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Old 01-02-2016, 07:04 PM   #1
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1982 27' Excella
Huntsville , Texas
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Water Heater Leak

Lighted my gas water heater today. At first the burner tube was dry but after a few minutes there was water dripping out of the burner tube with the flame going. Hoping I am wrong but the only thing I can think of is a tube that leaks once it get hot????

At some time in the past the water heater was replaced with a gas/electric but the wiring system appears to be jerry rigged (not desireable). I believe that the original water heater was an atwood with a single switch under the sink in the kitchen. Any ideas what the original water heater might have been? Would it have had direct ignition?
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:19 PM   #2
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1986 25' Sovereign
2008 F350, 6.4L diesel , Oak Harbor, WA
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I just replace the HWH in my 86, with an Atwood, it does light itself if that is what you are asking. The switch in our year is in the bathroom.

The good, the original SS outside cover fit perfectly, the new unit fits the same hole. I did need to replace the copper gas line, it looked to me someone had replaced it once and it was not fed through the right place. There is a coupling just under the trailer so I only needed to purchase 3' of copper.

The bad, that low cost plumbing material is not easy to work with. You have the hot and cold water lines along with the outside water connection.

The gray pipe (polybutylene pipe) is small, soft and the fitting leak or break. I think I found five or six leaking or broken fitting when I purchase the trailer. In the end I ripped it all out and replaced it with Wirsbo Aqua Pex, or Pro Pex.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:33 PM   #3
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1977 31' Excella 500
West Sacramento , California
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It could be condensation and should stop when the heater and water inside are up to temperature.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:45 PM   #4
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1973 31' Sovereign
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I agree with 4RXLA that it's probably condensation. My water heater does that when starting from cold because water is a by-product of combustion of fossil fuels. Leland
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Old 01-02-2016, 11:45 PM   #5
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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Yes, condensation, and it will stop when the water becomes hot.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:00 AM   #6
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1982 27' Excella
Huntsville , Texas
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Water heater

Thanks for the words of wisdom. I got up this morning and ran the water heater again at first it was dry then water started slowly dripping but after awhile it quit. The only thing I could think of was a leaking water tube so I was already looking at new water heaters. Once again thanks you save me the money and trouble of a change out.

The reason I was looking at it was that last time I took the trailer out I found a puddle under the rear bumper. I blew it off and said I would fix it at home. Now I've ran all the cold water and I've ran the water heater and ran the hot water lines and no leaks. Next time I am out camping I will look at it again, closer!
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Old 03-01-2016, 01:36 PM   #7
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2010 20' Flying Cloud
Babbit , California
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How much water would you expect under the hot water heater if this is just condensation? I am having a similar issue --- I live in my RV full-time, and I had been turning the water heater off except just before I planned to shower. Is this a bad practice? It really saves on propane....
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Old 03-01-2016, 05:14 PM   #8
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1998 30' Excella 1000
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The OP was describing probable condensation outside at the burner tube. You said "under" the heater... inside?
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Old 03-01-2016, 05:40 PM   #9
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2010 20' Flying Cloud
Babbit , California
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So I noticed the pavement outside the trailer is wet right under the hot water heater. I'm trying to figure out what could be leaking there.
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:01 PM   #10
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Morrill , Nebraska
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Could be the pressure relief valve or drain plug (Atwood). Have you opened the cover to see?
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:43 AM   #11
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It appears to be from the drain plug. Is this normal?
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:56 AM   #12
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Pressure relief valve yes, drain plug no.


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Old 03-02-2016, 10:30 AM   #13
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1998 30' Excella 1000
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If it is the white nylon drain plug, try screwing it in just a little bit. If that doesn't work, you could remove it and add a few wraps of teflon tape. If that still doesn't work, replace the plug. They do get brittle with age.
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