve on the cold water inlet is not up to code and needs to be replaced with a ball valve. Located in NJ. Does anyone know if that is something in the code. The manufacturers instructions don't reference anything about a ball valve versus a gate valve.

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Old 03-16-2013, 05:05 PM   #2
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


I know that if for some reason you need to stop the water going into the water heater the ball valve is quick and easy in that it moves 90degrees and the water is stopped vs. the gate valve in that you are turning and turning and turning and turning and turning and turning and Maybe the gate is going down to stop the water or trying to turn the wheel is so hard you are looking for a breaker bar or large pliers to move the wheel and all the while there is water flowing....

There might be a code, but I would look at it in How Fast and Sure do you wish to turn off the water in "Turn the Water Off Now?"

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Old 03-16-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


Agreed I would rather not mess with a gate valve in an emergency. I did find the code reference from the 2009 National Standard Plumbing Code and it looks like a gate valve is fine.

10.12.7 Water Heating Equipment Valve

A shutoff valve shall be provided in the cold water supply to each water heater. If a shutoff valve is also pro-
vided in the hot water supply from the heater, it shall not isolate any safety devices from the heater or storage
tank. Shutoff valves for water heaters shall be the gate, ball, plug, or butterfly type.
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:44 PM   #4
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


A gate will work but why would you want one? They almost never fully shut off after a few years, the shafts sometime wring off inside the valve, takes far longer to shut off.

No way would I be installing a gate valve for any reason.
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


I don't want a gate valve -- but do I have an existing gate valve installed. Totally agree a ball valve is preferred. I just don't like when someone comes in and starts saying it is code to have a ball valve versus a gate vale and they won't install the water heater unless you write a check on the spot for an additional $85 due to the code requirements for a ball valve. Now if someone wants to come in and say hey why don't you get rid of that gate valve because a ball valve is far superior I am okay with that discussion.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:17 PM   #6
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


Whenever we install a new water heater we include a new Ball valve in the quote, or its included in the price. in more cases then not if you give a homeowner a choice that includes addition dollars they will usallay say no the old one is fine, or why do i need to change it, its worked fine, until usually in the near future it ether leaks or will not close or the pin spline breaks inside in most cases in the closed position, then its the plumbers fault for not replacing it, funny how most home owner forget you gave them the option at that time. and as for code certain gate valves are not permitted on a water heater or main water supply. their are valves that look like gate valves but are not. depending on how much you pay for the install 85 bucks seem to be a reasonable price.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:18 PM   #7
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


I do not know your code, I am not even sure a valve is required by code.
If I had the chance to replace it and now is the time. I would not even hesitate switching to a ball valve.

I do think whoever said gate will not pass code is full of crap, you need to research your local codes to confirm that.
And remember that codes are only written and changed/modified because they found the old ways simply do not work.
A gate valve will easily fall into this category. I just do not know if it is actually code.
You should see some of the new insulation codes they passed here in ABQ that are impossible to reach, took them a year to redact them.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:59 PM   #8
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


Gate valves are prone to failure. Whoever recommended to change it out will be doing you a service in the long run.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:13 PM   #9
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostmaker View Post
Gate valves are prone to failure. Whoever recommended to change it out will be doing you a service in the long run.
This wasn't a recommendation or an option provided on the quote. This was a first minute on site we need to replace the gate valve with a ball valve as that is the "code" and it won't pass inspection. They indicated that they wouldn't be able to complete the installation without me providing the additional $85 up front due to the "code" issue. Yes $85 is a reasonable price to install a ball valve. Yes getting rid of the gate valve and replacing it with a ball valve is a good idea.

So yes -- the answer is right -- but for the wrong reason.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:56 PM   #10
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


You are arguing principal, and I completely agree with you. Saying that its code to have a ball valve when a gate valve is acceptable is BS. Now, to common sense. It is just plain common sense to replace the transition fitting, the pipe up to, and the valve, and the flexible gas line to the heater when putting in a new water heater.

To me, this is as automatic as replacing both left and right rotors, calipers, and pads when doing front brakes. I guess this is the benefit of doing your own work. You can afford to do it right.

$85 dollars is a lot of money for a $7 dollar valve to me, but I do understand the cost of labor.

I really like the poster who said that they automatically include a ball valve in the installation. I am sure he includes the other things I noted above. He does it right. I would use that as a sales tool if someone asks you why your price is more.

"Because we do it right the first time" is a hell of a sales tool.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:45 AM   #11
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


Quote:
Originally Posted by clydesdale View Post
This wasn't a recommendation or an option provided on the quote. This was a first minute on site we need to replace the gate valve with a ball valve as that is the "code" and it won't pass inspection. They indicated that they wouldn't be able to complete the installation without me providing the additional $85 up front due to the "code" issue. Yes $85 is a reasonable price to install a ball valve. Yes getting rid of the gate valve and replacing it with a ball valve is a good idea.

So yes -- the answer is right -- but for the wrong reason.
It is not required by the IPC actually a gate valve on a new installation meets the code as long as the valve used is a full open valve. That would be a gate valve or a ball type valve. So your plumbers reasoning if he is following the IPC is wrong. If he was just trying to give you a better job he was right. Gate valves are prone to failure as they age.

I also wish to point out that if your plumber did pull a permit and charged you for it you will have an inspector come look at it. If the plumber charged you for a permit and no one from the local authority looks at it you may have given him a little bonus money. In 99% of the inspected area Hot water tank installs require a permit. That means an inspector will come and look at the installed tank. In my 9 years as a plumbing inspector we have heard about various installers charging for permits and pocketing the money.

Last edited by Ghostmaker; 03-17-2013 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:39 AM   #12
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


You keep sh$@#ing on the plumber saying its not to code and it needs to be replace,, he just may be full of it or he just might know something you dont, look at the valves in this picture, note the gate and the globe valve, the globe valve looks like a gate valve, but you can not use it on a water heater. i have seen globe and gate valves that look almost identical. this valve is not to code on a water heater install.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:06 AM   #13
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


Note in the picture provided by "Javiles" that the ball valve pictured is not a "full port ball valve". The port size is actually smaller than the I.D. of the piping being used. This is common mistake with using ball valves. There are "full port" ball valves where the port size is proportional to the I.D. of the pipe being used and you will get full flow of the material flowing through the piping.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:25 AM   #14
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


Quote:
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You keep sh$@#ing on the plumber saying its not to code and it needs to be replace,, he just may be full of it or he just might know something you dont, look at the valves in this picture.
This was a single individual sent by Sears to install a new hot water heater. Someone at his company holds a valid plumbers license but this guy wasn't a plumber - I would call him more of a hot water heater installer.

He never once mentioned anything about performance characteristics or failure rate of gate valves vs. ball valves. He then proceeded to tell me that the code changes every year. I asked him if he wanted to backup on that statement and go with every 3 years and he said no it changes every year.

Right before he left I looked everything over and the Temperature and
Pressure Relief Valve Discharge Pipe was 8 1/2" from the floor. The manual for the hot water heater indicated a maximum air gap of 6" and pointed that out to him and he said don't worry about it - everything was good to go and it will pass inspection.
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:09 PM   #15
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Ball valve required (versus a gate valve) for hot water heater installation


I take it all back SEARS like Roto Rooter All about sales commissions. squeeze as much as you can from the homeowner your case is made.

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