Electric Hot Water Heater has Additional Lines

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Old 06-28-13, 12:32 PM
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Electric Hot Water Heater has Additional Lines

My 40 Gal electric water heater went and I want to replace it. I plan to size it up to a 50 Gal tank. My water heater has a couple additional lines to the tank, besides the hot and cold lines. They are 3/8" copper lines...similar to the ones that would feed an ice maker. I attached a couple pictures of the set up on the current tank. Do I need to carry these same connections over to the new tank? Has anyone seen something like this before?

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Thanks for any info/help!
 
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Old 06-28-13, 12:54 PM
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I'm not seeing anything that was plumb right on that whole thing.
I'd hire a real licensed plumber to trace all those lines and replumb it.
 
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Old 06-28-13, 01:24 PM
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I think it is an air recovery system that is hooked up to the A/C, but I am pretty sure it is no longer connected.
 
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Old 06-28-13, 03:00 PM
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If the larger replacement heater draws more amps, then you will likely need to change the size of the 240-V branch circuit, including the circuit breaker and the wiring between the heater and the panel. If this is going to be a DIY job, the old heater may be a chore to remove if it is limed up and extra heavy.

I can't explain the two mystery lines. One is connected to the heater drain. Looks like a mess to me.
 
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Old 06-28-13, 03:27 PM
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I'm going to move this thread to the "Water Heaters" forum.

My suggestion... like others... it's a mess.

You need to trace out the lines and find out where they go, their purpose, and whether you need them or not.

Then, plumb them properly.

If I hadda guess, I would say that homeowner added them at some point. That wasn't done by licensed plumber.
 
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Old 06-28-13, 04:12 PM
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AFAIK T&P drains shouldn't run uphill either.
 
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Old 06-28-13, 04:28 PM
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You didn't say why you are replacing the heater - but since it has to be re-plumbed anyway, I would replace it.

Since you seemingly don't recognize the unsafe mess here, I don't think this should be a DIY job for you. Had you thought about the electrical issues involving a larger heater? How about the weight of the old boiler?

I think I may see a T&P relief valve, but it is not piped to the floor as required.

Did you recently purchase this house? Was there a professional inspection as part of the purchase? I wonder what other serious issues may exist - I think you need professional help to look over the whole house.
 
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Old 06-28-13, 11:29 PM
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There may have been or may be a heat pump with water heating capabilities attached to that hot water heater. It circulates the heated water through the additional lines. Both heaters 40 or 50 gal will most likely run on 240 volts and have 4500watt elements so there is no difference in the electrical requirements.
 
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Old 06-29-13, 11:03 AM
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Brain Cramp

Can't think of what it's called. If your kitchen is a long way off you can pipe them so you don't have to wait for hot water? Circulating pump or something like that????
 
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Old 06-29-13, 11:43 AM
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Hot water recirculating system, or instant hot water recirculating system. Never saw one rigged like that though.
 
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Old 07-01-13, 06:49 AM
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I ended up calling a plumber out, since I wasn't sure what the lines were for. We recently bought the house, but the inspector didn't say anything about the hook-up. A family friend of mine, who is a licensed plumber, said whatever was done previously, was done illegally or against code. The additional lines were for a heat recovery system that runs water through the A/C compressor unit then through a heat pump and back into the heater. Essentially it creates free hot water when the A/C runs, which is non stop here in FL during the summer. The plumber said they were a good idea, but never really worked correctly. The system was abandoned in place before we moved in, but the lines were never disconnected from the heater. I spent a little extra money having someone come out and fix it, but now I have the knowledge of what was, and is, going on in the house we just bought...plus I have $50 worth of copper I can sell off!
 
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Old 07-01-13, 06:57 AM
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Thanks for the update.

Kinda funny...one of the latest and greatest new WHs is a mini heatpump type model. Similar to what was rigged up at your place only an all-in-one unit.
 
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Old 07-01-13, 03:19 PM
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Different.
A low-pressure liquid refrigerant is vaporized in the water heater heat pump's evaporator and passed into the compressor. As the pressure of the refrigerant increases, so does its temperature. The heated refrigerant runs through a condenser coil within the storage tank, transferring heat to the water stored there. As the refrigerant delivers its heat to the water, it cools and condenses, and then passes through an expansion valve where the pressure is reduced and the cycle starts over.
A heat pump with secondary water heating acts as a heat pump or air conditioner as needed for the house. Water from the water heater tank is circulated to absorb the heat generated at the compressor through a system of piping and a coil around the compressor. The compressor, controls and most of the components are located inside the home and the outdoor unit contains the condensing coil and fan. It was free water heating.
Had mine for twenty years till I upgraded to a new 16 seer heat pump. Worked fine but I should have had a mixing valve as water got as hot as 170.
 
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