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Old 09-05-2016, 10:47 AM   #1
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Leave it in or drain it out?

Hello, good people! I was doing my twice-yearly tank and water line sanitizing yesterday in my 174BH. I bypassed the water heater as I should during the bleach phase, then put it back in the system during the rinse phase like the manual says. While the water heater was bypassed, I opened the plastic water heater plug and drained the WH. (About didn't get the dang thing back in - it kept crossthreading but it doesn't leak, so I think I'm good).

My question - do you leave water in the water heater (gas heat only) or drain it out when you're not going to use your camper for a while? Does it hurt the insides to go dry? Or are all kinds of nasty things going to grow if you leave water in? Nasty things which won't get killed by bleach because it's bypassed during the bleach phase of sanitization.

It's not like I drink the hot water but I do wash myself with it. Thank you, and enjoy the cool fall weather coming up!
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:04 AM   #2
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If you are on a city water system kepping full should not be a problem it's a sealed system. No different than leaving your house for an extended vacation, water stays in the pipes.

I've always left water in system, even for extended periods, and never had it go sour. Besure to drain the fresh water tank though.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:15 AM   #3
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Thanks! Glad to hear it doesn't go sour in the WH.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:59 AM   #4
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Some water is nasty, and will sour no matter what. Where I live the water is very good, and were we normally go (State Parks) the water is usually good. However, I do drain my water heater if we are not going to use the TT, for a few weeks. I will sometimes give it a quick rinse, if I know the water was not the best tasting.

As for the plug, I replaced mine, and added a section of braided water supply pipe used for a sink, with a 1/4 turn valve on the end. I can Drain the tank without removing the plug. The only down side, its a 1/4" line so it take a little longer to drain.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:14 AM   #5
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The other thing to keep in mind is that when you fire up the water heater again it's going to heat that water to at least 140F (60C) which would destroy any harmful bacteria in the tank.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by canuckowner View Post
The other thing to keep in mind is that when you fire up the water heater again it's going to heat that water to at least 140F (60C) which would destroy any harmful bacteria in the tank.
Water must be heated to a minimum of 175 F for about 10 minutes to kill bacteria. Your hot water heater won't do it.

If you filled your water heater from a municipal water system it likely has chlorine in it. However, a lot of state parks and remote residences use well water and in most instances it is not chemically treated to kill bacteria.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:15 AM   #7
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I try to get as much water out of the system as I can EVERY time I store the trailer. It's just habit for me now. In the beginning, I left some water in the trailer for a couple weeks in storage, and when I went to get it back out, it had a horrendous plastic smell/taste to it. I had to rinse the lines anyway. So now, I just empty it before storage and put fresh water in when I pick it up, so I never have to worry about it.

I sanitize once (or twice sometimes) a season, and I "flush" the water heater a few times each season.

Aside: Why do people have such problems with the WH plug? I've never had any issues. Thread it in finger tight and snug it down with a 15/16" socket. Easy.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jagiven View Post
Some water is nasty, and will sour no matter what. Where I live the water is very good, and were we normally go (State Parks) the water is usually good. However, I do drain my water heater if we are not going to use the TT, for a few weeks. I will sometimes give it a quick rinse, if I know the water was not the best tasting.

As for the plug, I replaced mine, and added a section of braided water supply pipe used for a sink, with a 1/4 turn valve on the end. I can Drain the tank without removing the plug. The only down side, its a 1/4" line so it take a little longer to drain.
I would like to do that. My drain plug is hard to get to. Do you have pictures of what you described? My tank is only 6 gallons so it won't take that long to drain.

So there's nothing in the gas-powered WH that would, I don't know, fall apart if not immersed?
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