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Old 09-19-2004, 07:19 PM   #1
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Question H20 heater: drain how often?

We're on the road now with our fully functional Overlander

Unfortunately, the last hurricane put a dent in our travel plans. Today, as the Airstream was sitting in the driveway, I was out rinsing the soap out of the lavatory sink after number 1 son realized there was no running water at the time. It dawned on me that water had been sitting in the water heater for about two weeks. I decided to run the hot water facet until I thought the water heater had new water.

My question: I assume most people do not drain the water heater between trips. Good assumption?

Assuming the first question's answer is "that is correct", how often should I either flush the water heater, or just plain drain it if there is going to be a while between trips? I'm trying to avoid showing up at the next campsite with bad smelling hot water.

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 09-19-2004, 08:21 PM   #2
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I drain it after each trip by turning on the pump and letting it run into the gray tank. I don't like the old water sitting in there and carrying the extra weight either.
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Old 09-19-2004, 08:36 PM   #3
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I also drain the water heater after every trip! It used to be one of those "no fun" jobs until I replaced the drain plug with a valve. Now I just open the valve and let it run. Also, when I'm preparing to go on a trip, I hook up the city water to the trailer then turn on the water while the water heater drain valve is open to flush the water heater. I usually let it flush for at least 5 minutes. I figure this not only flushes out any stale water that may have not drained, but it also flushes away any sediment in the tank. Then I flush the remaining water systems bleeding off the air that gets into the lines from the water heater.
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Old 09-20-2004, 01:52 AM   #4
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I have an atwood water heater with the alumium tank.

It has the plastic drain plug. I have tried a couple of times to find a drain valve to replace it with. No luck yet.

Any ideas? I assume it would also have to be plastic.
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Old 09-20-2004, 05:20 AM   #5
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Try this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
I have an atwood water heater with the alumium tank.

It has the plastic drain plug. I have tried a couple of times to find a drain valve to replace it with. No luck yet.

Any ideas? I assume it would also have to be plastic.
Greetings Tim~
Try looking at places like Camping World, etc..
The valve will be metal. Cost is around 4 or 5 dollars..
What I did was wrap the thread with teflon tape to prevent leaks..After it's installed, all you need to open is the peacock to drain..Makes winterizing your unit easier as well..
Good Luck`
ciao
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Old 09-20-2004, 11:22 AM   #6
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Thanks Vern,

I'll check it out.
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Old 09-20-2004, 01:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
I have an atwood water heater with the alumium tank.

It has the plastic drain plug. I have tried a couple of times to find a drain valve to replace it with. No luck yet.

Any ideas? I assume it would also have to be plastic.
I would tend to believe that you would like to keep it plastic or a similar material since I thought the dissimilar metals in the tank and valve can cause a corrosive reaction.

Jack
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Old 09-20-2004, 01:45 PM   #8
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how often do your replace the anode rod in your Atwoods? I have yet to replace mine
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Old 09-20-2004, 02:15 PM   #9
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Galvanized steel fittings are more electrolitically active than aluminum. If the two are put together, the zinc of the galvanizing becomes the sacrificial anode (it will oxidize) for the aluminum. The more stable metal, in this case aluminum sends ions to the less stable metal "zinc". Thats one of the reasons the sacrificial anodes for water heaters are made of zinc. If Brass fittings are used, brass is more stable than aluminum and it will send ions to the aluminum, but there is such a small amount of brass that the impact on the aluminum will be minimal. Also, if there is an anode present, the aluminum and brass will be sending ions to the anode.
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Old 09-20-2004, 02:41 PM   #10
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So are you saying the use of brass fittings in an aluminum tank not cause a problem? Or at least its mild enough not to worry about it?

I used brass fittings on the supply lines connecting into the tank when I installed it.

The atwoods do not use anode rods.
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Old 09-20-2004, 02:48 PM   #11
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I'm saying there is such a small amount of brass and it is so electrolitically inactive as to not present a problem.
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Old 09-20-2004, 02:57 PM   #12
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Thanks for the info. It makes me feel better since I used the brass fittings on the water connections.

So, it stands to reason, I should find a brass valve if a plastic one is not available.
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Old 10-10-2004, 03:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcwilliams
We're on the road now with our fully functional Overlander

Unfortunately, the last hurricane put a dent in our travel plans. Today, as the Airstream was sitting in the driveway, I was out rinsing the soap out of the lavatory sink after number 1 son realized there was no running water at the time. It dawned on me that water had been sitting in the water heater for about two weeks. I decided to run the hot water facet until I thought the water heater had new water.

My question: I assume most people do not drain the water heater between trips. Good assumption?

Assuming the first question's answer is "that is correct", how often should I either flush the water heater, or just plain drain it if there is going to be a while between trips? I'm trying to avoid showing up at the next campsite with bad smelling hot water.

Thanks,
Tom
This is a good question, I don't ever drain mine between trips (which are about once per month), the only time it is drained is for winterizing and is left dry for about 2 to 3 months. I have often wondered about the pros and cons of draing but have not seen much on this forum. I have owned A/s for over 20 years and have had to replace one water heater because it had corroded and started to leak. This occurred after abuot 10 years of use. My current trailer is a 93 model and has the original heater. I would assume a lot has to do with the quality of the water that is used most; but with a trailer that can vary alot. I'd love to know what others have experienced. Thanks for starting this thread-I'll be watching for other responses.
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Old 10-10-2004, 08:40 PM   #14
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I replaced my plug with a brass fitting. I always drain before I leave to go anywhere to keep the weight down on the rear of the trailer. I rinsed the hotwater tank out with a wand at the beginning of summer and only used the hot water once. I thought it was fully drained after one of my last trips but apparently not. Out came what looked like grey wattery paint. I rinsed it out again and made sure that the tank was empty this time. Leaving water in the tank will contribute to scale which will be carried throughout the water system. It will plug up your faucets and that means extra work for you to clean the screens out.
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