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Old 11-06-2015, 11:37 PM   #15
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:04 AM   #16
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While searching for advice on a professional plumbers forum I learned that many like to apply teflon tape, then pipe thread compound over that. Never leaks, they say.
Interesting ...
I'm a stationary engineer - plumbing for water, steam, combustables (liquid and gas), chemicals. There are actually two versions of white teflon tape, the thin one is junk, the thicker one preferred, and the plumbers liked 3 wraps of teflon tape for new pipe and fittings, 5-7 for old, and never any goop of any sort. I followed that and never had any leaks no matter what was getting plumbed. The old stuff would harden up so firm it took a torch or heat to break it loose.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:44 AM   #17
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My plastic plug was cross threaded from the factory. I went to Home Depot purchase a 1/2" mpt (male pipe thread) brass plug and Teflon tape. Screw in finger tight, then tighten 1/4-3/4 turn more. Tough under the regulator tube. Do not over tighten, mpt are taper threads, can strip the aluminum tank threads or crack the boss. Good luck. I have salvaged a sheared plug by using a saw blade to carefully cut the remaining plastic ring into segments and carefully break a segment out releasing tension allowing me to turn out the rest with needle nose pliers.
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:02 PM   #18
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I have the same model as you do. Wonder where the putty came from? Mine never had any and I don't use any. I tighten mine about 1/4 turn after finger tight. Never leaks. If you replace it with a metal plug or valve, you may cause problems because of dissimilar metals. Speaking with a tech at Jackson Center, he told me that the nylon plug is also an extra safety blowout feature in case the pressure relief valve malfunctions. Again, I have never had a problem with mine.
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:17 PM   #19
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I second what crh said. Plus, Teflon tape is not required if using a nylon plug. i drain the water heater (after disconnecting the water supply) everytime I break camp. It snugs up at half way in, finger tight. Never a leak. It's the original plug, its eight years old and going strong, probably because its never had a wrench or pliers, tape or any kind of goop used on it.
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:09 PM   #20
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In my experience, the nylon plugs tended to deflect too easily when trying to remove them...perhaps I put them in too tightly, dunno, and the awkward location of the plug vis-a-vis other water heater parts accentuates the problem. When one broke off inside, I decided something better was needed, and started using a 1/2" pvc plug, along with a little teflon tape, along with a little "Magic Lube", or "Leslies Pool & Spa Lube" on the threads. Those products are non-hardening, teflon-impregnated silicone gel. I use it on all "O"-rings too. It makes for an easy installation and removal, and there's no need to ratchet it down very far. I realize that pvc pipe is not made for hot water, but I've never been able to locate cpvc 1/2" plugs. Ultimately the plug will deteriorate, but that takes many years. I've been using the same one for several years, but you could change it annually if you're concerned, all for less than a dollar, and they're widely available.
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Old 11-10-2015, 01:30 PM   #21
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thanks for all of the suggestions. i am going to just step back from this issue and lets see what happens when i pressurize the hot water system. the nylon plug has a wrap of teflon tape on it and is in, tight, about half way. i will not force it to go in any further for fear of breaking it apart and then having to deal with getting it out. so right now, i am leaving it as is.

i am assuming the hot water tank is aluminum. if so, mixing metals, copper or anything else is really a bad idea as electrolysis will become a real issue in a short period of time. having an all aluminum boat, i am somewhat of an expert on all of this and i am very careful about what is attached and how. some of you folks with copper plugs might what to school yourself on this very real issue before it is too late for you.

again, thanks for all of the thoughts, they are appreciated.
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:06 PM   #22
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thanks for all of the suggestions. i am going to just step back from this issue and lets see what happens when i pressurize the hot water system. the nylon plug has a wrap of teflon tape on it and is in, tight, about half way. i will not force it to go in any further for fear of breaking it apart and then having to deal with getting it out. so right now, i am leaving it as is.

i am assuming the hot water tank is aluminum. if so, mixing metals, copper or anything else is really a bad idea as electrolysis will become a real issue in a short period of time. having an all aluminum boat, i am somewhat of an expert on all of this and i am very careful about what is attached and how. some of you folks with copper plugs might what to school yourself on this very real issue before it is too late for you.

again, thanks for all of the thoughts, they are appreciated.
Yes most RV water heater storage tanks are fabricated from aluminum and there are more dissimilar metal POC's than you'd think. Use a high quality thread sealing medium and forge ahead. This really is not an unusual set of circumstances.

Best of luck,

Kevin
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:24 PM   #23
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The main thing to realize is that the plug has tapered threads so the further you screw it in the tighter it gets. That's why it doesn't go in all the way. With the plastic plug you can't damage the tank, and it's easy to get another plug.
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Old 11-10-2015, 03:28 PM   #24
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Several different responses have already solved the riddle of the nylon plug.

After eight years of filling and draining the hot water tank, the threads get thinned and the plug screws in further and further. I eventually had to add plumber's putty to the thread at the back third and successfully sealed every time under pressure. If it is not, you will get a small drip and just a little snugging usually does it. The plug was almost flush after eight years, and sealed.

A new nylon plug does not go in as far. Eventually it will and then you end up having to apply putty or tape. I also clean my tank's threads with a dental tool. It does turn hard. I also clean out the nylon plug threads when they look like the putty has hardened.

I am now expecting this with our new 2014. I also kept a couple of new plugs from the Jackson Center, OH parts shop from 2008. Your cleaning might even remove hard water crust, so you are getting a "dental thread cleaning" with no cost to yourself.

If it is not dripping. You are fine no matter how far you thread the plug.

Lots of good options. I want to find an easy way to remove the plug that is behind the propane line... Just takes a little effort.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:54 PM   #25
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hot water heater drain plug

The correct size socket and extension makes the plug removal and install on an Atwood water heater (aluminum) a simple task. As I recall the socket is 15/16". Start the plug by hand to avoid cross threading.
Suburban water heaters have a steel tank. They use a sacrificial anode which must be removed to drain the tank. Removal of the anode requires a 1 1/16" socket as I recall.
The anodes require periodic replacement to maintain the protection against galvanic action.



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Old 11-11-2015, 06:08 AM   #26
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The main thing to realize is that the plug has tapered threads so the further you screw it in the tighter it gets. That's why it doesn't go in all the way. With the plastic plug you can't damage the tank, and it's easy to get another plug.
Al
Threads used in most North American plumbing applications are NPT which are tapered. The taper is intended to assist in making a fluid tight seal, the more you turn the more effective the seal. As such you definitely want to heed BigAl's advice and not over tighten the plug since you could damage the softer aluminum tanks fitting if you use a brass plug/valve.

We switched because I drain the tank between uses and grew tired of fiddling with the plug each trip.
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Old 11-11-2015, 06:33 AM   #27
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Kevin,
I just took a look at this. I am not understanding how that valve actually fits into the water heater where the white plug goes now.

Does Kevin or anyone else have some pics?

Thanks in advance
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:45 AM   #28
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Kevin,
I just took a look at this. I am not understanding how that valve actually fits into the water heater where the white plug goes now.

Does Kevin or anyone else have some pics?

Thanks in advance
See if this helps. Mine are located on the left side of the water heater compartment directly behind the gas body.

Atwood water heater drain plug - Airstream Forums
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