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Questions about check valves and deep sockets
Today I finally hooked up the 40 gal. water heater as a storage for for my previously tankless coil. The heating elements are not powered. As recommended here, I'm using a Taco 006 circulator and an SR501 single-zone relay. The relay is controlled by the water-heater thermostats, and the boiler aquastat is the 180 degree high-limit only. When there is no call for hot water, the boiler won't run unless the thermostat calls for heat. This should save some fuel, not keeping the boiler simmering at 180 all summer, and the tank (currently set at 125) is well insulated so that also should cut the heat losses. It is working perfectly - only took a few minutes to heat the 40 gal and for the first time in three years I didn't have to play with the shower or sink faucets to get constant temperature!
But when the circulator pump is running, forcing coil-heated water into the bottom tank port, there is some backflow into the cold water input (that CPVC pipe feels warm but not hot all the way back to the tee where the cold water is supplied, about five feet). It isn't warm when the pump is off. So it looks like I need to put a check valve in the cold water line. There are several different models (and a large price range). Would the inexpensive bronze "swing" check valve work? Or the pricier Watts No. 7?
The second problem is that there is a little seeping at the bottom of the tank, just enough to be annoying, and of course it's the one connection I can't repair easily. It's the pipe-threaded fitting at the bottom of the tank that I screwed into the (3/4" NPT) hole where the cheap plastic drain valve used to be. I don't think I tightened it enough, although I did use pipe dope -it's recessed into the jacket and was hard to get a grip on.
So the question is, does anyone know of a special (1" hex) deep socket that can tighten a fitting with a 1/2" copper tube sticking out of it? Since I'll have to drain the tank anyway, the simplest fix would be to cut the tubing, tighten the fitting, and solder in a coupling. If not, I guess installing a 3/4" pipe nipple long enough to get a monkey wrench on is the next best thing...
Of course I may just call a plumber, especially since the bottom of the tank is lower than my basement sink and there's no floor drain in the basement, so a pump would make draining the tank much simpler. Sigh...