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Phillip
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Originally posted by Erby

Phillip, No visible electrical disconnect.

By the way, were you really out inspecting a house a 1:14 AM, November 27, 2008 (this morning)??????

No Erby,

I was not out at that time of day. I did it the day before at that time in the pm. I must of got the am/pm off when I reset the time.

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Originally posted by Phillip

The house was built in 1993. water heater was replaced last year.

What comment would you make from this photo and why?

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I'd recommend replacing the discharge pipe with a piece of rigid copper (same size as the T&P valve) and terminate the pipe 6" from the floor. No threads at bottom of discharge pipe. Was this in a garage or basement? If above living space, I'd recommend a pan. I can't tell if the electrical panel is near by or not. If in a different room, I'd add a power disconnect, as well.

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I'd like to point out that there are some brands of bendable connectors that have a full 3/4-inch inside diameter; it's hard to tell from the photo, but that one looks like it probably isn't one of those and probably is smaller than the discharge outlet. If it were a full 3/4-inch inside diameter, calling it out for reduced size could really stamp one as a knucklehead. Around here, it would also be gigged for the lack of seismic bracing and the need for blocking between the tank and the wall. I'd check the nipples to see whether they're heat traps; if not, I'd recommend the client have them replaced with heat trap nipples or use longer connectors and configure them with S-bends to function as heat traps - this part being strictly an optional energy savings measure.

Isn't anyone going to comment about the fact that the TPR discharge pipe has a slight dip there that could function as a trap?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Some of the comments show the difference in the areas we inspect.

The water heater is in the carport storeroom.

The TPR piping runs to the exterior.

Most of the plumber around here will say the flex is OK because it is approved for use in the water supply.

In my area there is no need for seismic bracing.

There is no electrical disconnect; it was not required by the AHJ when the house was built.

I did not think about the slight dip being a trap in the line.

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Originally posted by Phillip

Most of the plumber around here will say the flex is OK because it is approved for use in the water supply.

Well, so aren't 1/2-inch bendable connectors but they aren't supposed to be used on a TPR valve with a 3/4-inch outlet. The bendable connector used on that TPR pipe is okay as long as the diameter isn't reduced. That big yellow tag attached to the TPR valve makes it very clear that there can be no reduction. Some bendable connectors are a full 3/4-inch i.d. some are not; that one doesn't look like it's a full 3/4-inch. Allowed by the AHJ or not, it's wrong, it should be called, and when the AHJ tries to back up the installer, the AHJ should be schooled in the rules. If you don't bother to school the AHJ's when they screw up, they'll continue to make the same boners day after day.
In my area there is no need for seismic bracing.
Didn't think so; I said that for the benefit of anyone from our seismic zone that might be looking at that picture and wondering what was wrong.
There is no electrical disconnect; it was not required by the AHJ when the house was built.
So what? Unless the panel is within sight of that water heater, it's still wrong and should be called. What's it cost to install a breaker lockout; five minutes and a $1 part? See the comment above about schooling the AHJ.

The muni guys never miss a chance to dis private inspectors when they are out there talking to builders and homeowners; so I think that picking up the phone and helping them to see their own mistakes is a useful exercise.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Yes, yes, and yes.

Now that I'm beginning to see the extent and breadth of how screwed up many of the new homes that were built in the bubble really are, I take every opportunity to educate customers about the uselessness of most muni buildings depts. When provided the opportunity, I love dissing the muni guys to their face. Politely, but firmly.

They're wrong. They didn't do their job. Most of them don't even know what their job is.

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Originally posted by hausdok

...

Isn't anyone going to comment about the fact that the TPR discharge pipe has a slight dip there that could function as a trap?

First let me state that I am in no way suggesting that the trap in Phillip's photo should not be called...rules are rules after all. But, simply for the sake of discussion, what would be the actual safety hazard of that trap, if it was at an interior location as opposed to an unheated garage? I can see that a trap located where the standing water could be frozen would be a huge no-no, but I've never quite got my head around the issues involved in one like Phillip's.

So, aside from the flex, can someone convince me why this particular trap poses a threat?

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

Originally posted by hausdok

...

Isn't anyone going to comment about the fact that the TPR discharge pipe has a slight dip there that could function as a trap?

First let me state that I am in no way suggesting that the trap in Phillip's photo should not be called...rules are rules after all. But, simply for the sake of discussion, what would be the actual safety hazard of that trap, if it was at an interior location as opposed to an unheated garage? I can see that a trap located where the standing water could be frozen would be a huge no-no, but I've never quite got my head around the issues involved in one like Phillip's.

So, aside from the flex, can someone convince me why this particular trap poses a threat?

Hi Richard,

What comes to my mind is that it would be a place for critters to nest or if wet a place for scum to grow, either one causing a restriction. I'm sure you've seen ac condesate traps clog with scum. Then, when it dries it becomes like a plug. Just my thought...

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If the water heater is in the carport shouldn't the lower element be 18 inches off the ground?

That depends on the definition of a carport I guess. What the heck is a carport anyway? Does it have a door? How do you keep snow and the neighbors out? Where do you keep the chainsaw?

We have garages and porte cochere's. Nary a carport in sight unless it's the fiberglass thing attached to the side of a Doppio Largo in one of those fancy schmancy communities they hide behind three rows of pine trees.

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Electric heater Chad, E L E C T R IC

Jeff, I realize it's electric, that's why I said "lower element".

Whenever I say 'lower element' I realize I run the risk of being misunderstood. In this case though I'm not referring to the incendiary masses trying to justify their existence through internet certification, instant gratification, spurious accreditation and shallow education. ( Sorry, Jesse Jackson just channeled me) While they may spark debate they're unlikely to ignite either deep thought or flammable vapors.

The thermostats on electric water heaters aren't explosion proof and (in my mind) qualify as a source of ignition.

The only water heater that could be excluded is an indirect heater.

To get a good answer to that question, we'd need to know what would happen if the TPR valve opened and the hot water/steam hit the bend in the flex. The flex might fail, start whirling around like a loose party balloon, and scald any nearby life forms. If that happened, the person who installed the flex would be in a heap of trouble.

Walter, even though I'm pretty sure you're waxing hyperbolic I figured it'd be as good idea to be clear for folks that think a TPRV discharge line may actually flail about like Britney Spears in a come back concert. I've seen these things doing their job. They drip, they don't erupt.

In order to tax the capacity rating on a TPRV you'd need to be able to boil water at the rate 8.4 gallons a minute. Your average 50,000 btu burner just won't do that.

Drip, drip, drip

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Yes the electric water heater lower element has to be 18 inches off the floor. It is an ignition sourse. If it were an inclosed garage an outlet 18 inches or less off the floor could be an ignition source. I cannot see were the TPR drain line terminates but it appears to go beside the unit and maybe outside the wall. If thats the case then you just need to get rid of the flex. The flex pipe for the water connections are even in question but most do not question them. If it is in an enclosed space and if the unit leaks and can gut uner framing or walls to the house or for that matter can damage goods in that room or drywall or framing there should be a pan under the unit with a drain line to the exterior as well. As far as a disconnect of sorts there should be one if the panel holding the breaker is no where in sight. If it is in a room in the carport then if the room is not heated and the water lines have any possible chance of freezing then the lines should be insulated. Hmmm. What else is there???

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So far I've got...

"it would be a place for critters to nest"

I don't see that would be any different than a near horizontal pipe.

"or a wet place for scum to grow"

I don't believe there would be sufficient nutrients for a large biomass. And algae needs light.

"...we'd need to know what would happen if the TPR valve opened and the hot water/steam hit the bend in the flex. The flex might fail,"

I did say "aside from the flex" and I wasn't really talking about the flex, but just a trap in the location shown. But, I don't see steam or water being particularly "concerned" about a curve in any piping even if it was a full blown release. I also think that the flex is rated to easily handle the maximum possible pressure.

I'm going to repeat that I would report it, regardless of my suspicions it's not a big deal. However, on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being simply reporting it as being "incorrect and in need of repair" and 10 being "evacuate the house immediately and call the bomb squad", I'm still not convinced this is anything but a 1.

I think that codes can't anticipate every circumstance and therefore have to be fairly simple, occasionally resulting in "violations" that really don't affect safety. I have no problem erring on the side of safety, but I also like to think out the reasoning behind the rules.

It's a bit like someone replacing one of the 6 double pole breakers, serving as the disconnect in a split-bus panel, with a couple of single poles. Assuming good labeling, etc, I now have 7 toggles or throws, which is wrong and should be repaired. But I feel that is more because the next HI will call it than 7 is suddenly that much more deadly than the legal 6. (Yeah, like most here, I would actually prefer a single main breaker...but that's another story)

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In my area a carport is open on two or three sides which is attached to the house.

In this case at the rear of the carpot there is a store room that the water heater is in.

You can inform your client about the items; which I did.

Inform the repair persons which is supposed to be the expert.

What else can a person do?

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