Water heater replacement - couple questions


  #1  
Old 10-26-12, 07:56 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Kansas City Area
Posts: 224
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Water heater replacement - couple questions

OK so tomorrow I will be replacing my hot water heater with a new one, I have been limping along on this one for a week now. I have done these before so no big worries, except I have never dealt with flexible water lines before. Copper yes, flexible no.

Main question is should I rent a crimper tool to crimp on the connection between the flex & copper? Or should I use a compression fitting? I know the plumbers crimp all the time & it takes them a whole minute to do so, but its new to me & gets me nervous. I would also need to rent the tool & get the end fitting & ring. If I use a compression fitting, any preference between a male or female fitting? I will be cutting the flex about a foot higher than it currently is to allow for me to sweat new copper shut-off & then use flexible metal supply lines just above the tank.

One more question on what works best - nylon pipe thread tape or plumbers pipe thread compound? I have both but wanted to know what you guys thought. Somewhere I thought I read that you could / should only use compound on the gas line thread connections.

Thanks Mike
 
  #2  
Old 10-26-12, 11:54 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,121
Received 3,993 Upvotes on 3,584 Posts
I'm a little confused. You say flexible water lines. Do you mean the ones with the shiny metal braid over them like you would use on a sink ? Those type come in many sizes and they come with the fitting already crimped on. You would just solder the matching fittings on to your copper water lines and then screw the fittings on with no additional sealant required.
 
  #3  
Old 10-26-12, 12:15 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Kansas City Area
Posts: 224
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Sorry for the confusion. I have PEX type of flexible water lines for my entire house. The main water lines in & out of the water heater are 3/4" PEX tubing. Its called 3/4" lines as I beleive that is the inside diameter, the outside is 7/8". The crimping I am talking about would be the connection between the PEX & my couple feet of copper. I am placing about 2' of rigid copper just down from the PEX "T" off the main lines. Then I have also bought two 18" flexible copper lines that will connect directly on the top of the water heater.

Mike
 
  #4  
Old 10-26-12, 12:48 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 16,321
Received 38 Upvotes on 30 Posts
Why the flexible connections to the water heater? I would simply use the rigid copper lengths to come off the heater connections and then couple the PEX to the copper. Using a pair of sharkbite connecters eliminates the necessity of obtaining a PEX crimping tool.
 
  #5  
Old 10-26-12, 01:16 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Kansas City Area
Posts: 224
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Furd,

I guess the answer is that's how I used to do it in the past, using those hot water heater connection kits sold in the big box stores. Until your post I have never heard of a Sharkbite connector. I looked them up, they look like a great idea.

Are there any special procedures or tricks to make them work right? If I can use them, my worries over the connection to the PEX should be over. When I looked up the Sharkbites, they show being able to mix your connections such as PEX to copper with both appearing to simply be pushed on. Is that correct? So I could take a raw copper end (of course cleaned & filed smooth and just push the Sharkbite on. That just seems to good to be true.

Has your experience been favorable with these? I don't want a slow, nagging leak later on. Let me know. thanks
 
  #6  
Old 10-26-12, 02:09 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 16,321
Received 38 Upvotes on 30 Posts
I personally have never used the sharkbites but I have used similar connectors in pneumatic applications without any failures. You do need to have a square cut on the the tubing and you do need to remove any burrs. Biggest problem that I have read is not having the square cut and not pushing the tubing all the way to the bottom of the fitting. Be warned, the sharkbites ARE expensive but you should only need the two.

Others, who HAVE used the sharkbites may post their experiences.
 
  #7  
Old 10-27-12, 05:19 PM
TomZ1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 155
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Used sharkbites to hook up my water heater. You are correct, they just push on. Very simple to use, but pricey. Well worth the money though, IMHO.
 
  #8  
Old 10-28-12, 04:00 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 36,607
Upvotes: 0
Received 9 Upvotes on 8 Posts
I wouldn't hook rigid copper to the water heater. It needs movement space and rigid won't give and take. I know you probably already have this thing installed, and if you used a solid copper stub from the water heater to the pex, and used a sharkbite to couple them together, you should be OK. I don't particularly like the braided flex lines, either, as the interior is rubber/plastic, and I just don't get warm and fuzzy with hot water running through them all day. The ribbed flexible pipe made for water heaters, IMO, gives better service and allows for slight movement of the water heater if it happens.
 
  #9  
Old 10-28-12, 06:07 AM
hvactechfw's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5,491
Upvotes: 0
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
I have seen too many of these develop pinhole leaks and corrode to ever use them.
 
  #10  
Old 10-28-12, 12:30 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 36,607
Upvotes: 0
Received 9 Upvotes on 8 Posts
What do you think of the stainless ones, Kevin? Also, I do not, definitely like these braided ones.
 
  #11  
Old 10-28-12, 12:54 PM
hvactechfw's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5,491
Upvotes: 0
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
I'm not sold on the one's in your picture either. I don't think anything is better than hard copper pipe. It can then be connected to any type of other water supply line with the proper adapter.
 
  #12  
Old 10-28-12, 01:06 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 36,607
Upvotes: 0
Received 9 Upvotes on 8 Posts
How do you get around the rigidity of the set up. I know in earthquake prone areas it could be a problem. Shouldn't there be "some" movement in the pipes so they won't fail? Curious.
 
  #13  
Old 10-28-12, 01:13 PM
hvactechfw's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5,491
Upvotes: 0
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
My area is not earthquake prone.....
 
  #14  
Old 10-29-12, 02:08 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Kansas City Area
Posts: 224
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Thanks for the comments. I still have not installed the WH as I had to wait on a specialized exhaust vent. The new WH has larger 4" vent size, the prior one was a 3", thus I needed a new "T" to tie into the venting that goes out of the house. Only 1 supply house carried my specific brand & they were not open on Saturdays.
FYI, I have bought the sharkbite connections, they are a little more expensive than a similar compression fitting that I would need to tie into the PEX lines. Of course a soldered nipple with a crimp ring would be cheaper, but rental for the crimping pliers was $20 - $25. The double ended sharkbite with a ball valve was $18, the straight double ended sharkbite (for the hot side) was $12. This was all 3/4" & at the Orange big box store.

I will let you know how the sharkbites work after I put them in.
 
  #15  
Old 10-30-12, 06:38 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Kansas City Area
Posts: 224
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Ok, its installed. Took about 2 hours, had more difficulty with the exhaust piping / vent than the water connections. The sharkebites worked great, they could not have been any easier. Just make sure you have a clean cut pipe end & push them all the way on, goes in about 1".
FYI, while at the supply house which caters mostly to HVAC & plumbing contractors, you could tell that the sharkbites were popular items. They dedicated an entire row / secton to them in all different sizes and types. I saw a couple contractors going out with 10 packs of the common sizes.

Anyway, its installed, no leaks and plenty of hot water. Thanks for your suggestions. Mike
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: