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Old 10-12-2013, 08:07 PM   #41
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Epic fail for the twist-on "gator" connectors the #@%@ guy at Lowe's sold me. I guess I'll learn how to sweat copper pipe after all. On a Sunday morning. %$@*!

So now we come to the end of day 3 of no shower for DW, no joy for Harry.

Getting late. Now it's time to head to BIL's house for showers.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:54 AM   #42
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DW says this is my motto:

"Have I told you lately how much I hate $#%! plumbing!"

Hope the rest of your Sunday goes well Harry. You have my deepest sympathies.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:02 AM   #43
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Stealing a quote from a former E-R.org member: "Who the heck came up with the idea to pipe water INSIDE a house? Probably some woman..."

Sweating copper pipe isn't too difficult. Be sure to get all the water out first - you can use some bread to do that.

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Old 10-13-2013, 10:22 AM   #44
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Any reason you did not replace it with a tank less? I did.
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:53 PM   #45
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Fortunately, my vocabalary proved adequate for the wresting part. I've said it before: there is no doubt that plumbing has the highest cuss-words-per-hour rate of any home repair category.
A favorite quote from Mark Twain:
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Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.
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Epic fail for the twist-on "gator" connectors the #@%@ guy at Lowe's sold me. I guess I'll learn how to sweat copper pipe after all. On a Sunday morning. %$@*!
Dang, those Gator (or Sharkbite) connectors have been working great for me. Before trying to sweat copper, I'd give these another try--make sure the ends of the pipes are cut evenly and there are no burs, and that the pipe is clean, smooth, clean, and clean (which you'll have to do anyway if you eventually have to solder them). Tip, If you do have to sweat the pipes, see if you can find the type of fittings (made by Watts, maybe others) that have the solder already inside them (located inside a small recess located around the entire mating area). I've never had a failure with one of these, whereas I have about an 80% success rate with regular fittings.
If you haven't done it before, practice somewhere convenient on some extra pipe and fittings. Get the pipes and fittings clean (did I say that already?), use enough flux, get everything very hot, and be sure not to move the fittings until the solder is hard.

After you get all done, buy a water alarm from Lowes or HD and set it up to tell you if that overflow pan gets filled again. And if you have a pan under an AC evaporator coil up in that attic, definitely put another alarm in there while you are already in the attic. Run the wires to the attic door and put the actual units there so you can easily change the batteries. The exit tubes from these pans have a bad habit of getting clogged up (with algae, etc in the case of the AC coils) and getting an alarm early can save you from replacing a lot of ceiling, etc.

Thanks for the barrel hitch drawing, I've never heard of that. It looks handy.

Good luck!
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:06 PM   #46
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A favorite quote from Mark Twain:


After you get all done, buy a water alarm from Lowes or HD and set it up to tell you if that overflow pan gets filled again. And if you have a pan under an AC evaporator coil up in that attic, definitely put another alarm in there while you are already in the attic. Run the wires to the attic door and put the actual units there so you can easily change the batteries. The exit tubes from these pans have a bad habit of getting clogged up (with algae, etc in the case of the AC coils) and getting an alarm early can save you from replacing a lot of ceiling, etc.



Good luck!
When I had the HVAC at my house updated they put float switches in the drain pan under the coil. If the pan reaches a level, then the switch cuts the unit off, which is sure to get ones attention.

This also solves the problem if no one is home and the pan fills up.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:16 PM   #47
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It's 6 pm on Sunday and I'm done. The water and gas are staying in the pipes, the burner has a nice blue flame. DW should be happy taking her evening shower soon.

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Sweating copper pipe isn't too difficult. Be sure to get all the water out first - you can use some bread to do that.
Thanks, REW. The bread trick turned out to be necessity. Both the main water supply to the house and the cold water pipe into the water heater have valves that no longer close 100%. By opening several faucets in the house and stuffing some bread into the cold water inlet pipe downstream of the valve, I was able to hold back the water from where the joint needed to be soldered.

I used whole grain wheat.

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Any reason you did not replace it with a tank less? I did.
Go ahead, rub it in...

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If you haven't done it before, practice somewhere convenient on some extra pipe and fittings. Get the pipes and fittings clean (did I say that already?), use enough flux, get everything very hot, and be sure not to move the fittings until the solder is hard.

After you get all done, buy a water alarm from Lowes or HD and set it up to tell you if that overflow pan gets filled again. And if you have a pan under an AC evaporator coil up in that attic, definitely put another alarm in there while you are already in the attic.
All good tips Samclem, but practicing and using fittings that work the first time are contrary to my standard plumbing procedures.

I did find a few YouTube soldering videos that were very helpful. The two joints I soldered are working just fine. The threaded fittings, on the other hand, were a pain. There were several false completions.

The inventor of Teflon tape should be punished - was the world really having big issues with smearing some paste on the threads and wiping the excess on a rag?

Water alarms are definitely on my list, particularly since my I'm effectively self-insured for water leaks thanks to terms of the standard Texas homeowners insurance policy.

Final tally: about three days lost, about $750 paid (including $100 in tools and gadgets that I can use again.) And I get to post in the "repairs you are proud of" thread.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:17 PM   #48
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I used whole grain wheat.
Real professional use only plumbers cracked wheat...
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:59 PM   #49
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My parents bought a house in 1967. When I sold the house in 1996 the water heater was still working just fine. It's only in the last 10 years or so that I have been told water heaters only lasted about 15 years. I had to replace the heater in the house I own now and the service man figured it was about 25 years old.
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:28 PM   #50
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Any reason you did not replace it with a tank less? I did.
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Go ahead, rub it in...
There are lots of reasons to not replace it with a tank less.

You might need to upgrade the gas/electric feed to the unit.

You might need to upgrade the exhaust.

Some people have issues with them - trying to run a trickle of warm water when rinsing dishes are something like that, can cause the unit to not trigger and you only get cold water.

They are generally more expensive than a tank unit.

They are probably less reliable (don't have #'s on this, but they are more complex, so it stands to reason).

What's the payback? It doesn't cost much to keep hot water hot, the expense comes in getting it hot in the first place - and that's the same tank or tank-less.

Some people seem to be happy with them, but I don;t think it's cut and dried.

-ERD50
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:34 AM   #51
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I bought a new anode rod, and the old one was so tight that I was very scared I was going to break something, or knock the tank over and break the plumbing connections trying to get it out. So I left it.

I think I've read suggestions to pull it when new, and put a good coat of thread lube on it, so it can be pulled out later. Maybe loosen it every few years, just to break it loose?

-ERD50
When the plumbers came to replace my water heater, they pulled the anode rod out of the old one, just to show me I guess. They removed it by laying the water heater on its side (outdoors!), resting against a huge boulder, and then used a wrench with like a 6 foot pipe extension on it, and he used a lot of his muscle and weight and all that leverage to break it loose, still with quite a bit of effort. He showed me that the rod was pretty much gone - down to a nub - but at the same time I realized that there was no way I could ever get one of those out on my own!
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:18 PM   #52
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My parents bought a house in 1967. When I sold the house in 1996 the water heater was still working just fine. It's only in the last 10 years or so that I have been told water heaters only lasted about 15 years. I had to replace the heater in the house I own now and the service man figured it was about 25 years old.
I am a home inspector and see 2 water heaters a day. We quote in our reports that the "typical life is 7-12 years". I am also a landlord, and last December I bought a house built in 1962 that still had the original water heater...although it stopped working the week before I bought the house (they disclosed it as failed). You get what you pay for with water heaters...the ones with longer warranties have larger anode rods that will make them last longer. I would estimate that I see lots of water heater that are 12-15 years old still working in houses...but rarely do I see one more than 15 years old unless it's leaking.

P.S. IMO by draining a small amount out of the bottom valve (not the TPR valve) each year and getting some of the sediment out...you can extend the life by about 25%...but don't do this unless you do some research first...you may regret it!!

~1962 Water heater

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IMG_1225.JPG
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:22 PM   #53
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There are lots of reasons to not replace it with a tank less.

You might need to upgrade the gas/electric feed to the unit.

You might need to upgrade the exhaust.

Some people have issues with them - trying to run a trickle of warm water when rinsing dishes are something like that, can cause the unit to not trigger and you only get cold water.

They are generally more expensive than a tank unit.

They are probably less reliable (don't have #'s on this, but they are more complex, so it stands to reason).

What's the payback? It doesn't cost much to keep hot water hot, the expense comes in getting it hot in the first place - and that's the same tank or tank-less.

Some people seem to be happy with them, but I don;t think it's cut and dried.

-ERD50
I agree, they are quite expensive as far as up front cost. I am a home inspector and out of the roughly 300 houses I've inspected in the past year, I've only seen one tankless unit.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:26 PM   #54
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P.S. IMO by draining a small amount out of the bottom valve (not the TPR valve) each year and getting some of the sediment out...you can extend the life by about 25%...but don't do this unless you do some research first...you may regret it!!
Please explain.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:42 AM   #55
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I am a home inspector and see 2 water heaters a day. We quote in our reports that the "typical life is 7-12 years". ... . I would estimate that I see lots of water heater that are 12-15 years old still working in houses...but rarely do I see one more than 15 years old unless it's leaking.

P.S. IMO by draining a small amount out of the bottom valve (not the TPR valve) each year and getting some of the sediment out...you can extend the life by about 25%...but don't do this unless you do some research first...you may regret it!!
Mine is 27 YO! I meant to replace it a decade ago, and now I wonder if the replacement would have lasted 10 years!

I suspect that being on softened water is the key - very low mineral content once my well water goes through the ion exchange unit.

As i mentioned earlier, I could not get the anode free, so it's never been replaced (but I think the usefulness depends on the water?).

I also stopped draining off any sediment years ago - I feared that the change in pressure could trigger a leak in such an old unit. So I leave well enough alone.

I'm also curious about the right way to do this, IIRC, it really means relieving pressure, closing the input valve and draining off a fair amount of volume.

-ERD50
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:03 AM   #56
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P.S. IMO by draining a small amount out of the bottom valve (not the TPR valve) each year and getting some of the sediment out...you can extend the life by about 25%...but don't do this unless you do some research first...you may regret it!!

~1962 Water heater
I've heard that the major risk in doing this recommended purging is that cheap drain valve fitted to most water heaters. Either they break/snap off when trying to get them open, or they never close tightly again. Some folks say the best plan is to change them out, when brand new and free of corrosion, with a good valve and then the annual purging can be done without much risk. (BTW, this seems like another marketing opportunity for a WH maker that wants to distinguish itself from competitors. A better valve would probably cost them about $3 and it would be a selling point to some customers.)

I've got softened water, too, and I've wondered how it will impact the life of the WH. Lots fewer minerals than I'd have in the well water, but all that introduced salt can't be good for metal parts.

In Finance Dave's photos, if those are original galvanized pipes from 1962, their continued good health is nearly as surprising as the WH. Start looking for the picture of Dorian Gray somewhere in that house!
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:54 AM   #57
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I also stopped draining off any sediment years ago - I feared that the change in pressure could trigger a leak in such an old unit. So I leave well enough alone.
Maybe the sediment is acting like an internal sealant?
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