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Author Topic: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!  (Read 1694 times)

Tom Bourke

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Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« on: November 23, 2017, 03:03:57 am »

So, in laws are in town this week and the water heater starts leaking.  Joy, we bought this house this year and the water heater install was not to code.  So it's not just a quick swap.  Have to move the pipes around to accommodate putting the heater on a stand.  Also the T&P drain is WRONG, very very WRONG.  Oh yeah, this is the laundry room and they just smashed over the dryer duct to wedge this thing in.

The fix involves ripping out one studs bay worth of drywall and insulation.  It is FULL of dryer lint.  Father in law and I spend the better part of 2 days ripping out old parts, buying new parts, and clean up the insulation and lint.  BTW mid project was a detour to replace the main house shut off valve in the front yard because it was useless.  I have never seen the entire ball of a ball valve eaten away like that!

When we opened the wall we found some tees and multiple runs going under the slab.  Since I am doing a thermostatic mixing valve I thought it would be cool if one of those lines went to the kitchen so I could feed that hotter water.  But how to trace out the copper pipes with out cutting them?  It dawned on me I could use my amp clamp meter and a PSU to trace current on the pipes.  So I found a lamp that draws 1 A at 12 V and a PSU.  It WORKED better than I could have hoped.  With the water heater bond off and a long wire ran to the fixture under test I could easily read the 1 A on only one pipe.

Oh yeah, the fire extinguisher.  Last joint of the day. I managed to hit that one little bit of lint in a gap behind a stud that caught and started spreading upwards.  Dam, first time for everything.  Grabbed a brand new extinguisher and let her rip.

While typing this I was sitting fire watch to make sure it was all out.  About an hour after clean up was done my father in law notices a wisp of smoke.  The fire was still smoldering behind a 2X4.  Hit it with the hose.  We ended up opening the next bay over and cut out the 2X4.  Hit it with more water.  It was kind of strange framing right at a wall junction.  Lots of places for fire to hide.  Its all out now.  No major damage.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Keep a hose handy!



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Kemper Watson

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 11:14:48 am »

 Where are you and what kind of heater?. Here in Ga the new closed system heaters are not required to be on stands. And I didn't see you mention a thermal expansion tank. They are required by manufacturers and local ordinances alike..The warranty can be void if not installed.
Just an FYI.
 Edit:: What was the thermostatic valve going to?. Here they are used on two handle tub valves like in a soaker tub. Where a pressure balance filler couldn't be used
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 11:17:54 am by Kemper Watson »
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 12:45:42 pm »

Glad you avoided disaster... 

Life gives us the test first, then the answers.

JR
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Tom Bourke

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 04:02:13 pm »

Here in Las Vegas they require a stand in the garage.  However the inspectors don't always make that distinction.  Since mine is next to a door to the garage I figure it's a good idea even if not required.

The mixing valve is a Honeywell Thermostatic.  I also have an expansion tank.
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 06:16:45 pm »

Got that  call from home a couple weeks ago just the day before I was scheduled to fly to China for work.

Figured I'd upgrade as long as I was changing it out.  Only problem is that it's wedged between the furnace's ducting.  Strange system that has the furnace going into the slab and coming up on the other side of the water heater to go into the family room (furnace and water heater are in a closet opposite the washer/dryer in a small passage to the garage.  Then there's another duct on the near side going upstairs.  Talking to folks who've been in the neighborhood, when the builders reversed some floor plans (typical for tracts) they were really ad hock with how they did it.  Had to take the new water heater back and find a standard grade that had less insulation and a smaller diameter.  Of course all the plumbing was crazy and I had to cut it way back and re-do things. 
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Kemper Watson

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 06:58:36 pm »

Here in Las Vegas they require a stand in the garage.  However the inspectors don't always make that distinction.  Since mine is next to a door to the garage I figure it's a good idea even if not required.

The mixing valve is a Honeywell Thermostatic.  I also have an expansion tank.

 I never understood the idea behind a stand. It was supposed to be a safeguard against a flammable liquid spill I guess, but I often found that space filled with odds and ends that were combustible. Newspapers, paint, and the like. I've come across many stands that have failed and many built into a room rotted out over time.
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Kemper Watson

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 06:59:32 pm »

Got that  call from home a couple weeks ago just the day before I was scheduled to fly to China for work.

Figured I'd upgrade as long as I was changing it out.  Only problem is that it's wedged between the furnace's ducting.  Strange system that has the furnace going into the slab and coming up on the other side of the water heater to go into the family room (furnace and water heater are in a closet opposite the washer/dryer in a small passage to the garage.  Then there's another duct on the near side going upstairs.  Talking to folks who've been in the neighborhood, when the builders reversed some floor plans (typical for tracts) they were really ad hock with how they did it.  Had to take the new water heater back and find a standard grade that had less insulation and a smaller diameter.  Of course all the plumbing was crazy and I had to cut it way back and re-do things.

Tankless??
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Tom Bourke

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2017, 10:47:39 pm »

I never understood the idea behind a stand. It was supposed to be a safeguard against a flammable liquid spill I guess, but I often found that space filled with odds and ends that were combustible. Newspapers, paint, and the like. I've come across many stands that have failed and many built into a room rotted out over time.
I think it has more to do with flammable vapors than direct spills.  Keep the ignition source above where the vapors normally accumulate.  The side benefit in my install is that it gives me space on an outside wall to vent the dryer.

BTW the install passed inspection with out even a hint of hesitation.  Even told him about my fiasco with the lint fire.
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I have a mild form of Dyslexia that affects my ability to spell.  I do use spell checking to help but it does not always work.  My form of Dyslexia does not affect my reading.  Dyslexics of the world untie! <a href="http://www.cwalv.com" target="_blank">http://www.cwalv.com</a>

Kemper Watson

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2017, 07:51:30 am »

I think it has more to do with flammable vapors than direct spills.  Keep the ignition source above where the vapors normally accumulate.  The side benefit in my install is that it gives me space on an outside wall to vent the dryer.

BTW the install passed inspection with out even a hint of hesitation.  Even told him about my fiasco with the lint fire.

Good job. How long did it take you?? I install probably 40 a year. I have a pump to evacuate the water while i'm prepping the new one for install. My record is 45 minutes.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Fun with plumbing, electricity, and a fire extinguisher!
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2017, 10:21:27 am »

OK on the subject of plumbing... how often do you replace the anode in your hot water tank, and how do you get the old one out...?

I have a 1/2" breaker bar with pipe extension and all it does is rotate the entire heater.

Perhaps it's time to invest in an impact wrench.  :(

JR
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