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I've got a plumber telling me that galvanized water heater straps are one-time-use-only because they form fit to the water heater.

He's saying because the new water heater isn't exactly the same diameter as the old one, he has to use new straps.

Is he correct or just padding the bill?

Galvanized Water Heater Straps

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    I am very skeptical, I am pretty sure those can be reused. – batsplatsterson Jan 17 at 23:49
  • @RockPaperLizard Probably company policy (big indescriminate blanket), maybe they don't trust their engineers to use their initiative - I'd hire a new company, small family business given the choice. – Duckisaduckisaduck Jan 18 at 0:24
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The claim that the previously applied straps cannot be re-used is mostly not true except for certain specific cases.

In general these can be re-used as you can see they are adjustable via those slots every half inch. These may have been cut to length on the original water heater but there is no reason that they can not conform to a new water heater that is slightly different shape.

But in a special case that the new water heater is a larger diameter it is possible that the slotted straps may now be too short to reach from their anchor points on the wall around the heater. As designed the straps have to come together far enough so that the bolt brackets can slip into the slots and the bolt is long enough to engage the two bracket holes.

So it is possible that the original straps may be too short. Probably not uncommon as newer water heaters may very well be bigger diameter due to larger tank size or additional insulation needed to increase efficiency.

  • Thanks for your answer Michael, upvoted. Interestingly, the plumber said that new water heaters are usually narrower than the old ones due to newer construction techniques. – RockPaperLizard Jan 18 at 5:26

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