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Old 04-09-2014, 10:26 AM   #1
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1976 29' Ambassador
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10 Gallon Atwood leaking??

1976 Ambassador. Hot water is located in under a cabinet in the rear bath.


The water heater is 5 years old and has not been exposed to freezing temps. I have also flushed it once a year.


In the past week we have had a decrese in the flow throught the cold water line. The leak started near the WH 3 days ago. I cannot see any water dripping from the pipes or any of the connections on the back of the WH. There are no signs of leaking at the front (outside face) but a small amount of water is flowing out from under the WH.


I am in the process of changing over to PEX and will have the copper out this weekend so swapping out the WH will be easy. Has anyone had an Atwood 10 gal tank spring a leak from a rupture in the aluminum tank? If not, where would a leak possibly form in the area of the water heater?
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:06 AM   #2
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Pulled the HWH. Pinholes on the bottom and lots of minerals inside. Replaced it with a new 10 galon tank - the demand designs are still too limited for us. The new 10 gal HWH is now $420.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:26 AM   #3
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I have had the pinhole leak issue in a couple of the rigs I have owned over the years, and yet some have lasted forever. I think it very much depends on the quality of the water you have where you live. Still, 5 years seems like a pretty short tank life. I have no thoughts as to how you can avoid the problem. The water you get at home and in campgrounds is what it is, and you can't do much to change that.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:35 AM   #4
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Any filters for highly mineralized water?

I had expected the HWH to last more than 5 years. We are full timing and winter-over in AZ and NV. Lots of minerals in the SW water. The anode was completely disolved after 18 months and the tank was half full of debris. We still have the original copper pipes. The mineral deposits have reduced the lumen to about 1/3 of their original size so I am installing PEX with the HWH. Are there any water filters that will help with the minilarization of the water?
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:18 AM   #5
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No filters will reduce the mineral content. Sometimes a portable water softener can help, but it only substitutes minerals which don't participate out for ones which do. I don't think they help with tank corrosion, but am unsure on that.

You mentioned an anode. The Atwood heaters do not recommend them, although they are available from other sources like Camco to fit the drain plug. There is a possibility that they do more harm than good, from what little water chemistry I understand. This is due to the fact that the tank is aluminum. So, there is a possibility that your use of an anode is not what you should be doing.

Suburban tanks are glass lined steel, and they do recommend an anode, and frequent replacement of it. I doubt that you have a Suburban water heater though.
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for the information. It is an Atwood and not a Surburban. I have flushed the HWH yearly and noticed that there was a lot more debris after I started using the anode.
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