Thursday, June 25, 2009

If it ain't broke, I'll fix it.

So I decided to put flex lines on the water heater because I don't apparently have enough to do already. That and I'm paranoid about gas leaks. This all looks pretty straight forward, but there was a lot of elbow grease required and I had to pull out the cheater bar to get some of the old connections to budge. Here's the new gas flex line installed with yellow Gas Line PTFE Thread Seal Tape on the ends. I checked after I connected it for leaks with soapy water, and everything was copasetic.

Flex gas line installed

Here's the old water connections with the shut-off valve. They're 1/2" nominal copper pipe, which is unusual - the standard water pipe size on a water heater is 3/4" nominal copper. Note the dielectric unions to eliminate corrosion caused by battery effect between the copper pipes and iron in the heater.

The original setup

I cleaned up the pipes where I'd be making my cuts and putting on my compression valves:

Pipes sanded clean

Here's my lovely water shut-off valve:

Turning off the water to the house

Here's my tight spaces circular pipe cutter ready to cut:

Cutter connected

No turning back now!

Pipes cut

Pipes gone, unions removed. I left nubs for my compression valves to attach to.

Pipes detached

Here's the new shut-off valve I made with a small piece of scrap copper joining it to the 1/2" copper to 3/4" MIPS adapter.

Compression fitting connected to valve

Adapter's and shut-off installed.

3/4" MIPS to 1/2" nominal installed

Here's my first try:

Attempt #1

The copper flex lines were really hard to work with and kinked pretty bad and then the whole thing ended up leaking anyway because the water heater nipples had corroded so bad I couldn't get a firm seal to the flex lines. Luckily I already had some new combination nipples / dielectric unions:

New dielectric Nipple

The old nipples were a B!TC# to get out, this is where I brought out the two foot long cheater bar to get the leverage to pull them out.

Nipple decay

Here's my second attempt with some steel sheathed "flexible" water heater connectors. These were the shortest that Home Depot sold - 15". No leaks but it looked awful, and the kinks would not smooth out.

Attempt #2

This held for a couple days while I waited for the special order 12" stainless steel connectors I ordered online to arrive. They were cheaper than the Home Depot ones, got here super quick and were a dream to work with in comparison. Here's the finished project:

We have a winner!

I'm really glad I did this seeing how corroded the old nipples were. Next up: Installing the insulating blanket I have had sitting in the basement for the water heater for the last year.

Also, I will try to compete with my wifes awesome blog in the dimension of our super cute daughter. I have Lithium Batteries in the camera now so it shouldn't die every time I try to take pix, and I got a card reader ($13 at Office Depot!) so I don't have to find that dang proprietary cord every GD time. Also, we have pix from Abbey running the 5k in April that I should put up.

Oh, I dropped Sophers off at Daycare this morning where it was Bike Day. I let her ride her "bike":
Plasma Car

in to daycare so I could fit her helmet. It was hilarious because she did her victory laps she usually does when she goes in except zooming at top speed on her bike. Everyone was laughing and the other kids were screaming in delight. Too cute.