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Old 11-16-2010, 03:48 PM   #29
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2004 30' Classic Slideout
Fenton , Missouri
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Typically I have usually flushed out the tank at the end of the season using a wand type of device that is sold at Camping World. It used to go by the name "Tank Saver". Your water hose connected to a fitting that had a small pipe that would be inserted into the water heater via the drain plug hole. It directed a high pressure water stream that would scour the minerals off the tank walls. It was quite remarkable and getting that crud out will add years to the life to the water heater. My old Hi-Lo had a Suburban heater and I had 14 years of service prior to selling the trailer.

Fast forward to my current Classic that has an Atwood 2 way gas/electric water heater. I typically use electric, only turning on the gas when we shower. With both electric and gas operating, the water heater recovers much faster.

Last year I didn't due my usual tank flush with the Tank Saver so this year I made sure to do it. Much to my surprise no debris came out of the tank. As a matter of fact I have never seen debris exiting which makes me curious regarding the Atwood. Could it be that electric water heating tends to not cause the mineral build up that I've seen in gas only water heaters? Or does it have something to do with the aluminum tank?


Jack Canavera
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'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:59 PM   #30
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I put one of these in my last trailer.

1/2" RV Water Heater Drain Valve

I have not got around to it yet in the new one.


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Old 11-16-2010, 05:17 PM   #31
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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My understanding is that residential water heaters have much less crud build up if the heat is electric rather than gas. Gas heat is provided through a tube running up through the center of the heater heating the water and exhausting gasses through the top, leaving a large surface area to corrode. Electric heat has the element screwed into the side of the tank immersed in the water.

What does this have to do with RV heaters? I don't know because in an RV heater there is no tube. The flame is under the tank and the gasses exhaust through the exterior vent. If there's something in electric heat which creates less crud, I don't know what it is.

Electric water heaters take more time to heat water. The higher btu's of gas may have an effect on speeding up the chemical reactions within the tank even though the end result is water just as hot. Also, if you filter your water with an exterior filter, you'll get less silt in the water and therefore, less in the tank. Even so, some stuff will collect.

By process of elimination, it seems aluminum is the answer—and isn't it always the answer?

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Old 05-13-2011, 11:10 AM   #32
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Teflon Tape on Plug Thread?

I used the water heater over the weekend and I noticed that I had a small drip out of the nylon plug that drains the tank. I took it out and drained the rest of the water and noticed that the threads had pipe joint compound on them instead of teflon tape. It came from the factory like that and I have never removed the plug before. (I've never had Bambi in freezing temps).

Does anybody have any experience with teflon tape vs. pipe joint compound?
Thanks, Randy Bowman
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:49 PM   #33
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I use teflon tape with a drain petcock. Always have, in my old trailer too. No leaks.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:30 AM   #34
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Randy, Nylon and plastic plugs are less likely to leak as they are somewhat flexible and tend to fill any spaces through which water may infiltrate if tight enough. Sometimes a speck of dirt on the threads can allow a leak. I haven't used anything on our drain plug and have no leaks. Pipe compound may degrade over the 6 or 7 years it has been in there. Teflon does not, in my opinion, seal as well as pipe compound, but it does make it easier to tighten a threaded connection as it acts like a lubricant on the threads.

Since you don't have to the winterize where you live, it is understandable you have left the plug in. But sediment collects at the bottom of the hot water heater tank and you need to flush it from time to time. Some Airstreams have a drain under the water heater which helps drain the lines and maybe the tank—it's not clear to me just how much the tank drains from it. You can fill the tank with a hose and flush the tank—it's not very efficient because the drain is above the bottom of the tank, but eventually you'll get sediment out. If you have a drain under the trailer, it might get rid of the sediment by filling the tank with a hose at the drain hole on the side and letter the water run out the drain under the trailer.

Some people, like dzn', replace the plastic plug with a metal petcock. Teflon should usually work fine with metal to metal connections. I prefer pipe compound as I think it provides a better seal. Make sure the plug and the threaded hole in the side of the water heater are clean before you replace the plug whether you use teflon, pipe compound or nothing.


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