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Old 11-04-2019, 03:49 PM   #1
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Did I destroy my water heater?

We just returned from a weekend winter campout. I had pretty much drained everything before we left and only used the black tank for draining the little bit of water that we brought with us and used. The problem is that when we got home yesterday and plugged into house power apparently one of us accidentally turned on the switch for the water heater. Today I went out to finish up winterizing for long term storage. When I put air pressure to the system and started to finish draining the system and turned on the cold water side of the sink the little bit of water left in the system came out hot & brown. This was the cold side. This was the case in the shower, bathroom sink, and the toilet. Hotish brownish water. That's when I realized that the water heater with was on. I've now finished draining everything but I can't help but be worried by the hot/brown water coming out of the cold side of everything.

Any thoughts?
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:07 PM   #2
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If the electric element was turned on while not immersed in water it most likley is burned out. However, the water heater is not ruined. New element about $15. Labor 2 or 3 hours
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Old 11-12-2019, 04:20 PM   #3
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I did essentially the same thing; turned on the electric water heater but there was no water in the tank. I thought I had trashed my water heater.

However, it worked fine. I think there is probably a protective switch that prevented damage.

You may be okay. fill it with water and turn it on.
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Old 11-12-2019, 04:55 PM   #4
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The next time you hook up to city water, you might want to get the filter/hose hooked up, close all faucets etc., and leave the drainage plug out of the bottom of the water heater. Turn on the city water gradually, and let it flow out of the water heater, thereby hopefully flushing out all that brown gunk -- first.

Put the drainage plug back in, and open various cold water faucets [after first removing filters/aerators], and let the cold pipes get flushed out also. Being hooked up to a sewer line will help during all this.

Then move on to the hot faucets etc..

Whatever that brown stuff is . . . you want to flush it out carefully IMO,

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckZ View Post
. . .
I've now finished draining everything but I can't help but be worried by the hot/brown water coming out of the cold side of everything.

Any thoughts?
Wondering if you did any further remediation on this?

Thanks,

Peter
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:35 AM   #6
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I'm curious also.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:19 AM   #7
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Sorry for the delay in reply. I refilled the system (I had a 1 day window due to a brief warm up). Turned on the water heater and everything was OK. I was very fortunate.
All of the brown water was because I had not bypassed the water heater when I blew out the system. Yet again the reason we should always have a check list and stick to it.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:04 AM   #8
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Thanks for the update, glad it all worked out.

Peter
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