As I See It

Why is everything crammed together on water heaters?

A Utah plumbing contractor, Ted Keane, wrote to me recently with a beef about tank-type water heaters. Ted feels that all of the components on tank type water heaters are bunched right next to each other, making the water heaters a pain in the neck to work on.

Here’s the note that Ted sent me:

“To the water heater manufacturers: Can anyone who makes tank-type water heaters explain why they haven’t updated their products? I mean, why are the hot and cold taps so close to the draft hood? You can’t install, loosen or tighten a dielectric union without removing the draft hood.

“And why is the drain so close to the gas valve? And why are the pilot tube, gas tube, and thermocouple tubes so close to each other? Why is it so difficult to work on tank water heaters? Every time I try to remove the drain, the gas valve is right there in the way. Why can’t you spread things out so that it’s easier to work on? And why don’t you use a drain with a handle on it? And why can’t the drain be a quarter-turn valve?

“I’ve been doing plumbing now for 29 years, and your water heater makers don’t make it any easier. Please, when you make a product, think about us guys (and gals) in the field who have to service them.

“Thank you, Ted Keane, Ted Keane Plumbing,, Phone: 435-513-0258, [email protected]

There you go, water heater manufacturers. I would imagine that Ted isn’t the first plumber to ask himself those questions. Let’s hear from you.

Follow me on Twitter @bobmader

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