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Old 01-24-2014, 11:45 PM   #1
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Freezing Damage, Water Heater?

I made an amateur mistake, I drained the water tank but I did not drain the water heater, when I went to prime the system it labored and I noticed a little bit of water on the floor near the Bed and the closet. This is in the vicinity or the water heater. If I cracked the tank would it leak there. I don't know where to start. Im very handy but Im not sure if I should start tearing things apart or take it to a professional. I have a 2004 16ft bambi. Any ideas, input, greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:06 AM   #2
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Freezing Damage, Water Heater?

Well plumbing sucks, especially "old work", but that aside it is just a matter of finding the leak and fixing it, since you are handy you can do it if you choose.

First off you need to determine if you broke a pipe or fitting or if the whole heater froze so hard that the tank ruptured.

I would lean toward a cracked pipe or fitting but only a careful inspection will tell for sure.

I think I would try for an easy location with water, if this proves difficult about 40 psi of compressed air in the system and a spray bottle of soap and water might work well,

Good luck!!
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:09 AM   #3
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Btw, if I were to place seat of the pants odds on what broke, I would give 10 to 1 on a pipe or fitting, hopefully not the tank fittings themselves.
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:13 AM   #4
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Seeing as you are in soCal, I amend my previous post to 80 to 1 pipe or fitting.
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:30 AM   #5
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I forgot to drain the tank once in a previous travel trailer and it sat through the winter in Denver, Colorado. The tank itself was undamaged but the drain plug leaked.
The hardest part about finding your leak is getting at it. If the leak is not apparent inside the water heater cabinet, you will have to take the interior of your trailer partially apart to get at it.
In my trailer this is easy; the water heater is under the bed on the roadside and there is a cabinet under the bed.
I would at least diagnose he problem before sending it out for repair. It may be that the leak is in a difficult or impossible place to work on without removing the heater.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:37 AM   #6
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If the water heater tank had some water in it but was not under pressure, you may get lucky.

Bypass the water heater (see manual), open the pressure relief, drain it completely, and then re-pressurize your system.
- If the leak stops, it is probably the tank or one of the fittings, plug, or short lines feeding it.
- If the leak continues, it is not the tank and you have some more hunting to do.

Also check your toilet fill valve. I forgot to clear that one winter and it drove me nuts figuring it out because it was leaking just a tiny bit down the water line, under the vinyl, and then under the carpet on the bedroom floor.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:15 AM   #7
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ok thanks for all the info, after bypassing the water heater the system pressurized but the pump comes on for about a second every minute or two. so Im trying to track that leak down. with the water heater pressurized it leaks like a sieve. mostly draining outside at the plugs and behind some panels but most of the water leaks on the exterior thankfully. Their is a small amount inside where I pulled off the floorboard in the closet. Im figuring I have to replace the entire heater? Common sense tells me the heater is replaced through the exterior but there is an access pannel in the closet and Im hoping it doesent come out through there because the valves for the water lines would have to be removed. Either way it looks a little tricky. again thanks again for the help.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:39 PM   #8
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figured out how to get the water heater out and the tank had indeed burst, headed to airstream tomorrow to try to get a new one. its def a little tricky getting it out because its such a tight squeeze through the exterior opening and the closet is so small I cant get my shoulders in and disconect the plumbing with two hands. ha. good stuff, I feel a sense of accomplishment having it out we shall see how getting the new one in goes!
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:44 PM   #9
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Bummer. Must have gotten colder in SoCal than I thought!

My 80 to 1 one odds could have cost me some real bread....
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:40 AM   #10
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Sorry to confuse trailer was in Oregon last winter
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:14 PM   #11
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May I suggest that you alter your profile to add the trailer model and year? That information is often necessary to answer questions you may pose...
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:06 PM   #12
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The OP has a 2004 Bambi.
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Old 02-20-2014, 01:40 AM   #13
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New water heater works great now but a myriad of other problems. galley faucet leaking, lavatory shower won't stop running even after replacing washer seats and pump is leaking a little out the front. guess my hopes of streaming at the beach this weekend are dashed for some more trouble shooting and part locating. Ill get there! thanks to everyone for all the help.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:51 PM   #14
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Every time I read one of these winterization-related threads, I am so thankful I live in the temperate SF Bay Area. My hat's off to all you who cope annually with a real winter season...
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