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Thread: Water Heater

  1. #1
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    Default Water Heater

    Here's a new one I've never encountered. Found out today that the gas water heater is leaking, the interesting thing is that the intake is on the side of the tank, about 18" from the bottom, while the outlet is still on the top of the tank. One piece of info that may have bearing here is that this is a trailer, manufactured home if you must be politically correct.

    The question I put out to the plumbing pros is this, can I install a standard top inlet/outlet tank or do I somehow have to find a side inlet tank?

    The next question is, if I use a standard top inlet/outlet tank, what is going to be the easiest means of extending the plastic inlet side pipe. Normally, I'd say it was pex, but since this is a trailer, odds are that it is anything BUT pex, and it is not likely an industry standard size, but some stupid ass trailer manufacturer size. What I'm tempted to do is just extend the copper flex connection with another long flex connection that is a standard size. My other option would be to have my plumber come extend the pipe and let him deal with any irregularities between industry standard sized pex and whatever this crap is in this trailer.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    You can use a regular NG water heater, but why switch? A mobile home water heater is designed for tight spaces and is readily available.

    If you want to use a regular WH, make the necessary adjustments: raise the cold supply pipe to the top of the WH, rather than using a long copper flex or two flex pipes together. I can't remember the max length of flex allowed in CA, but it's better to bring the pipe closer.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    You can use a regular NG water heater, but why switch? A mobile home water heater is designed for tight spaces and is readily available.

    If you want to use a regular WH, make the necessary adjustments: raise the cold supply pipe to the top of the WH, rather than using a long copper flex or two flex pipes together. I can't remember the max length of flex allowed in CA, but it's better to bring the pipe closer.
    As I have had time to think about this, it has occurred to me that trailers usually require items that are specifically "trailer" rated, which means sourcing a trailer water heater is probably the best way to go. I'm going to take the spec's to my supplier and see what they've got. Hopefully this will be relatively painless.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    I don't see any problem using a regular water heater, except that it may be a challenge to find one that fits in the available space. A family member lived in a trailer where the water heater was accessed via a door on the outside. When the water heater needed replacing, it was discovered that the water heater would not fit through the door. Replacement required demolishing part of the bathroom -- which needed to be done anyway because the shower "enclosure" was Masonite panels covered with vinyl and not well-sealed which led to rot.

    If the supply line has a standard outside diameter according to the table below, you can use "Shark Bite" type fittings to adapt and extend it to the top of the tank.

    Nominal = Actual outside diameter
    3/8" = 1/2"
    1/2" = 5/8"
    5/8" = 3/4"
    3/4" = 7/8"
    1" = 1+1/8"

    If you have 5/8" nominal pipe (3/4" outside diameter) you may have a hard time finding an appropriate fitting; it's kind of an odd size.

    Be sure to set up the T&P relief valve so that it drains to the outside or underneath. By code, the end of the T&P pipe should not be threaded.
    Last edited by Fencepost; 11-13-2013 at 12:15 AM.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    Investigated the water heater closet for dimensions and water heater size, and it looks like I can use a standard water heater. Checked with the plumbing supplier today and they've never heard of a side inlet tank, so it isn't just me who thinks this set up is weird! The supply lines are 3/4 I.D. and 7/8 O.D., so Shark Bite fittings will be used to extend the supply line to the top of the tank and to replace the existing flex lines.

    As Fencepost noted, the exiting tank and the replacements won't just slide through the door because the morons installed the gas supply in the way, so looks like I get to heft the old and new water heaters up and over.

    Have I mentioned before just how much I HATE trailers?
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    So spruce, what did you end up doing?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    So spruce, what did you end up doing?
    Went with a conventional top supply tank and extended the lines with Sharkbite fittings and copper. Those Sharkbites are pretty cool and easy to use. I even added a shutoff valve before the tank for the next time there is a service issue.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    Good thing about the shut off valve, besides it's code.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    But this is a manufactured home, codes don't apply, at least not when the pieces of junk are built.

    In this instance the shutoff is kind of superfluous, in that the water main valve is directly below the water heater closet, but I agree, having the extra degree of convenience is a good thing.

    Now all I have to do is change out the fire stop in the top of the closet. Again, it's a trailer, so obviously there were no codes when it was built, but their idea of running the flue was to use masking tape to hold two section of the flue together, good thing that a flue never gets hot. They also cut a 3" hole in the drywall (fire stop ) and stuffed the 3" flue through it, drywall touching the flue. Good thing the paper on that drywall isn't flammable or that flues never get hot.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Water Heater

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    But this is a manufactured home, codes don't apply, at least not when the pieces of junk are built.
    Codes do apply to trailers, but they are not the same as the ones for permanent structures and they are so minimal as to be almost worthless. Plus they are dealt with where it was built with lax enforcement involved. I've done a fair amount of work on trailers and I have discovered that most things involved are trailer-only items that cost at least three times as much as a site-built home's equivalent (if such exists). The trailer manufacturer gets this stuff cheaper and it's all designed to be put together by workers with minimal training which is why they use it. It often lasts about as long as the manufacturer's warranty. Where a problem arises it's smart to convert to standard parts and sizes since it will otherwise happen again and sooner than you would want since the replacement parts are the same junk that failed the first time!

    I remember seeing a side-fed WH somewhere but I can't recall where. So long as you can fit it in, a standard replacement is a far better idea.

    Phil

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