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Nipples


randynavarro
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Now that I've got your attention you perverts, my question is does a corroded nipple or nipples on top of a water tank necessarily indicate a more lethal problem inside the tank?

I've postulated that the nipples get attacked because the anode rod inside and perhaps even the metal liner are getting corroded and the corrosion had advanced to the next available metal which would be the nipples?

I could be all wet here. . . .

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Most of the rust I see I attribute to seepage around the threads or valves. We use only copper or Pex here so the galvanized nipples are the weakest link as far as rust and I see it on relatively new heaters especially on new construction that might have had leakage around the vent pipe before the roof was finished properly. Just me but I have never even considered it to be indicative of a problem with the heater itself.

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Hi. I do call out that kind of corrosion because in my own experience it may be indicating an underlying issue. What I have found over the past year talking to different homeowners is that many water heater failures are top fitting failures and not bottom failures. My own water heater has a simmilar issue and leaked from the top. Im glad that it was locaed in my unfinsihed basement.

Morris County NJ Home Inspectors

Home inspections Morris County New Jersey

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I'm not a plumber, but the way I picture it, corrosion due to anode problems would be invisible on the outside, until the walls of the nipple are wafer thin and punctured. The metal is always thinnest at the threaded end, so that is where they will fail first if the rust is internal.

But no, I believe rust at the nipple is usually due to a leaking fitting, or sometimes condensation, or some other external source.

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If the pipes connecting to the nipples are copper, then what you are seeing is an example of electrolysis. When two dissimilar metals are touching they corrode on another. They make dielectric unions and dielectric flex connectors to prevent this. (code in my area)

You can even attach a brass threaded coupling to the galvanized nipple, then screww a copper male adapter into the coupling and that will work as well. If this is at your house, I'd replace it before it gets too bad b/c if you wait untill it leaks, you'll not likely get the nipple out and have to replace your tank.

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