Wondering about wild grapes

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yesterdays battle with the hot water tank

Yep, had me a battle with the hot water tank and Ole Ben wants me to tell you all about it.  It sprung a leak in the flexible cold water inlet line.  I had my well water tested awhile back and it had a very low ph; it was very acidic.  That causes any metal to rust, or in the case of the copper flexible tube, eat a hole in it.  In the picture below you can see the cold water inlet plumbing.  I discovered that there is no shut off for it.  I am planning to put one where the yellow star is located.  I also noticed that the nipple on the right (red star) is badly rusted.

Here is another picture of the same plumbing as seen from above:

And here is a close up of the rusted nipple (red star):

Since there was no shut off, I had to shut the water off to the whole house. The shut off valve was the first priority. Went to the local hardware store and got everything I needed. Drained the tank (that took awhile) and then cut the inlet pipe and installed the shut off valve. Had a problem getting the male part of the compression fitting into the plastic pipe. Went back to the hardware store to see if they had a different size and they said to just heat the end of the plastic pipe. That I did with a hair dryer and it worked. So finally got the water back on to the house. Then I tried to get the rest of the stuff apart. The flex pipe was corroded so badly that it almost tore apart before it broke loose. The end of the existing nipple was rusted pretty bad so I tried to clean the threads as best I could and put it all together. Turned on the water, and you guessed it, it leaked at the rusted nipple.


Took it apart and tried to get the nipple out. My old pipe wrench would slip. The vice grips also slipped since I had to pull with all my strength. The nipple would not budge. So, back to the hardware store for a another flex tube, nipple, and a new pipe wrench.

I thought that I would never get that old nipple out. The rust had it dang near welded in place. Finally after repeated WD-40 soakings and a couple of pulled muscles, it came loose. I wanted to replace it with one an inch longer but the store was out of those and had to go two inches longer. To make a long story a little shorter, I got everything back together. SEE:


Here is the new nipple:

I thought that I was all done when I noticed a few drops coming from the area around the new valve.  It was the connection of the flex pipe to the plastic nipple.  It was not tight enough to compress the gasket.  I tried to tighten it and the nipple just kept going further and further into the valve.  I hate to have to drain the 40 gallon tank again just to redo the nipple.  I hate plastic plumbing.  Here is a picture of the culprit:


You all have a good day now, you hear?  It is the first day of summer.

14 comments:

  1. Plumbing is one of those things that can do some parts of, but would rather pay someone else to do!

    My cousin is a licensed plumber...as was his father! Made a decent living off it for a long time. One of those services that will always be needed!

    Glad you got it going again!

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  2. One question? Why didn't you replace the steel nipple with a galvanized one rather then black pipe? Galvanized is for water and black pipe is for natural gas and propane. The black pipe will rust a lot sooner.

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  3. BTW its already been summer her since the day spring was supposed to start.

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  4. yea,why did you use not use galvanized pipe?

    Now go shower off!!! Bet your smell so bad your dogs won't come to you.:-)

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  5. HJ, I am beginning to feel sore and maybe I should have called your cousin.

    David, Cause I am brain dead sometime. You know, if my foresight was as good as my hindsight. . .
    And it only got up to 100 for a short time today. This has been the coolest day for quite a spell.

    Ben, I am just a big dummy, you know that. And no shower, it ain't Saturday night yet (grin)

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  6. Actually should have used a brass nipple or a dielectric nipple, black iron or galvanized hooked to copper present a dis similar metals situation and can cause corrosion or a build up of minerals at the connection causing a clog. just an ex plumbers 2 cents.

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  7. Don't worry Dizzy, your tank will most likely spring a leak before the nipple goes again. :) Hey, I'm just trying to cheer you up.

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  8. Seth, I just tried to replace what was there. You do have a valid point. Maybe I should sit it out in the yard and use it for target practice.

    SixBears, You are probably right, I am surprised it has lasted this long. When I get a new one, I will plumb it a little different. Of course when I do something it always turns out different (grin).

    If I need really hot water, I just need to lay a hose out in the sun for a few minutes. Wow, it gets hot.

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  9. Careful screwing a nipple into a female plastic fitting like your valve. It acts as a wedge and will eventually split the valve body. I agree with the others on choice of nipples, black irons gonna be a problem. A bronze ball valve would have been a better choice albeit more expensive.

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  10. Spud, dumb me just figured that since it was plastic pipe, just keep every thing plastic and what was steel, I kept steel. I just wan't thinking. Only thin on my mind was getting it done. It is 11 years old, and that is a long time to survive this asidic water.

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