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Old 05-11-2011, 07:18 PM   #1
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Expansion Tank


I called around to get quotes on getting my hot water heater replaced. One company said that as part of their standard process, they install an expansion tank and won't install a HWH without an expansion tank. He said not to believe other contractors as they will show up and suddenly tell you that you need an expansion tank.

Currently, I don't have an expansion tank and keep the temperature setting at the medium setting. What's the big deal?

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Old 05-11-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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Water expands when heated.this expansion needs to go somewhere. In older homes that don't have PRV's or check valves, the expansion is absorbed into the city main. More municipalities are requiring backflow prevention devices on houses now so this makes expansion tanks necessary. I think your plumber is covering his tail. IMO you may not need one. Check your water system, including the meter, for backflow devices or PRV's. If they don't exist then you don't need it. On the other hand, they don't cost much.......

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Old 05-11-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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Water expands when heated.this expansion needs to go somewhere. In older homes that don't have PRV's or check valves, the expansion is absorbed into the city main. More municipalities are requiring backflow prevention devices on houses now so this makes expansion tanks necessary. I think your plumber is covering his tail. IMO you may not need one. Check your water system, including the meter, for backflow devices or PRV's. If they don't exist then you don't need it. On the other hand, they don't cost much.......
I have a 13 year old house. My water meter is out on the street under a small manhole. I don't believe I have any backflow devices.

I checked and expansion tanks only cost about $50...but with a plumber upcharge to include installation, that could easily cost an extra $200.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:41 PM   #4
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I would suggest a phone call to your plumbing inspector. That plumber may actually be quoting a new code addendum for your area- verify what he's saying.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:51 PM   #5
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I replaced the water heater in my last house about 6 months before I sold it and bought my current house. When the home inspector came in I was required to not only add the expansion tank, I had to raise the heater 18 inches. It was in my garage under my house. I replaced the heater with another in the same spot as it was originally. However, code had changed and now it is required to be high enough not to ignite fumes from a car sitting in the garage.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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I would suggest a phone call to your plumbing inspector. That plumber may actually be quoting a new code addendum for your area- verify what he's saying.
I would agree with your assumption, except for one tiny detail.

I asked him if a permit was necessary to install the new HWH. He had a roundabout answer and at first said yes, but that it takes time to get a permit so he leaves it up to the customer to determine if they really want want or not, and that he would install one without it anyway.

Therefore, the push for "following the code" kind of went south.

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