Dielectric union question

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Old 12-26-05, 05:56 PM
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Dielectric union question

Okay... As a side note, I could build a bathroom in a month it seems before our baby was born, now I have an entire day off and that's how long it takes me to make 1 attempt at changing a fitting it seems!!!

Anyway, I've removed my black iron union that is causing my rusty water that was connecting a sweated threaded fitting on the end of my copper supply line to the threaded brass fitting of my faucet for our whirlpool. Unfortunately, the female thread-female thread brass union that would've been a direct plug-in for me wasn't on the shelf at my local Home Depot, so I had a choice of dielectric or copper unions with 1 female threaded attachment and 1 sweat attachment. I could've used the copper, but the dielectric was half the price.

Since the whirlpool is in our bedroom, I'm stopped for the day since the wife is now asleep. I have no idea how I managed this, but when I sweated the sweated in side, the bakelite-like insulator that goes between the sweated in copper thing and the nut-like thing was upside down.

Do I need the bakelite-like insulator thing? Can I just cut it out all together? I hate having to unsolder pipe joints, especially in close proximity to plastic pipes that would probably mean a void waranty on a whirlpool tub if I melted them.
 
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Old 12-26-05, 08:00 PM
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I am not sure exactly what you bought. A normal dielectric union has steel on one side and copper or brass on the other. The insulator keeps the copper and steel from making contact which is what causes electrolosis.(the same thing as your previous steel union connecting to copper) You may be in the same boat in a few months (when the steel side of the dielectric rusts) as you were before. Dielectric fittings of any type are not made for rust protection, only electrolosis. Good luck.
 
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Old 12-27-05, 03:46 AM
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Okay, so then my current thinking is that I could cut it out and reinstall it in 2 pieces, where it will maintain seperation between the steel part and the copper part, but it's not there to create a seal or prevent a leak.. If I'm crazy or wrong let me know!
 
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Old 12-27-05, 07:37 AM
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If the insulator is "in-between" the two parts of the fitting, it is also sealing the fitting. Still am wondering about your insulator being upside down.
 
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Old 12-27-05, 08:25 AM
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Okay, from bottom to top, I have the following:

Coupling nut, this threads onto the upper fitting which threads onto the pipe threads of my faucet.
Bakelite insulator. This is shaped similar to a flanged bushing. It should have gone in with the flange on the top before I soldered in the next piece, but instead I put it on with the flange on the bottom
Copper fitting, which solders to the end of my copper supply line
Rubber washer.
Steel fitting, which threads onto my faucet.

From the finish on the steel parts, my first guess would be that they are either stainless steel or plated. The magnet test says they're not stainless steel, so they're probably plated.. I'm not familiar enough with platings to know for sure what plating is in use, but my guess is that it might be there for galvanic corrosion prevention. But maybe it's supposed to only be used for copper to ferrous connections and I was misinformed.
 
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Old 12-27-05, 08:55 AM
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The coating is probably galvanized. It will be a while before it starts to rust. Maybe you can find a brass or copper connector in that time. Most dielectric fittings have a rubber or teflon insulator.
 
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Old 12-28-05, 07:35 AM
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Pfffft!

Just when I fix my problem with fittings that are causing brown water, I still am getting brown water and it turns out there's a water main break!

On the dielectric fittings, I was thinking either nickle or chrome plated, which seems odd for a plumbing fitting, but it's shiny and I don't think I've ever seen galvanized steel that isn't dull.
 
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