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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning Everyone,
I just replaced my hot water heater and had to install male to male adapters at the intake and output connections. After 5-6 hours, there appeared to be no leaks and I thought all was good. Unfortunately, I found a very small leak where the male-to-male adapter connects to the input (cold) this morning. It's very likely that I did not use enough tape on the joint. My question is, what steps are necessary when disconnecting only the cold input? I would think shutting off the power, shutting off the water, opening the relief valve and draining 1/8-1/4 of the tank should suffice. I don't want to go through the whole process of flushing the hot and draining the entire thing if I don't have to. Please only answer if you are 100% sure or unsure what I want to do is safe. If I cannot be 100% sure, I'll do the entire process to be safe. Thanks.
 

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Fizzer---I've confused---what type of pipe? Did you forget to use a union?

Any possibility of a picture?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fizzer---I've confused---what type of pipe? Did you forget to use a union?

Any possibility of a picture?
Sorry, I don't have a picture, but I'll describe the configuration the best I can.

-- Original Setup --

Input cpcv out of the floor w/ threaded male end > female-to-female flexible copper pipe > threaded male input on water heater. output is the same

-- New Setup --

Input cpcv out of the floor w/ threaded male end > female-to-female ball valve > cpvc w/ threaded male on both ends > female-to-female flexible copper pipe > 3" copper male-to-male pipe > (leak is here) threaded female input on water heater. output is the same minus the valve.

The changes I made were:

1) I added a ball valve on the input side. With the original configuration, the only way to cut water to the heater was to turn of the main.

2) I added a 3" copper male-to-mail pipe between the flexible copper pipe and the water heater itself because original heater had male connections and the new one has female connections.

3) I also had to add some extra cpcv because the original water heater had the connections on the side, input near the bottom, output near the top. The new water heater has both connections on the top of the water heater.
 

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Ah,---That cpvc is not in use in my area----we are real old fashioned here.

Do you have a cpvc coupling? can you cut the pipe so you can re-tape or dope the leaker and then fix the cut with a coupling?

By the way---good move installing new shut offs---Very wise move.


I think a lot of the regulars are off playing today----Mike----
 
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... My question is, what steps are necessary when disconnecting only the cold input? I would think shutting off the power, shutting off the water, opening the relief valve and draining 1/8-1/4 of the tank should suffice. .
You only need to turn off the water, turn off the water heater, and drain about three gallons when making a repair to something on the top of the water heater. Enough so there is room for all the water in the hot and cold pipes going upstairs to fall down into the tank instead of come out all over the place when you disconnect things.

Before turning the water heater back on, have water flowing out of a hot faucet upstairs. This ensures that the tank is refilled first which is mandatory.

I would think that the easiest fix is to cut the 3 inch copper male to male pipe just at the heater. This way you can twist the pieces out and redo the joints with more teflon tape.

You should keep to a minimum bending and rebending of the flexible pipe section. This may in turn limit how you can rescrew things together and in what sequence. It looks to me that installing a union in place of just a male to male pipe segment would be best.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ah,---That cpvc is not in use in my area----we are real old fashioned here.

Do you have a cpvc coupling? can you cut the pipe so you can re-tape or dope the leaker and then fix the cut with a coupling?

By the way---good move installing new shut offs---Very wise move.


I think a lot of the regulars are off playing today----Mike----
Mike, thank you for the reply. The leak was where the 3" copper pipe is threaded into the water heater itself, so no need to cut anything. This is my first water heater install and I just wanted verify that I could safely get away without draining the entire thing. My thinking was that I could disconnect power, release the pressure and drain only few gallons, which turned out to be correct.

You only need to turn off the water, turn off the water heater, and drain about three gallons when making a repair to something on the top of the water heater. Enough so there is room for all the water in the hot and cold pipes going upstairs to fall down into the tank instead of come out all over the place when you disconnect things.

Before turning the water heater back on, have water flowing out of a hot faucet upstairs. This ensures that the tank is refilled first which is mandatory.

I would think that the easiest fix is to cut the 3 inch copper male to male pipe just at the heater. This way you can twist the pieces out and redo the joints with more teflon tape.

You should keep to a minimum bending and rebending of the flexible pipe section. This may in turn limit how you can rescrew things together and in what sequence. It looks to me that installing a union in place of just a male to male pipe segment would be best.
Thank you Allen. I did as you said and drained ~3 gallons. I actually did not have to cut the 3" male to male piece as it is threaded on both ends. I simply disconnected each end, re-taped both and reinstalled. I completed the repair yesterday and it's still dry this morning, so it looks like I got it. I noticed the threads were very rough on the water heater input, (where my leak was) and I believe this played a part in the leak. Had the threads been smooth like the output, I suspect there would have been no leak even with the original amount of tape used.

After all is said and done, this repair when very smoothly, especially considering this was my first water heater install. The repair was actually done for my mom, who lives on Social Security, and cost was a big factor. The heater itself was the cheapest 40 gallon available at Lowes, a $209 Whirlpool. I reused as many parts as possible and the parts total was around $40. I could have saved another $10-15, but I insisted we add the cut-off. I'm glad I did as it came in very handy when fixing the leak.

I hope everyone has a great 4th!
 

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Mike, thank you for the reply. The leak was where the 3" copper pipe is threaded into the water heater itself, so no need to cut anything. This is my first water heater install and I just wanted verify that I could safely get away without draining the entire thing. My thinking was that I could disconnect power, release the pressure and drain only few gallons, which turned out to be correct.



Thank you Allen. I did as you said and drained ~3 gallons. I actually did not have to cut the 3" male to male piece as it is threaded on both ends. I simply disconnected each end, re-taped both and reinstalled. I completed the repair yesterday and it's still dry this morning, so it looks like I got it. I noticed the threads were very rough on the water heater input, (where my leak was) and I believe this played a part in the leak. Had the threads been smooth like the output, I suspect there would have been no leak even with the original amount of tape used.

After all is said and done, this repair when very smoothly, especially considering this was my first water heater install. The repair was actually done for my mom, who lives on Social Security, and cost was a big factor. The heater itself was the cheapest 40 gallon available at Lowes, a $209 Whirlpool. I reused as many parts as possible and the parts total was around $40. I could have saved another $10-15, but I insisted we add the cut-off. I'm glad I did as it came in very handy when fixing the leak.

I hope everyone has a great 4th!
Use pipe dope not tape. Tape is not a sealer it helps lube the joint and sometine's it is used as a sealer. Pipe dope is a sealer. Lot's of people use tape and find leak's . Pipe dope is for sealing.
Thread seal tape — commonly known as "Teflon tape", "PTFE tape", "tape dope", or "plumber's tape"–is a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) film cut to specified widths for use in sealing pipe threads. The tape is wrapped around the exposed threads of a pipe before it is screwed into place. The tape is commonly used commercially in pressurized water systems, such as central heating systems, as well as in air compression equipment and thread joints with coarse threads. One of the defining characteristics of PTFE is how good it is at defeating friction. The use of PTFE tape in tapered pipe threads performs a lubricating function, which more easily allows the threads to be screwed together, to the point of deformation, which is what creates the seal.
 

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3) I also had to add some extra cpcv because the original water heater had the connections on the side, input near the bottom, output near the top. The new water heater has both connections on the top of the water heater.
You say the original WH had connections on the side, that type WH is usually rated for manufactured or mobile home use. If you live in a Mobile home, that new top connected WH may not be approved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Use pipe dope not tape. Tape is not a sealer it helps lube the joint and sometine's it is used as a sealer. Pipe dope is a sealer. Lot's of people use tape and find leak's . Pipe dope is for sealing.
Thread seal tape — commonly known as "Teflon tape", "PTFE tape", "tape dope", or "plumber's tape"–is a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) film cut to specified widths for use in sealing pipe threads. The tape is wrapped around the exposed threads of a pipe before it is screwed into place. The tape is commonly used commercially in pressurized water systems, such as central heating systems, as well as in air compression equipment and thread joints with coarse threads. One of the defining characteristics of PTFE is how good it is at defeating friction. The use of PTFE tape in tapered pipe threads performs a lubricating function, which more easily allows the threads to be screwed together, to the point of deformation, which is what creates the seal.
Hi Del,
Thanks for the head's up. It's been almost 24hrs since I completed the re-taping and it appears to be fine now. If the leak reappears, and for future repairs, I'll definitely heed your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You say the original WH had connections on the side, that type WH is usually rated for manufactured or mobile home use. If you live in a Mobile home, that new top connected WH may not be approved.
Hi RJ,
I must say, you sir, must really know your stuff! This install was indeed done in a "manufactured home" aka double wide. I did some research into the subject beforehand, and from my understanding, we should be ok. My research showed two possible issues. One issue is the vent location with a gas water heater. Since we're electric, that's obviously not an issue. It also appears that way back in the day, water heaters were installed in a compartment that was accessible only from outside and did not have protection from freezing. This is a newer home (2002) and the heater is on the inside of the home, behind a drywall panel in the utility room. It seems that the only real difference between electric "manufactured home" heaters and standard heaters, is the location of the connections. Safety wise, I'm confident there are no problems. Code wise, I honestly don't know. There was no mention in the manual, nor were there stickers stating that this heater should not be used in a manufactured home, only the general "check your codes" disclaimer. I have seen other manuals that specifically state this, so I do believe this one to be ok as far as codes go too. The reality is this would only ever be an issue should mom want to sell the place, and living on an SSI check, that's not going to happen. I appreciate the head's up though, and am very impressed that you picked up on that! Have a happy 4th!
 
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