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Bradford White heat traps

ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,285
A friend of mine told me I should unscrew the factory installed fittings in my new bradford white water heater and replace them with male copper adapters instead as the heat traps will rott out much faster.

He is a plumber and I can only assume he has had problems with these in the past.



I'm curious what everyone else's opinion is on this? 
Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

Comments

  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    Huh??

    The heat trap nipples that BWC uses are a Clear Flow nipple, which allegedly STOPS any di-electric connection.



    I've not seen any failures of these devices. They can be noisy at times, but such is the nature of the beast.



    Making a known dis-similar metal connection WILL cause the lesser of the two noble metals (steel tank) to degrade.



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Member Posts: 1,922
    In the bad old days...

    ... plastic lined nipples (used in heat traps) were lined with plastic inside, but not around the ends of the nipple.  Modern lined nipples are better than that.  The old nipples could rust away at the threads.  That problem is almost entirely gone with the modern version.  Also, some heat traps now have just a rubber flap and are not noisy like the old ball type.



    Another approach is to use a lined nipple in the tank and go to a long copper flex connector to make a heat trap.  In any event, mixing metals is a no-no.



    Yours,  Larry
  • meplumbermeplumber Member Posts: 678
    Dielectric Unions.

    It has been a while since I took the time to read the fine print of my Uniform Plumbing Code, but....Are dielectric unions no longer required at electric water heaters?



    I have come across 3 installations in the last week where they were not used. I still use them and will continue to.
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    A UNION is required....

    Dissimilar metal connections are still NOT allowed on potable water systems.



    Personally, I think unions invite trouble from weekend warriors who look at unions as mechanical velcro. No soldering necessary... If the tank is too short, just stack up some bricks and get 'er done :-)



    I always tell my inspectors that if the person working on the system doesn't know how to work on piping without having a good working knowledge of piping systems, maybe they SHOULDN'T be working on the system.



    Only lost that argument once...



    ME



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • meplumbermeplumber Member Posts: 678
    Dug out the code book.

    The version of the IAPMO as adopted by the State of Maine, requires unions within 12" of water heaters, pressure regulating equipment, conditioning tanks, and similar equipment.



    The requirement for a proper transition between dissimilar metals is still in there. We have always killed both birds with one stone. A dielectric union satisfied both requirements.



    I agree with you in concept Mark. But, we don't deal with a lot of home owner problems in my area. Fortunate I guess.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,285
    code

    After reading your responses I dug out my code book and sure enough they are required. I did know about the unions being required within 12 inches but not about the dielectric couplers.



    The heat traps that come with the Bradford White heaters are also dielectric couplers as well correct?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    Dielectric unions and corrosion...

    Somewhere in one of my many PC's I have numerous pictures of dielectric unions that are nearly corroded shut. A professor who taught me solar (Dr. George Lof) said that when he was a young engineer, he tested dielectric unions in aqueous solutions and found that most of them generated enough electricity from the electrolysis process to light a small bulb... In fact, he said that a connection between copper and galvanized steel produced less stray current.



    When I was a young apprentice plumber, I went before the city council in my city, with a box full of corroded dielectric unions, and convinced the city to eliminate them from the code.



    The organization who really fought hard to get the union provision through was the Apartment Owners Association. Their reasoning was that their lesser skilled technicians could replace like components with like components without the need for a licensed plumber....



    It's not so much who you know, as much as it is how much money you have for lobbying purposes. With the right money, and the right people, you can get pretty much anything your heart desires through the code process. Just another reason I dislike dielectric unions.



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,847
    Mark,

    Just curious. What's your opinion/experience with the newer ones that use plastic isolators. We're being made to put them on any dis-similar connection by the inspectors around here, including closed hydronic loops. I still prefer brass to transition but don't know if it's any better.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    Tell me more Bob...

    I don't do much turning and burning these days. Working smarter,and not harder :-)



    Tell me more about these unions. Are they plastic lined or something?



    Personally, my experience with yellow brass as an isolator is unflawed. Have not had or seen a failure. I am hoping that it is still in the code as a permissable means of dissimilar isolation.



    MOST inspectors are former contractors, and have some degree of common sense. Some of them have no common sense at all, and feel their job is not to wonder why, but to enforce or die...



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • meplumbermeplumber Member Posts: 678
    I know the old dielectric of which you speak.

    The new ones have a plastic separator around the union nut and a thick epdm gasket between the union mating surfaces. The older ones were absolute crap. No argument. I have seen no corrosion on the newer ones.



    I will look for a link to the newer ones. Maybe Bob has a link.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,847
    New Style Dielectric

    Here's a link to a Grainger catalogue page with them. Notice the yellow plastic isolator.





    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/Dielectric-Union-2TFA3?Pid=search
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Dialectic Union Failures:

    This is just me.

    In over 40 years, I've never seen a water heater fail where a copper fitting went into a tank. I've seen failures on the top of the "special" nipple where a copper adapter was screwed in. Tank failures were always in the tank or where elements screwed into the tank.

    I see dialectic unions fail all the time. Here's a place where. The local LP gas supplier does installs. They install a dialectic union where an underground line from the tank comes out of the ground. When I am turning houses on and off, I do a walk around to get the sill cocks. On many more than one occasion, I have smelled gas and found the dialectic union corroded to the point that it has started to leak. "I" am the one who found it. I have never seen this happen with a standard cast.malleable iron union.

    I think I once found a dialectic union on a water heater (installed by others) where I was replacing the heater that had failed.

    Code requirements aside (where I work), the AHJ has never asked for unions on water heaters. I can count on one hand where I have used unions and I could probably count on one hand, the amount that were installed. They are usually installed by homeowners/unlicensed handypersons that read in a DYS book that you must put them in.

    That's my experience.
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    Looks like the same ol' crap to me :-)

    Maybe they changed the material for the female base. I think they use to use pot metal or aluminum, and that is where the corrosion products would grow/accumulate,



    What I was told, was that the plastic and rubber do in fact create a break in the external continuity, but the aquoes solution (H2O, a.k.a. water to those of you in Rosa Linda) creates the internal electrical connection to promote the corrosion. That, compounded by the fact that they are using some sort of cheapo metal for the base contributes to its failure.



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
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