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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

My water heater has suffered a major leak. We just bought our house in April and part of the deal was the seller purchased a home warranty through American Home Shield (AHS). While I have the skills needed to replace a water heater I decided to go through AHS to save on the cost of replacing the water heater. It's a $60 service fee and AHS covers the replacement water heater and labor.

The plumbing company came out and established the water heater is under manufacturer warranty. It's actually a Rheem Marathon series tank, one with a lifetime warranty (replacement tank of same size and brand/model would run me $1000 if I didn't go through AHS). Unfortunately they can't find it in stock anywhere so they've ordered it from the manufacturer to be installed on Monday or Tuesday.

I was just called by AHS and they said there would be extra expenses not covered under the $60 service fee. The plumbing company said they have to pull a permit at a cost of $135 and install an expansion tank for $125. Is a permit really needed to install a water heater? Do I really need an expansion tank since I don't currently have one? The only thing I can think of is that they have to bring it up to code and since it's not they have to pull a permit and install an expansion tank (is that now required under code?)

Either way, as of now this replacement will cost me $320 which I guess I still better than buying a cheap replacement tank and installing it myself.
 

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Yes it's best to have an expantion tank, may even be one of the reason the old tank failed.
You would have to check your local code office to see if a permit is required.
I would not have an issue with having to have a permit, another set of eyes to make sure it's done right.
Make sure they use dielectric nipples when connecting it up, make sure there's a ball valve installed on the cold water line. If it's a gate valve now have them replace it.
 

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Another couple of suggestions:

If you're on a second floor or in a condo, get a plastic reservoir (like a big bowl) for heater to sit in. Helps with containing small leaks.

Replace drain valve with a metal one if new one comes with a plastic one. Make sure a hose will fit without obstruction.
 

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Hi Joe,

Assuming he has city water, which he does not say,

Why is an expansion tank needed prior to a HWH? And why would the lack of one cause premature failure of a tank type water heater?

3 What is wrong with a Brass Gate Valve?

Just Wondered.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I have well water.

Not much personal experience with gate valves but I've read where they are known to fail more readily than ball valves. I actually just replaced an old gate valve just off my well last week partially as a precaution, partially because it would not close all the way the last time I needed it off, and partially because it was incredibly hard to turn it.
 

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gate valves don't last as long anymore because they are crap made in foreign countries since the 70's. ball valves are much better anyway if you can find a good one.
 

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Yeah, The key work here being find a good one. I have had the stems of two ball valves bought from HD break off in my hand after a couple years of service. Chinese Crap. You cant even depend on a damn valve anymore. :mad:

The American made Gate valves usually failed because people would back them up against their stops, instead of full open 1/4 turn closed. I like the ball valve a lot, I just cant find good ones.
 
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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q...ECCF5A2B433A5CAE618E7159748857696C2&first=429
Trash tends to fall unto the bottom of the sealing surface so the gate can not close off all the way. Once they have sat in one positon for years the packing has dryed out and will leak once the handle is turn and need to be replaced or the packing nut tightened down, The gates get stick and the stem rings off when you turn the handle.
A ball valve should have none of these issures.

The small acumulater tank goes on the hot side of the water heater not the cold side. It allows for exspantion when the water heats up.
 
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I don't think the lack of an expansion tank shortens the life of a water heater but when the tank has nearly rusted out in a spot, the added pressure given the lack of an expansion tank can be the straw that breaks the camel's back a tad sooner.

If your city requires a permit for replacing a water heater, that will probably be an extra cost not covered by the warranty. Also added parts needed to come up to current code will not be covered. (If there was an expansion tank already there, the new water heater can re-use that.)

Check the exact terms in the warranty document to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The tank is a marathon series -- plastic construction made to avoid rust. Supposedly one of the best tanks available (and priced as such) with a lifetime warranty. Not sure what caused it to fail so horribly at not an overly old age. Water will literally gush out the top from the three pipes entering/exiting the tank and also from the heating element access panels (yes, I'm positive it's leaking from there and not just appearing as doing so from water cascading down from the top).

I was aware that the warranty company would not cover the costs of the permit and costs of extra parts requiring it to bring up to code -- they make that quite known. Just wanted to be sure they were truly needed. Either way had the tank not been under manufacture warranty it would've been covered at a cost of $1000 not including installation (which they also cover).
 

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I had a similar situation. I had to replace my hot water heater as well. Cost me a little more because of extra ball valve, piping and expansion tank.

Plumbers, electricians, hvac techs, carpenters all have to, by law, follow all applicable current codes when updating, renovating, replacing current equipment or structures. They could lose their certifications for failure to do this. It's not that they are trying to rip you off or sell you something extra you don't need, it is probably required by code.

Some places require a local permit for just about anything now a days. It's a money maker for the local township etc. I had to get one to replace my front door and reshingle my roof. Unfortunately, that is your responsibility to pay for any permits that are required.

Consider the extra 323 dollars you had to come up with a good investment.
 

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It's been a while since I put in a marathon, sounds like the threaded connections split. Check with marathon and see if a exp. tank is required for their warranty. Perhaps it should have been there on the original install- so previous warranty is void.
As for permits and tank, you need to verify that with the local codes. Technically I need a permit to install any install/replace any plumbing fixture.
Expansion tanks are required in several areas.
 
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Either way, as of now this replacement will cost me $320 which I guess I still better than buying a cheap replacement tank and installing it myself.
Yes. Go with the expansion tank, it's a separate issue and a good idea, so just pay for it. As to the permit - do you "have" to? Depends on what you mean. Since someone else is doing it, it's not a bad idea. Kind of like paying for a home inspection when buying a house (except granted, percentage-wise this is more expensive.)
 

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I don't think the lack of an expansion tank shortens the life of a water heater but when the tank has nearly rusted out in a spot, the added pressure given the lack of an expansion tank can be the straw that breaks the camel's back a tad sooner.
In other words, lack of an expansion tank can shorten the life of the water heater :)

You can't predict where something will fail. It's not just the tank, it's the connections. It's not just the water heater, it's the entire system.

Think of it as cheap insurance. Maybe a pipe seal just outside the range of the drip pan of the water heater will start to leak. This could easily go unnoticed, and could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars in repairs if it causes water damage for a few months behind your walls or under your floors. This is true of any plumbing leak in your whole system.

Leaks are less likely with an expansion tank than without one. Exactly how much less likely? No one can tell you, but it's enough that it's a pretty good insurance bet.
 

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Assuming he has city water, which he does not say,

Why is an expansion tank needed prior to a HWH? And why would the lack of one cause premature failure of a tank type water heater?
Technically the expansion tank can go anywhere in your plumbing supply system (key word being "your" - meaning on your side of the city's incoming valve.)

The expansion tank helps control the buildup of pressure caused by your water heater heating your water (water expands as it heats up). The pressure is increased everywhere in your system, not just in the hot water heater. Technically it can cause premature failure anywhere in your plumbing. (Although if the pressure rises above what your plumbing components are rated at, then you could hardly call it "premature").
 

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In other words, lack of an expansion tank can shorten the life of the water heater :)

You can't predict where something will fail. It's not just the tank, it's the connections. It's not just the water heater, it's the entire system.

Think of it as cheap insurance. Maybe a pipe seal just outside the range of the drip pan of the water heater will start to leak. This could easily go unnoticed, and could easily cost tens of thousands of dollars in repairs if it causes water damage for a few months behind your walls or under your floors. This is true of any plumbing leak in your whole system.

Leaks are less likely with an expansion tank than without one. Exactly how much less likely? No one can tell you, but it's enough that it's a pretty good insurance bet.
Exp tanks are fine until they get water logged........then its worthless insurance
I don't have one, never had one. My extra pressure goes back to the city. In my case an unnecessary expense
 

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Exp tanks are fine until they get water logged.......
Please explain. Expansion tank malfunction or filled to capacity? What you are saying it's like saying "shocks on your car are fine, until they break." Because that's not a reason to stop using shocks.

My extra pressure goes back to the city. In my case an unnecessary expense
What city?
 

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Please explain. Expansion tank malfunction or filled to capacity? What you are saying it's like saying "shocks on your car are fine, until they break." Because that's not a reason to stop using shocks.



What city?
I'm saying that exp. tanks do fail, whether it's on a well or a water heater. The pressure needs to be calibrated when installed to match house pressure(don't trust factory settings) and checked periodically- when flushing water heater.
I have no check valves, pressure regs, or backflow devices on my main. All the excess pressure feeds back to the city main. But it is becoming more common to find check valves on supply lines though, in which case a exp tank is needed.
 
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