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September 2021
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Water Heater Hose Failure - WATT Stainless Steel Hose

Water leaks in your house are one of the most damaging and messy things to happen to any homeowner. Loose water sucks on so many levels. Mildew, Mold, Dry Rot, Stains, Drywall, Flooring, base board damage….you get the idea. There are two areas where flexible hoses are used. The laundry room for your washer and your water heater. The Natural Handyman has a good posting on Laundry hoses which applies to Water Heater hoses as well.
It makes sense in both locations as both your washer and water heater have limited life spans and at some point will need replacement. Both manufacturers are in the business of moving product and not making your life easier. Probably the best illustration of this is washer commercials. They talk about features, capacity, colors, etc. None of them talk about longevity or only needing one.

One of the more important connections in your plumbing supply are the connections at your water heater. There are two. The cold water supply into the water heater, and the hot water outlet for your house. This is most often accomplished with a flexible hose.
This is a photo of a pair of WATT Stainless Steel Hoses. They both failed in less than 4 years.

These were purchased at Lowes, and are still stocked. Probably available at the orange store too.
They looks like a braided stainless high pressure hose such as found in heavy construction equipment for the flexible hydraulic fluid which is under many times the pressure of a domestic water supply. This is not the case here. This is a demonstration of sizzle over steak.
These look like a heavy duty product. They are not. They are crap and should not be used under any circumstances.

Both of these hoses failed at the same point. Crappy manufacture in any case. I do not have high water pressure nor any other cause that would say it is not the manufactures fault. Both lines failed. Hot and Cold side.

They failed less than 6 months apart. I should have replaced them both at the same time, but there were other concerns like sucking up all that damn water and drying out the utility room. The other one failed the day before yesterday and has been replaced. I talked with my plumber so that I would not have to pencil in this chore anytime soon. Here are the new lines.

These are one piece Falcon Stainless Steel Corrugated lines. They are what my plumber uses for all installs and retrofits so he doesn’t have to return to replace them. My Plumber is very good. Good enough for me. These are more expensive like everything else but are worth it.
Here is the tag if you decide you want to do this yourself.

These are made by Falcon Stainless Inc. You will probaby need to find a commercial hardware or plumbing supply store for these. Highly Recommended!
Here is what the kit looks like.
Borrowed from the Falcon Stainless Inc. site.
Did I mention the LIFETIME warranty?
This is one of those deals where you want to replace both at the same time.

Plumbing Air Admittance Valves

One of the most difficult remodeling jobs is replacing waste and vent stacks. Most plumbing vents penetrate the roof at some point. This has the potential of leaking. I try avoiding plumbing wherever I can. It is not lack of ability or tools, as I have a plumbing kit and have done it. It is one of those deals where a good plumber is worth every nickel.

One of the latest things I have discovered but not tried yet are Air Admittance Valves which I discovered from the folks at Better DIY. There area number of places where this would be just the ticket. Especially in eliminating roof penetrations.

Besides remodeling I think about building my dream house. One of the things I include is eliminating roof penetrations of any sort. And a Flat Roof scheme. I am an advocate of foam roofing. I live under an aircraft landing patterns and unless the wind conditions are just right, I just don’t hear the planes. My roof are 2×8’s with a 3/4 plywood deck, r 19 insulation and 5/8” drywall. Normally this would act like a big drum, but the foam isolates the noise very well. and The insulation is a plus also. The only current downside to foam roofing currently is needing to renew the roof coating every 5-10 years.

I will build the house once I win the lottery.

Home Depot’s Curious Faucet Section

6a00d8345237e469e20115715fefa3970c-800wi I was in the Home Depot last week looking for a repair kit for this
faucet. I was in the orange store as the client remembered getting it
there. It is a Delta Cierco Around 170 bucks.

Here in Arizona the water is bad, not being toxic
or smelly, but in having large quantities of dissolved minerals. Folks
in other parts of the country probably wonder what products like lime
and scale removers are for but here in the southwest they sit next to the glass cleaners.

These minerals act like abrasives on seals and the moving parts of faucets, so they leak. They all leak. I don’t care what the ads or salesman tell you, sooner or later your faucets will leak. So when you are spending money on a faucet you should make sure that repair kits are available.  Really. If the place you are buying it from does not have repair kits in the same section as the faucets, run away! Unlike a lot of products, faucet manufacturers have pretty explcit instructions for repair. Plus faucets are not like electric outlets where the only decisions are amperage and color. They are different and do not share parts.

Home Depot and Lowes both offer a selection of faucets that will work
fine and look good. What they do not do but should, is on those cute
little tags with the price and model numbers is to put the model number
and location of the repair kits for them. I mean really, the repair
kits are right there on the other side of the aisle. I mean you are already installing the thing, so knowing that you can fix it later will make you a hero.

Some expensive faucets have parts that are only available through plumbing supply houses. These require a plumber, usually twice. First to figure out what brand it is, then another service call to install it after ordering the parts hoping that they are, 1-available, 2-not on back order,3-not more expensive than the faucet is worth.

If you are apprehensive by the selections in the orange or blue store, a plumbing supply
house will have you hearing the danger music  from  Jaws screaming in
your brain.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 11 Access Panel Follies

The tub we have installed is a 36” Jacuzzi Espree model. This presented a number of challenges such as planning and sizing the
finish materials to trim out this unit. The walls are going to be covered completely with solid surface material from the top of the tub
deck to the bottom of the soffit. The soffit was built wide enough so that we will have a clean vertical line between the tub and the soffit.

It is designed as a drop in tub for those having bathrooms the size of 2 car garages and want to build platforms to display it. Why the hell you want to have steps to get into a bathtub, whose primary claim to fame is the therapeutic bubbling is beyond me, but hey, it keeps folks employed building displays for them. Now most of my visitors do not have bathrooms that large and in some cases like me, have houses that are barely larger than two car garages.

By now if you are following along, we have mounted it in a more traditional manner, (being surrounded by three walls.)

One of the things that I have learned in doing remodeling is thinking about working on things later. Electric tubs are a poster child for this thinking. Stuff breaks and requires access to repair it.
So for this project we are framing in an access panel. I talked with the solid surface guys and we had decided to put a panel across the whole thing with screws to be able to access the pump and motor down the road. Later that night I was thinking about it. Putting an access panel all the way across would mean that I would have an unfinished base trim detail in this area. So I made the panel surface smaller, providing blocking for the screws for the panel, the gap for the upper trim piece, and enough space at the bottom to be able to run the baseboard in this area. This allows the panel to be removed woithout damaging either the walls or the floors.

This is the front view. The back side is an ugly mess as I had to trim the track to clear the hoses and pipes on the top, and the stand, bracket and plumbing on the bottom.


Here is the left side showing the gap across the top for the reveal piece of solid surface. This also shows the pump housing that sticks out enough so the solid surface guys will have to router out the back side of the panel for clearance. This is one of those details that let you know that the product was designed for ease in manufacturing rather than ease in installation. sigh… another remodeling surprise!


I also provided a space to get into the back of the tub should it be necessary for servicing the jets or lines on the wall side.


Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 11 Water Heater and Tub Installation

Tuesday and Wednesday had me taping up a storm to get ready for the installation on Friday. Thursday had me taping and painting the closet for Friday. I wanted to get the closet done so that I could paint before installing the water heater. Because I am basically lazy I don’t want to try to paint around 500 pounds of water heater.
So here we are Friday morning.


I mentioned previously that the floor sloped. I also built a platform for the water heater to get it off the ground and level. Here that is.


This is basically 26” square. The back to front drop from level is almost an inch. The side drop is a little less than a 1/4 inch. I bevel cut 2×4’s, screwed them together, and used simpson anchors and blue screws to attach it to the floor. The top is a plywood deck with a piece of 1/8” hardboard masonite material and ‘power grab’ glued it to the plywood.

I hope nobody tried to pick this up before I am dead or read this post, because it is one of those deals that will make them swear and go crazy trying to pry it up.

Chris and Vern from Exclusively Plumbing showed up and the installation proceeded.
First up was dry fitting the tub. Slid right in and surprised Chris. He mentioned and I know from bitter experience that this is not usually the case. Vern and I discussed the details and double checked everything while he was doing the rough in.


Some tubs come with a drain kit. This one did not. So while Chris went for parts, Vern installed the water heater and capped off the manifold that had been feeding this end of the house. Joe the electrician installed the wiring and we fired it up. One of the nice details was applying trims to the penetrations on the water lines.


Here is the light installed. It is a lot brighter than this photo.


Chris installing the drain kit for the tub.


This is why we built a form to keep this area clear of concrete.

We also installed an inline water heater for the Jacuzzi.


This was a weird deal as the cover had to be removed in order to get the nuts back far enough to slip into position. The plus to this unit is that it has a flow control switch, which means that if the water is not flowing, it is not on.

We have Bubbles!!!


Next thursday or friday the solid surface lads will be here to install their stuff. Meanwhile I will be taping and skim coating the walls, installing doors and trims and painting.

Todays brain fart… I can’t count the number of Jacuzzi style tubs and hot tubs I have installed, but I have never actually used one. Maybe when I win the Powerball, I will get me one.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 9 – Water Heater and Tub Prep 1

In our last episode I discussed blocking prior to drywalling. Since we are installing a water heater  to provide water for the Jacuzzi, and fixtures on this side of the house, which included tying in the hall bathroom (an in progress change that made sense and did not add significantly to the cost), next is getting ready for installing the water heater and setting the tub.

Coordination is important for running these projects especially when acting as your own contractor in terms of getting the professionals like the plumber and electrician to work with you. For example on this project we have an electric water heater and an electric bathtub (i.e. Jacuzzi) I choose to have both on site during this phase as if there is a problem it can be solved without everybody having to make extra trips. When the electrician installed the panel and was testing it, he discovered that one of the new breakers was bad.(It happens)

We had already partitioned the space outside of the bathroom proper to provide a space for the heater and some storage.
By Monday I had the door between the bathroom and the new water heater and storage area removed and relocated in its new location, and had three of the walls drywalled and first tape coat on.

Over the weekend I tracked down a light fixture for this area as well as some other materials. Monday I framed out the opening into the storage area, drywalled the ceiling and archway, as well as the tub area.


The tub area was drywalled with M/R waterboard(green board) and screwed off. The majority of the new construction is steel stud which can’t be nailed. The f;at seams are covered with mesh tape, the inside corners are paper tape and the outside corners are covered with metal corner bead.


This is the long wall with our glass blocks in place, and the soffit in the foreground at the top of the photo. These openings will be wrapped with solid surface. What you can’t see in this photo is the plastic wrap that I covered the face of the blocks with. This is to make clean up easier after the soldi surface is done.


Here is the back tub wall drywalled. Notice the archway for the pocket door has some narrow drywall at the top and along the right side. Because this is getting a bifold door, the rough opening dimensions are narrower that a standard framed door opening.


On the left side of the new archway are two electical boxes. We are
installing a Jeeves Heated Towel Bar. The bottom box is the power for
the towel bar, the upper is for the timer. They are sold separately, but if you go this route it is a good idea as it takes time to warm up and you don’t want it running all the time.

One last detail is the width of the soffit. It is 36” finished. This will provide a straight vertical line for the solid surface between the ceiling and edge of the tub when it is installed. The soffit was originally designed to carry the electricity and water lines for the tub. In discussing this with the plumber we eliminated the waterlines, which saved time and money. The electric lines are up there as it was shorter than alternatives.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 5 – Rough in and Glass Panel

Yesterday saw the plumber finish the rough in and test for the water lines.
Here is the shower.


Here is the closet supply connection.


The electrician came and did the rough in for the bathroom and we will be pulling the wire through the ceiling tomorrow.

The glass block panels were finished early so I picked them up and installed the large one.

Great way to do glass block, but be advised it is real heavy.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 5 – Plumbing

Having researched and rejected tankless water heaters for this project, we moved onto finding the plumbing so we can provide hot water for the jacuzzi, sinks and the guest bath. Yeah the guest bath was a bit of scope creep, but that is how remodeling works. Anyway we went in search of the water. We will re route the hot water side. This has the advantage of providing hot water to this side of the house, and once this is connected we will disconnect the feed on the other side, lowering the cost of providing hot water for the other half of this house. The money saved from not having 80 feet of buried pipe kept hot/warm will probably equal the cost of running the new water heater.

Here is Vern the plumber finding a path for running the pipes.


This is the master bedroom closet which we needed to open to find our pathway.
Because of the layout, we made an interesting run.


We had to come through the back of the corner sink base and come in a ways to make the turn to the storage/utility room. The line is marker. Notice there are no scorch marks or other crap? Vern is a Great Plumber!

Here is the plumbing running through our steel stud wall. Note the red clamps on the floor. These will prevent electrolosis from destroying the pipes and causing no end of problems later.


Here is our finished run.


Meanwhile, we had the concrete poured into the lightyear sunken tub.

The form in the center top is for the drain and overflow. Friday should see this opening framed for the glass block panel and the insulation and drywall.

Looking closely at the lower left of the concrete brings up this:

Yep One of the client’s dogs made her mark.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 4 – Adventures in Steel Studs

The primary goal in this bathroom remodel was to replace the ‘locker room from hell shower/bath’  into the sybaritic pleasure of a jacuzzi tub. Getting there from here is what makes remodeling fun. Some folks collect things, some folks drink, I remodel.

We decided to install a water heater to furnish hot water to this end of the house. In Episode 1, I mentioned that the original water heater is 80 feet away from this bathroom. The electricity is even further away, but this is a framing episode.

Off the bathroom is a little storage shed created by extending a privacy wall and roofing it. Until recently it was a shelter for the dogs during storms.

Well, the dogs are not that big, and we can put the water heater out here, move the door and add some sorely needed storage space. So we will put up some walls and a ceiling.


Steel studs are my material of choice here. I am using 1 5/8” studs and track. (the blue and orange stores only carry 2 1/2 and 3 1/2” studs and track. You need a drywall supply store to find these. These are non load bearing walls which is why we are using lite gauge (26)studs. I am using these to get the maximum space and to overcome some of the framing challenges.

I could have used 1” ‘hat channel’ vertically, which is another type of steel material, but the size saving, extra work and details made it not worth it. (think shooting yourself in the foot or framing challenges.)

The floor is sloped for water runoff when it was a privacy wall, the block walls are not plumb or square, and they are covered with stucco. The ceiling was framed off the original eave line, and the strangest joist hangers were used.

First up is to frame the doorway.


I probably glossed over how short the ceiling was. Establishing square was interesting as nothing was. Once I had the doorway framed up, I proceeded to frame up the short wall on the left. I insulated the ceiling and short pony walls before drywalling this wall.


I then did the back wall framing so that I had a line for installing the new ceiling. The nice thing about doing this is that you can build a solid straight wall quickly.

Once I had that accomplished, I could establish a line for covering up the low hanging joist hangers as well as creating a line for the soffit needed to carry the electricity and maybe a light or two. Now I will be framing up the door wall on the right, but not until after the plumber and electrician have their way with us.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 2

Having sorted out most of the decisions regarding fixtures, plumbing and electrical requirements, here is where we are. We have demoed the walls to the studs which are 2×2’s with 1 1/2” fiberglass insulation. That’s fiberglass strapping holding the batts in place.

They used regular drywall that they stapled chicken wire to, as the ground for the 1/2” of mortar for the coat of thinset that they actually embedded the tile with.


Here are the raw goods.


Here is the drain which we need to uncover to make our connection for the new jacuzzi tub.


It doesn’t look like much, but that damn hole was good for 7 5 gal. buckets of concrete trash.


Having gotten that done, I have put up the new wall for the valve and shower.


Since we are putting a 5 foot long 3 foot wide tub, I have framed this wall to the rough opening needed. The original wall will be re-framed giving me a 13 inch wall across the outside. I will cover that with plywood before drywalling so the client can mount hooks and or hangers anywhere on it they want.

The plumber will work his magic so that the water and vents will be inside the new wall for most of their runs, giving me space to put an open shelf on the toilet side to replace the awkward boards that were there before.

Since we are installing a water heater on this side of the house, we will split off the master bath and vanities and supply the other bath on this end of the house.

I mentioned that this house has almost no closet space or storage. Having sorted out the laundry room on the other side,  I am going to make some storage here.

This is the doorway to the back area.


The door is coming out, the opening will be framed down a bit, a bi-fold matching the existing doors installed and some cabinets or shelving will be installed.

There  are some framing challenges ahead.


The water heater will sit on the back wall, the subpanel will be mounted on the wall next to the door, a small soffit for the new plumbing and electric runs, a wall will go across here and the door will be installed.