Gator Bite 3/4" Hot water valve replacement to hot water tank question

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Old 09-24-13, 08:12 AM
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Gator Bite 3/4" Hot water valve replacement to hot water tank question

Hi everyone,

I have an old water stop valve leaking on the hot side of my hot water tank that needs replaced. I wanted to avoid a solder-replacement because of the amount of water that will be in the lines and coming down through once the old stop-valve is cut out.
I stopped at Lowe's and they carry primarily 'Gator-Bite' brand of plumbing fixture components which is similar to 'Shark-Bite' brand in concept. It appeared to be just what I needed.
And, in fact I've done some of the basic measurements of the old valve and it looks like if I make my pipe-cut at the right place, it will basically be a quick replacement - as the Gator-Bite valve is slightly longer than the old soldered-in stop valve. I will have the required 1 1/8" on both cut-ends to insert into the Gator-Bite valve replacement.
But I have 2 questions which some of you may be able to help me with:
1. Does anyone have any experience with this particular application of a Gator-Bite or Shark-Bite connector for the Hot water valve stop? Any problems with the heat affecting that rubber gasket seal in the Gator Bite as far as reliability is concerned? We don't set our hot water temp. very high - just at Medium now which I understand is in the 125-135 degree F. range.
2. My earlier pre-install measurement for just cutting out the old stop valve requires that I use the 'sweated' end of the pipe that went in the old valve stop. Will I have any problems with the Gator Bite value connection by using that end? I'll clean it up, repeatedly heating and wiping off the old solder with a dry rag and then lightly sand it off with 400 Wet sandpaper. But I wanted to check with the experts here to see if this was the recommended way.

The current measurement from the top of the hot water pipe connection to the end of the leaking stop valve is 7" and from the top of the stop valve to the next fitting is 11" - so I have plenty of room to work.
Thanks,
Greynold99
 
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Old 09-24-13, 07:58 PM
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I used a shark bite coupling on a hot water heater once. That was a few years ago. There are no leaks. I'm one of the few people here who likes shark bite. The rest of the answers will say not to use it.
 
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Old 09-25-13, 03:00 AM
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I'll agree with Pulpo, in that the Sharkbites and sliced bread are comparable in innovation. I have discussed different applications with representatives of Sharkbite and they indicate the installation is fine. That's two on the same line in the sand that like them.

I'll disclaimer, however, I have never used, nor do I even know who makes Gatorbites, so research it more.
 
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Old 09-27-13, 02:52 PM
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I agree with Pulpo and Larry, SharkBites will work fine in this situation. I've seen the GatorBites in Lowes, but I'm a HD guy myself, so have never tried them, but I see no reason they should be any different. They are rated to handle residential hot/cold water, so up to 160 degrees or so is fine. (they may be rated even higher too)

I'd be a little concerned about attaching it to the already soldered pipe though. It sounds like you'll do a good job cleaning it, so it should be fine, but I'd worry about any little discrepancy of left over solder making the o-ring not seal tightly. You can't just cut the fitting off?
The other problem you may run into is moving the pipe the 1" or so to get it into the fitting and then pressed-in to secure it. Do you have that much wiggle room on your pipes? If not, you'll have to include a slip-coupler too.
 
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Old 09-28-13, 05:07 AM
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You should not have a shut-off valve on the hot water side (discharge) of a water heater tank.
 
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Old 09-28-13, 09:06 AM
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Why is that Norm201 ? Can you explain ?
 
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Old 09-28-13, 10:53 AM
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hi guys -

Interesting stuff for newbies like me. You got me thinking about the location of the shutoff valve(s) for a water heater (I don't have a water heater btw).

I found the statement below under the heading Gates Valves on this link-

Shut-off valve basics | Structure Tech Home Inspections

- but I have no idea whether or not "They're fine" as the author says or whether many other inspectors would say no?:

All water heaters are supposed to have a shut-off valve on the cold water supply. If the water heater is going to be replaced, this is where the water gets shut off.

Some homes also have a valve on the hot water side of the water heater – these aren’t required, but they’re also not a problem. They just make it a little easier to service the water heater. I’ve heard some home inspectors call shut-off valves on the hot side of a water heater a safety hazard, but they’re not. They’re fine.
 
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Old 09-28-13, 02:38 PM
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I'm not sure what IPC or UPC has to say about them, but installing a valve on the hot side is often considered unsafe because of possible pressure build-up in the system. If someone happened to shut off both valves, as the water is heated, it expands, and would increase the pressure in the water tank. Of course, the pressure relief valve should protect the tank from anything catastrophic, it's possible that the increased pressure could rupture the tank.

I don't know if this has ever actually happened, or it's just an 'old wive's tale', but then again, stranger things have happened.

Because of this, I don't typically install a shutoff on the hot water side. It's rare that a water heater needs to be replaced, and what's another couple gallons from the hot piping after having to drain out 40 or 50 gallons from the tank.
 
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Old 09-28-13, 03:48 PM
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As Zorfdt mentioned it's considered unsafe for just the reasons he stated. Over pressure can be had due to no expansion of the heated water (safety pressure valves have been known to fail). However, as others have said it makes for a very convenient way to change out a tank without draining all the lines. I fact installed one even though its against code. I do have a large red tag attached to it stating that it should never be turned off. Fortunately in my town its OK for an individual to install their own hot water tank. The next town over will fine you and make you pull out the tank if they find out. You then must hire a qualified plumber and they will not install a hot water discharge shutoff valve.

A side note...many new tanks come with plastic drain valves and the manufacturer recommends draining the tank occasionally to flush out debris. But I do not recommend it. The plastic valves easily get damaged and will not shut off and will leak. Best bet is to leave it alone.

Another hint I learned is to go around the house every 6 months or so and turn off every valve fully then open fully then back off a quarter turn. This keeps the washer and stem packing from drying out and rendering the valve useless when the time comes. Of course the newer 1/4 turn ball valves do not have this problem.
 
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Old 09-29-13, 10:31 AM
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Very good information guys. Thanks. I don’t have a water heater (but a tankless coil in boiler) but I’m getting one down the road. I’ll remember what you said.

btw I agree SharkBites are good, I used them a few times and in fact I have one (a 1 inch) now on the pipe off the tee to my well pressure tank. I’d rather solder but I could not stop the slow drip from my pressure tank into the piping even after I drained it, no matter what I did, so I used a SharkBite that I already had. No problem whatsoever.

I had one also on another 1 inch pipe for a few years – and also no problem. One would think that Gator-Bites would be good also – but I guess they don't have the same track record yet as do SharkBites?

I think that is a good point about grey needing to be able to pull the pipes back far enough to get them into the Gator-Bite. Hopefully there is enough play there.
 
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Old 09-30-13, 06:41 AM
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gator bite is comparable I have used them plenty. For water heaters they are great and make changing them down the line so easy since you can just pop them off (with either the tool or a pair of pliers).

Youll be fine.

As for hot side valves. I do install them. Most people will never shut off the valves in their house unless they know wtf they are doing anyway.

I always turn my WH off when on vaca and knowing if the tank ruptures whiles were gone is a bit better on the mind when you know the systems isnt also flushing back into the tank and onto your floors.

ALWAYS shut off your water, and WH when you leave for more than a couple days.
 
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Old 09-30-13, 07:33 AM
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Update on Gatorbite and hot water valve replacement

Thanks everyone,
I am always surprised by the help I get on this forum. Also, like others I was not aware of general recommendation NOT to have a valve stop on the hot water side of the tank -- I just was replacing what was there... But it sure makes it convenient when swapping out a tank and not having to drain the inside hot water lines.
Anyway, I wound up using the smallest Gatorbite 'join' or 'pass-thru extender' with a soldered-in 3/4" ball valve rather than the 3/4" Gatorbite valve. Four years ago I installed a water softener and had purchased the solder-in valve and did not remember until I started collecting the plumbing tools and equipment I needed for the repair.
But man, this was the easiest plumbing fix I ever did - just slipped the gatorbite on, tightened the compression fitting and I was done.
One question and an observation.
1. As a result of looking around at the Big Box and a Local plumbing supply house, it looks like it's going to be hard to find solder-in brass and copper fittings in the future. And while I like Gator/Sharkbites, there's some places where I'd still trust a good soldered connection rather than a plastic seal ring.
On the other hand, who's going to be able to afford copper plumbing...? $20 for a 5 ft. piece of pipe was the real shocker.
2. Someone posted about the 'plastic drain valves' being put on hot water tanks. When I replace a 5 1/2 yr. old Bradford-White 40 gal. HWT with the current 40 gal. Bradford-White tank being made at the time (3 yrs. ago), they had replaced the cheapie plastic drain valve with a brass half-turn drain valve.
Thanks again,
Greynold99
 
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Old 09-30-13, 11:06 AM
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Glad to hear your project went well!


Copper is way expensive these days, but then again, if you need more than 2 or 3 of the press-fit connectors, they add up quickly too. These days, I'd (and other plumbers around here) would use PEX for any serious renovation/replacement/new construction. But I think traditional copper/brass fittings will be around for a while to come.

The better brands of water heaters still seem to have brass drain valves. One of the plumbers here recommended an AO Smith when I had to replace mine a few months ago and their tanks have brass valves.
 
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Old 09-30-13, 05:49 PM
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That's good news!

... But man, this was the easiest plumbing fix I ever did ...
Almost seems like they make it too easy. lol When you use them you feel like something must be wrong? Things were too easy! lol That's the way it felt to me anyway. I guess that's progress.
 
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