If you are in the middle of replacing your water heater, take a close look at other plumbingwater heater supply valve connections connecting to the appliance. In many cases as you are attempting to shut off the water at the supply valve near the top of the tank, it may not shut off at all. Particularly if the valve is a gate valve, the shaft will corrode and shear off leaving you unable to turn the control the flow of water.

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The supply valve connects to a flex line that finally connects to the water heater. If I see a gate valve, I don’t touch it. Instead I will turn the water off to the entire house before starting work on the water heater. While you are replacing the heater, it is a perfect time to replace the water supply valve. If you have a ball valve there (it has a lever rather than a round knob), you can be confident it will work and you shouldn’t be fearful that it will break.

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Also pay attention to the areas where the valves connect to the flex lines. You may see some corrosion at these points, and if you are uncomfortable, you can replace them. I generally won’t replace them unless I see some significant problems, but at the least you can replace the rubber washers in the ends where they connect to the water heater’s nipples.

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