Dripping tank connector on copper HW cylinder

14 Feb 2012
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United Kingdom
I had a plumber install a shower pump a decade ago and he took the hot water feed directly out of the side of the hot water cylinder, about 9" down from the top (3" down the cylindrical part). He appears to have used a standard 22mm compession fitting tank connector. There is a white rubber(?) washer behind the fixing nut which has perished and I have water running down the outside of the tank and through the kitchen ceiling. :(

I have tightened the fixing nut but the washer is starting to break up. It is currently only 'weeping' and I'm catching the water with a cloth. What is the best way of fixing this? I'm thinking that I need to drain the hot water cylinder and replace the sealing washer. I can't work out how the main body of the connector got into the tank unless the plumber went in through the hole for the immersion heater... Should I just go to Wickes, buy a connector and be really careful not to knock the main body into the tank?
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It's called an "Essex flange", Google it for fitting instructions. In a nutshell you do it from a slightly bigger hole than the pipe and a split washer fed through to the inside. If you get one the same you might be able to just fit a new washer from the Essex flange you buy (don't let the back nut fall in!).
Thanks for that - it's made searching much easier!!

BLIMEY! They're 25 quid!! I only need the outside washer (I think) - do you think I can just buy the washers?
I've never tried but possibly! You might get it cheaper at a plumbers merchant.
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If water is leaking out of the fitting then the inner washer has failed as well.

It's the inner washer that seals the screwed thread of the fitting, otherwise there's nothing to prevent water seeping along the thread root, past the outer washer and dripping from the outer surface of the fixing nut.

If your cylinder is round then you need to ensure you get a "soft" inner washer as the cork ones, generally supplied, are too hard to take up the shape of a round cylinder.

Might I suggest you contact Essex directly for information, they are very helpful. www.essexflanges.com

Also do not use any type of sealing compound on the inner washer as this will lubricate the surfaces and cause the washer to slide and slip out of position making it ineffective. You need some friction between the washer and the tank wall to hold things in position.
A big thank you to you all :D (Isn't this a busy forum!)

I ordered EPDM 90 degC washers from a sellar on eBay first thing Friday morning, they arrived yesterday and I fitted them this morning. I bent a wire coat hanger to form the "toggle" arrangement use to fit the flange originally. Once I'd removed the pipe, I pushed it through and it allowed me to push the flange into the tank so that I could fit the inner washer. The original inner washer was all broken up I only managed to pull a few bits out but I'm sure that the rest will lie happily in the bottom of the tank. The whole process went more smoothly than I could possibly imagine and there are no leaks so far. ;)

Thank you for helping me tackle what appears to be one of the scarier tasks in home plumbing!
Good job. I've known people who are plumbers who won't attempt an Essex flange (no idea why?!).

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