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Old 04-08-2012, 07:53 AM   #1
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Twin Water Heaters Installed


My Son-In-Law called me yesterday and said one of his water heaters was "gushing" water all over the crawl-space and "what do I do now?"

We crawled under the house and found two water heaters, fat low ones, installed. Looks like they are both connected to the same cold water pipe and the same hot water pipe. There was only one shut off valve installed on the cold water side of each tank.

Questions: Does this sound right? Why only one valve on each tank? It appears the tanks are installed in parallel. How does the water flow in this type of install? I mean the call for hot water comes and does it flow out of both tanks equally?

Plumber can't make it out till Monday (he is away from home) , so I went out and bought a shut off valve (type that just slides on; maybe called Shark Bite?) and installed it on the hot water pipe isolating the leaking tank for the time being.


Last edited by BigD9; 04-08-2012 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:11 AM   #2
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Twin Water Heaters Installed


Shut off valves are installed on the cold only for safety reasons---if the tp valve (temp/pressure) were to fail to open----and both in and out pipes were closed---the tank could explode---

You tube has a funny video from 'myth busters' where they launch a water heater three stories high---

Your temporary bypass will be fine as long as the gas is turned off to the bad unit---Mike---( You sound smart enough to have that one figured out already)

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Old 04-08-2012, 09:33 AM   #3
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Twin Water Heaters Installed


as long as the hots are both coming off the seperate tanks that is OK... if the hot from one goes to the cold of the other that would be in series installer might installed hot water shut offs but not normally..cold is common so you don't shut the house feed
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:01 AM   #4
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Twin Water Heaters Installed


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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Shut off valves are installed on the cold only for safety reasons---if the tp valve (temp/pressure) were to fail to open----and both in and out pipes were closed---the tank could explode---

You tube has a funny video from 'myth busters' where they launch a water heater three stories high---

Your temporary bypass will be fine as long as the gas is turned off to the bad unit---Mike---( You sound smart enough to have that one figured out already)
I think Mike meant to say "Failed closed" if it failed open there wouldn't be any pressure build up....

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Old 04-08-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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Twin Water Heaters Installed


Thanks--My spell check is also out of wack---you will be able to see what a bad speller I am---English--who can spell whose words?
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:33 AM   #6
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Twin Water Heaters Installed


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Originally Posted by BigD9 View Post
It appears the tanks are installed in parallel. How does the water flow in this type of install? I mean the call for hot water comes and does it flow out of both tanks equally?

That's the theory, but i've seen a lot of parallel installs that don't work right, because the hot water outlet from both tanks has to be the same distance from the main, otherwise you'll only pull hot water from one tank.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
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Twin Water Heaters Installed


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Shut off valves are installed on the cold only for safety reasons---if the tp valve (temp/pressure) were to fail to open----and both in and out pipes were closed---the tank could explode---

You tube has a funny video from 'myth busters' where they launch a water heater three stories high---

Your temporary bypass will be fine as long as the gas is turned off to the bad unit---Mike---( You sound smart enough to have that one figured out already)

Oh No! I forgot to turn off the gas. Oh crap. I figured since the water heaters are electric I didn't need to turn off the gas.

Sorry about that, I just couldn't resist. Ok, maybe a little humor is needed on a day like this. Seems like I just can't get away from plumbing problems lately. Just replaced the "guts" on 3 toilets since two of them suddenly went bad. Then just after a I wrote the above description of a parallel water heater my CEO said "honey, we have a problem. The dishwasher is leaking water all over the floor!" I just love how she says "WE". Turned out the discharge hose sprung a leak where the installer overtightened the worm clamp and cracked the thin plastic discharge tubing.


I saw that Myth Buster show. They had to really work on the heater to get it to go, but when it did...... And yes, I actually shut down the leaking tank electrically and water supply. I told my SIL the "real" plumber would probably not like my Shark Bite fitting, but it was all I could come up with on short notice. I was afraid of attempting to solder the pipe shut since the house is a two story house and I figured I could never get enough water out of the pipes for an amateur like me to successfully solder a cap on the hot water pipe.

Quote:
That's the theory, but I've seen a lot of parallel installs that don't work right, because the hot water outlet from both tanks has to be the same distance from the main, otherwise you'll only pull hot water from one tank.
They have the same diameter 3/4 inch copper pipe and same lengths. So I guess I was concerned for nothing.

Interesting comments all. Thanks!

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