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Novice with little luck
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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Just call me Andrew
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2,297 Posts
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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BIGRED
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487 Posts
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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Registered
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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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BIGRED
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487 Posts
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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Owner
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998 Posts
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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Novice with little luck
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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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Owner
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998 Posts
'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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Master General ReEngineer
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10,209 Posts
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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Owner
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998 Posts
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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Novice with little luck
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
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.
 

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Novice with little luck
Joined
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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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Master General ReEngineer
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10,209 Posts
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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Registered
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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 :laughing:
 

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BIGRED
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487 Posts
To the man, do you mean the tank points straight up or the mounting nipple points straight up? I also prefer to mount them with the tank on top of the pipe just to keep any coarse grit out of the bladder entrance, but many times an install like this just doesn't have the head room. A better solution in this situation would be to mount the tank on a 5-10 deg. slope from horizontal, nipple pointing downward.
 

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Chicago, IL
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1,037 Posts
Irrespective of whether a saddle valve meets the minimum code requirements in you location, many that I see eventually leak. Installing a tee and a conventional valve is a more reliable approach.
 

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Saddle valves are prone to leaking, but CAN work. I would stay away from your water heater though, anything goes wrong there you are looking at a higher cost for repairs due to all of the soldering joints there. Do you have a cold water line else where, so you can cut in and use a compression tee?
 

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To the man, do you mean the tank points straight up or the mounting nipple points straight up? I also prefer to mount them with the tank on top of the pipe just to keep any coarse grit out of the bladder entrance, but many times an install like this just doesn't have the head room. A better solution in this situation would be to mount the tank on a 5-10 deg. slope from horizontal, nipple pointing downward.
I meant the inlet threads of the tank at the bottom. The way its normally done where I'm at is install a galv tee onto the cold nipple coming out of the tank. Use an 8-12 inch nipple on the branch, install a 90, then mount the tank to the 90. I've also put the tank on the run of the tee (top) and used the branch for the water inlet. On the water inlet, I'll put in a short nipple then dielectric union or copper flex line. Yes, I know that galv. will rust on the inside, but that tanks not going to last more than 15 years, and the piping should be replaced with the tank.
 
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