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Old 09-21-2014, 11:31 PM   #1
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Water Heater Question

Ok so I've never figured out a good way to completely drain RV water heaters. The drain plug/cathode is located (at least on the three that I have owned) about an inch above the bottom of the tank leaving water in the bottom that at best is difficult to get out. I have used rolled up paper towels or cloth with one end inside the tank and the other end outside the tank acting as a wick. That works pretty well except it takes several hours to get it done. I really don't like leaving the tank open to dry. Insects love dark damp places to hide and I don't relish the thought of heating them up with my shower water on the next camping trip. There's also the issue of blowing dust in the Texas panhandle.

While I've never had problems I also worry about water sitting in a tank with no antifreeze after winterizing. I did notice while looking at trailers before we purchased our new Pinnacle that every drain plug/cathode was removed and placed inside the water heater access door. I hope the dealership cleans the water heater thoroughly before delivering a new unit.

Anyway, any suggestions or comments are welcome.
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Old 09-22-2014, 05:36 AM   #2
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The small amount of water left in the water heater will not be a problem. The issue with freezing water is its expansion that causes damage. This amount of water has plenty of room to expand when it freezes and will not cause any damage. This also holds true for your fresh water tank. The small amount of water left after draining is not a problem.
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:42 AM   #3
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I figured as much for the freezing problem, like I said I've never had an issue with that. Occasionally though the hot water gets a "funky" smell when we first set up. I don't notice it too much, but the DW's nose is much more sensitive than mine. So I try at every opportunity to keep things from getting "funky". If we are not going to be using the trailer for more than a week, I always drain the water heater as part of getting it ready to put under the shed, sometimes the smell just happens in spite of that. We have had no issues with this trailer yet, but it is still new (traded for this one in July) Would it be advisable to disinfect (bleach) the hot water heater when the smell happens?
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:49 AM   #4
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snip...... Would it be advisable to disinfect (bleach) the hot water heater when the smell happens?
I do when it happens, but then again I disinfect my system every spring/fall.

I've found that the smell is the result of hot water being allowed to cool and sit for a period of time, especially during the summer's higher temps. Many times the source of the water (well, etc.) can contribute to the smell as well.

Bob
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:52 AM   #5
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Would it be advisable to disinfect (bleach) the hot water heater when the smell happens?
Absolutely not! Do not allow bleach or antifreeze into the water heater.

You might use one of the special nozzles for rinsing out the water heater before putting it in service at the beginning of the season. Or you could just leave the drain plug out and let the water just pass through for a few minutes.
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Old 09-22-2014, 09:11 AM   #6
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I thought I had been told at some point to have the by-pass open and not "bleach" the water heater. I will try flushing it out next time it happens, I bet that will help. Certainly can't hurt!!.
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Old 09-22-2014, 09:43 AM   #7
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Absolutely not! Do not allow bleach or antifreeze into the water heater......snip
The following is my understanding about using bleach in the HWH tank, if this has changed please advise: Jayco recommends sanitizing the entire plumbing system (including HWH) at the beginning and end of every season with a bleach solution. (page 8-10 in the following link).

RV Anifreeze: Jayco recommends "the water heater be drained and bypassed during the winterization process particularly if introducing RV antifreeze into the plumbing system" (page 8-11 in the following link).

2014 Eagle Towables Owners Manual:

http://www.jayco.com/files/downloads...lename_195.pdf

Bob

On Edit: Atwood (HWH manufacture) offers another option for addressing odors with the use of white vinegar, refer to the following link:

http://www.atwoodmobile.com/manuals/...2011.19.07.pdf
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:15 AM   #8
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I have sanitized my entire FW system with bleach (per jayco recommendations) every year since 2008 with no issues. Bleach solution goes into FW tank then pumped around through all faucets - w/ the HWH in service. let solution set for a few hours, then drain both the FW tank and HWH. refil FW, and flush all faucets. Drain the FW tank again, refill and off to camp.

In the winter, I just drain everything and blow the lines (and HWH) with 50# of compressed air. I also unscrew both the inside and outside shower wands and leave all faucets open.
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Old 09-22-2014, 01:24 PM   #9
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Rustic Eagle, I looked a the manual that you referenced. Agreed, bleach solution throughout the plumbing system is recommended. However, I did not see that it made any reference specifically to the hot water heater and bleach. I could have missed it.

Anyway it could very well be my personal preference alone not to subject the aluminum tank to the chlorine. Just doesn't seem like a good idea.

On another note I did notice a reference to replacing the anode rod. Has Jayco gone to Suburban water heaters and no longer use the Atwood? My understanding is the Atwood water heaters do not use an anode rod.
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Old 09-22-2014, 02:41 PM   #10
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Chuck,

Quote:
Originally Posted by tnchuck100 View Post
Rustic Eagle, I looked a the manual that you referenced. Agreed, bleach solution throughout the plumbing system is recommended. However, I did not see that it made any reference specifically to the hot water heater and bleach. I could have missed it.
It references the HWH in steps 11 thru 13 (p. 8-10).


Quote:
Originally Posted by tnchuck100 View Post
snip.....On another note I did notice a reference to replacing the anode rod. Has Jayco gone to Suburban water heaters and no longer use the Atwood? My understanding is the Atwood water heaters do not use an anode rod.
Your correct, Atwood doesn't require an anode rod because of the aluminum tank that doesn't use any dis-similar metal fasteners, plugs, etc. (uses all plastic). I believe Jayco now uses both Atwood and Suburban (requires anode rod).

Bob
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