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Old 02-11-2009, 10:23 PM
 
3 posts, read 26,562 times
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Hi! I'm hoping there are plumbers and inspectors here who can answer some questions I have. Our water heater started leaking off the connectors at the top and the recommendation is for it to be replaced. I have one of these home warranties (merit of which I don't want to discuss here) and the contractor who came in mentioned that it was improperly installed (ergo, the warranty won't cover the replacement). The main culprit is that no dielectric union was used to link the copper pipe to the outlet/inlet of the water tank. I understand the benefits of having a dielectric union but does the NC state code really requires it? I'm also curious if there was any change on the code between 1997 (when it was installed) and now with regard to the use of these unions.

Also, is a crash post a requirement now? We have the gas-powered heater tank in the garage sitting on top of a 30in pedestal.

Where can I look for the current state building codes? Are there any online resources available? I'm a new home owner and as you can see I'm unfamiliar with a lot of these things.

TIA
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:44 PM
 
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Reputation: 10
Did you get an answer on your question regarding the hot water and dielectric union, etc. ? I have the same problem and currently dealing with the warranty company. After checking the original manufacturers manual, installation, etc., I called the manufacturer (Rheem) and was told that dielectric unions (nipples), transistional fittings were not part of the installation in 1997 nor do they recommend using them. Look forward to hearing back from you.
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Cary NC
611 posts, read 1,067,520 times
Reputation: 461
You can find building code information here:

http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/Engineerin...e Fire Marshal

There is a building code option on the left side of the page, 4th from the bottom.

Good luck finding what you are looking for.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Valley of the Sun
189 posts, read 329,173 times
Reputation: 215
If the previous posters link doesn't get you an answer I'd suggest a visit to your local building official. Most jurisdictions use IRC 2006 (International Residential Code) 2009 is out but it usually takes em a year or so to adopt the new one. They'll tell you exactly what action your situation requires.
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
998 posts, read 3,497,472 times
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I know you have to also add an expansion tank to the water heater to meet code today. Not sure when that changed.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:38 AM
 
904 posts, read 1,442,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc_rtp View Post
Hi! I'm hoping there are plumbers and inspectors here who can answer some questions I have. Our water heater started leaking off the connectors at the top and the recommendation is for it to be replaced. I have one of these home warranties (merit of which I don't want to discuss here) and the contractor who came in mentioned that it was improperly installed (ergo, the warranty won't cover the replacement). The main culprit is that no dielectric union was used to link the copper pipe to the outlet/inlet of the water tank. I understand the benefits of having a dielectric union but does the NC state code really requires it? I'm also curious if there was any change on the code between 1997 (when it was installed) and now with regard to the use of these unions.

Also, is a crash post a requirement now? We have the gas-powered heater tank in the garage sitting on top of a 30in pedestal.

Where can I look for the current state building codes? Are there any online resources available? I'm a new home owner and as you can see I'm unfamiliar with a lot of these things.

TIA
Your old water heater was 12 years old, which is about the average life span for a water heater. I don't know all of the specifics of your warranty claim, but their claims sound lame to me since it has lasted this long with no problems.

As for the pedestal, it is now required by code and is actually meant to reduce the chances of flammable vapors being ignited by the flame on your gas water heater. I built mine using cinder blocks and it looks much better and stronger than the store bought pedestals. As another poster said, there should be an expansion tank installed which is also required by code.

Good luck on your warranty claim....!
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:54 AM
 
2 posts, read 17,768 times
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Call the manufacturer of the water heater and ask if the dielectrical nipples/transistional fittings were part of the installation specifications. I Just finished settling.. after home warranty company denied claim based on improper installation. As it turned out, the water heater did not require the nipples or fittings, Rheem sent me by email information to validate my claim. If you find out that the original installation specifications did not require nor in my case recommend the dielectric etc., call for a 2nd opinion but watch out for the second company charging you ridiculous cost to upgrade--warranty company disallows upgrades. I opted for cashout which was a joke. They based cost on wholesale which of course you can't buy on the retail market. Depending on your coverage, permit costs, removal, and labor was included but again a 'joke' --cashout was a little over $500 for a 50 gal gas water heater. Good-luck
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:54 AM
 
1,489 posts, read 3,769,347 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starglow View Post
Your old water heater was 12 years old, which is about the average life span for a water heater. I don't know all of the specifics of your warranty claim, but their claims sound lame to me since it has lasted this long with no problems.

As for the pedestal, it is now required by code and is actually meant to reduce the chances of flammable vapors being ignited by the flame on your gas water heater. I built mine using cinder blocks and it looks much better and stronger than the store bought pedestals. As another poster said, there should be an expansion tank installed which is also required by code.

Good luck on your warranty claim....!
Exactly what I was thinking. Water heaters just don't usuall last that long anway.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:18 AM
 
3 posts, read 26,562 times
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Thank you all for the replies. I've raised the same point -- how can it be "improperly installed" and still last for 12yrs? -- but the warranty company (AHS) stood by their initial assessment. I've actually contacted the Inspection department of Raleigh and I was initially told over the phone that dielectric unions are not required in 1997 so I asked for an email that I can use to argue with AHS. However, when I got the email, the inspector qualified his verbal answer that, yes, a dielectric union wasn't required specifically but some type of transitional fittings still needs to be installed. I realized then that I may not have a basis to counter AHS rejection.

By the way, the original installation manual doesn't mention anything about a transitional fittings -- but then it mentions about the installation has to follow local codes . Oh, one more thing, if you plan to read through the building code yourself, you may as well take the licensing later. It's long-winded and convoluted... and at the end you may still not the find answer you're looking for. Just go find someone from the Inspection Office when you have concerns about building codes. They have nice and knowledgeable folks over there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coltank View Post
Exactly what I was thinking. Water heaters just don't usuall last that long anway.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:22 AM
 
3 posts, read 26,562 times
Reputation: 12
Lucky you! I've practically given up on my claim. Went through a second opinion and got the same result.

Quote:
Originally Posted by catwalk 442 View Post
Call the manufacturer of the water heater and ask if the dielectrical nipples/transistional fittings were part of the installation specifications. I Just finished settling.. after home warranty company denied claim based on improper installation. As it turned out, the water heater did not require the nipples or fittings, Rheem sent me by email information to validate my claim. If you find out that the original installation specifications did not require nor in my case recommend the dielectric etc., call for a 2nd opinion but watch out for the second company charging you ridiculous cost to upgrade--warranty company disallows upgrades. I opted for cashout which was a joke. They based cost on wholesale which of course you can't buy on the retail market. Depending on your coverage, permit costs, removal, and labor was included but again a 'joke' --cashout was a little over $500 for a 50 gal gas water heater. Good-luck
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