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Old 12-15-2010, 01:49 PM   #1
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


Hello,

I had a new water heater installed a while ago and the installer told me he could not re-install the saddle valve on the cold water connection to the water heater that led to our Aprilaire humidifier because those were not to be re-used due to leakage concerns. I trusted the guy, so I bought it. Plus, it didn't look like too difficult a task if I wished to take care of it myself, later.

Well, we left the Aprilaire off last winter and I definitely noticed a difference with all kinds of ESD, "shocking" everything around the house and my sinuses were constantly irritated and dry. So, this year I want to hook it back up. I've already taken it apart and serviced it, so it's in tip top shape and ready for action.

My question is regarding where I should install the saddle valve. Updated code for the installation of this water heater included adding an expansion tank on the cold water supply pipe. And I believe there is a "do" and a "don't" to this.

here's the pic of the situation:



Should I put the saddle valve for the Aprilaire between the shut-off valve and the expansion tank connection? Should I put it above the shut-off valve? I can't really put it beneath the expansion tank because there's just not room there and there' two layers of copper with the sleeve that was used to make the connection.

Advice would be... spectacular!

Thanks.

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Old 12-15-2010, 01:57 PM   #2
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


I'd advise against a saddle valve, as those are prone to leaking. Soldering on a valve is best, but if you dont know how to solder, a sharkbite (slip-on) or compression valve is the way to go. Any of these methods would involve cutting a small section of pipe out, as dictated by the size of the valve.

I'd pick a spot with more room, probably above the shutoff valve.

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Old 12-15-2010, 02:32 PM   #3
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


Definitely before the water heater shut-off valve. Anything after the heater shut-off valve is supposed to be for the water heater. Do you have softened water? Humidifiers generally fail due to calcifacation of their evaporator cores or the solenoid valve or their supply shut-off valve. So the manufacturer of the humidifier will specify hard or soft and hot or cold water. Almost everyone just slaps a cheap saddle valve on any water pipe they can find and ensures humidifier failure. Find out what is recommended for your unit and since you have both H & C right there put in a copper Tee (3/4x1/2 in your case) and on the 1/2in. branch 3-4 inches of 1/2in. copper. Get yourself a 1/2in.x3/8in. stop normally used to control the water to the H or C of a sink and put it on the 1/2in. pipe. Then put a 3/8x1/4 brass adaptor between the stop and the 1/4in. line to your humidifier and you should have no leaks and a long humidifier life time.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


not to stray from the topic but the installer did not install any dielectric union's. you will need to have them put on to protect your water heater. it is mandatory in most states and may void the manufaturer warranty
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:20 PM   #5
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


I'm not sure if it's mandatory or not, but many "shade tree installers" will do it this way, which is the cheap and dirty way of cutting corners and is much faster for them. It does make it more difficult for the rest of us doing service on down the line.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ltnicks View Post
not to stray from the topic but the installer did not install any dielectric union's. you will need to have them put on to protect your water heater. it is mandatory in most states and may void the manufaturer warranty
Those are most likely dielectric nipples
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:50 PM   #7
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


Some water heaters have dielectric nipples in the heater, a union is a different situation.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:01 PM   #8
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


All I can say, given my novice level, to that item is the city inspector had to come out to inspect and he did an overly thorough job looking it all over and measuring lengths, etc. Said everything was right on code and that it was 'one of the better' installs he'd checked that month - whatever that's worth.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:11 PM   #9
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


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'one of the better' installs he'd checked that month - whatever that's worth.
Looks fine to me (besides some sloppy solder joints that weren't wiped down). I wouldn't worry about the dielectric unions. Just don't re-install the saddle valve. They're garbage and the guy that installed the heater was right. (I'm sure it's company policy due to liability issues)

I would sweat in a 3/4" X 1/2" copper tee, then use a 5/8" X 1/4" compression angle or straight stop.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:20 PM   #10
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


Quote:
My question is regarding where I should install the saddle valve.
Ayuh,... Just curious,.. Where is the humidifier,..??
Is there a cold water line closer, or is it near the waterheater,..??

As for the process of hookin' it up,... I completely agree with LateralConcepts,...
"T" into a cold water line, most anywhere will do, 'n adapt to whatever sizing you need to feed the humidifier...

Saddle fittings of most Any sort are Leakers on average,...
Pretty much a Band-aid for lazy people....
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:32 PM   #11
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


Quote:
Ayuh,... Just curious,.. Where is the humidifier,..??
Is there a cold water line closer, or is it near the waterheater,..??
Good question Bondo.

Also after looking at the picture again; almost looks like 3/8" soft copper, but I could be wrong. I'm not familiar with the humidifiers. Guess we just assumed 1/4". Either way I think if you're gonna do it right, install a proper valve and you might as well make the connection with a stainless steel braided supply line. Like you'd use for a dishwasher.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:56 PM   #12
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... Just curious,.. Where is the humidifier,..??
Is there a cold water line closer, or is it near the waterheater,..??

As for the process of hookin' it up,... I completely agree with LateralConcepts,...
"T" into a cold water line, most anywhere will do, 'n adapt to whatever sizing you need to feed the humidifier...

Saddle fittings of most Any sort are Leakers on average,...
Pretty much a Band-aid for lazy people....

If you're looking at this picture, the furnace is to the right of the water heater (that small white box behind the text is actually the aprilaire controller and it's mounted on the central cold air return that feeds the furnace) and the Aprilaire is on the opposite side of the furnace.



At the bottom right of the pic, you can just see the tip of the [disconnected] supply line resting against the water heater. That supply line heads off to the right and around and above the furnace housing. The Aprilaire is above that installed right on the supply plenum, with the bottom of it about 6 feet off the ground.

Last edited by bkraz; 12-15-2010 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:12 PM   #13
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... Just curious,.. Where is the humidifier,..??
Is there a cold water line closer, or is it near the waterheater,..??

As for the process of hookin' it up,... I completely agree with LateralConcepts,...
"T" into a cold water line, most anywhere will do, 'n adapt to whatever sizing you need to feed the humidifier...

Saddle fittings of most Any sort are Leakers on average,...
Pretty much a Band-aid for lazy people....
The trick in this house... The people that built this (I am the second owner of the property) went cheap on the original plumbing contractor. Every pipe in this house is polybutylene piping (no joke) with the exception of the main, the dedicated supply line that heads out the underground sprinkler system and these two sections T-ing off of PB pipes above the water heater. And I cannot use the supply line for the sprinkler because (a) it is turned off every winter and (b) the shut-off valve for the supply line was placed right next to the first T off the main against the wall so I cannot access the cold water on that line before the shut-off valve.

Ain't life grand. Literally, what you see in the pic I provided is the only area I can use. Now, above the hot water heater's cold water supply shut-off valve, I have another 18 inches of copper that isn't visible in that picture, and which leads up to the T put into the polybutylene pipe. So i can work with that 18-inch span.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:06 AM   #14
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


Quote:
Ain't life grand. Literally, what you see in the pic I provided is the only area I can use. Now, above the hot water heater's cold water supply shut-off valve, I have another 18 inches of copper that isn't visible in that picture, and which leads up to the T put into the polybutylene pipe. So i can work with that 18-inch span.
Ok,... Cut into the 18" you've got to work with, sweat in a "T", 'n reduce down to the furrel fitting ya need for the humidifier...
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:31 AM   #15
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Re-installing saddle valve on newly installed water heater connections


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Originally Posted by bkraz View Post
All I can say, given my novice level, to that item is the city inspector had to come out to inspect and he did an overly thorough job looking it all over and measuring lengths, etc. Said everything was right on code and that it was 'one of the better' installs he'd checked that month - whatever that's worth.
not sure where you're at, but in my code you must have a union within 12" of the tank to allow for service. Does not have to be a dielectric, but those are generally easier to install, because you can screw them to the tank and just sweat your pipe into them. Also, I've noticed that expansion tanks tend to fail easier if installed on their side, and fill with any dissolved solids that you may have in your water. I always install them with a 90 so they point straight up. Just a preference of mine

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