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Old 07-27-2015, 08:10 PM   #15
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The problem must be in the heater or the short lines from the bypass valve assembly to the heater.

I reverse flushed the lines this morning and the flow improved quite a bit but the hot water was still slow when compared to the cold water.

This evening I went out to try NWRVR and SteamDog's suggestions. Draining water from the tank to make sure that there was an air bubble only had the effect of making the water pump short cycle (1 second on / 1 second off) when the hot water tap is open. Runs constantly when the cold tap is on.

Opening the bypass and closing the heater supply and return valves gets full flow both hot and cold and the pump runs as it should.

The problem must be either bad bypass valves or the heater has a blockage in the tank. My trailer is piped with PEX so taking apart the lines is a real PITA but I guess I'm going to have to if the problem is to be fixed.

Thanks for all the suggestions and I'll post an update once I find the problem.

Orin
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:56 PM   #16
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Maybe try this ...

You say the hot water heater bypass is with three way valves.

Is there a way valve them to force the cold water into the hot water outlet of the water heater with the drain plug removed?

Because when I read everything that is the only place and direction that has not been washed out.

Make sense?
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:31 PM   #17
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@ nrgtrakr

When I connected the garden hose to the kitchen and then the bath sink and forced city water back through the system that would have caused the flow to enter the hot water tank through the tank's outlet port. When I was reverse flushing the hot water line I had the tank's drain plug removed.

Orin
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:54 PM   #18
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When you reverse flushed the lines, you said the flow improved. Did you capture the flow to see if any debris came through?

Before taking apart pex fittings, I would still try a vinegar soak. Scale could have come out of the water heater and partially blocked a fitting. Other than a few bucks for the vinegar, I see no downside. Plus, you'll clean out your 17 year old plumbing system!
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:11 PM   #19
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Before taking the plumbing apart, I would fill the WH tank with distilled vinegar. Vinegar has enough acid to dissolve any deposits without harming the WH or plumbing. You will need at least 4 gallons if you have a six gallon WH. You can add a gallon or two of water with the vinegar to fill the WH tank.

First drain the water out of the system. (open all drain valves, remove WH plug, open all faucets). No need to blow with compressed air, just gravity drain what will run out.

Second, reinstall the WH drain plug and close all faucets. Open the pressure relief valve on the WH. Pump distilled vinegar into the WH (just like winterizing with antifreeze except let the vinegar go into the WH tank not in the water pipes) If you do not have a winterizing kit on your pump, use a funnel and hose connected to the water inlet to pour it in. Let it set a few hours.

Third, Remove the plug to drain the WH tank then close the pressure relief valve. You can save this vinegar to reuse next time. (or, after you have captured what vinegar and solids that drained from the WH tank you can reuse a gallon or two, after removing any solids, to fill the water pipes to dissolve any deposits are inside pipes and faucet valves)

Fourth, Remove the screens at each fixture and use water to flush the entire water system until the vinegar smell is gone.

If I'm not clear enough, you can google search to find some videos that show how to do this.
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Old 07-27-2015, 11:11 PM   #20
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I had a similar situation and it turned out I had left the "Outside shower" valve open when I had drained it for cold weather. But water was not coming out because the shower head cutoff was shut. But this caused just enough loss of pressure to keep my hot water in the trailer sinks from coming out hot.
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:02 AM   #21
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Good Morning Folks,

I'm heading for Harris Teeter in a few minutes to get 6 gallons of distilled vinegar to hopefully remove what ever is causing the blockage in the heater. I'm going to open the drains before I leave so the tank is empty when I get back.

In reading the cleaning instructions on Atwood's site, they say "Cycle" the heater after filling with vinegar. Are they suggesting that you start the burner and heat the vinegar?

I hope one of you folks is up and about this early -

Orin
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:44 PM   #22
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Well guys, there is no joy in Mudville this afternoon.

I filled the tank with 3.5 gallons of vinegar (all I could get in through the pop-off valve) and then another couple of gallons of fresh water. I started the heater and let it come up to temperature then let it sit for a little over 6 hours.

I drained the heater then reverse flushed the hot water lines again. After recharging the system I tried the hot water side and there was no change in the flow rate.

I guess the only step now is to remove the heater to see just what's causing the restriction. It will have to wait until we come back from our upcoming trip and at least there is sufficient flow for showers, just not what I'd like to see.

Orin
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Old 07-28-2015, 08:36 PM   #23
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It sounds like you did not use the vinegar to soak/flush the lines and fittings downstream of the water heater. Before removing the heater, I sure would try that (more vinegar!)
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:05 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siegmann View Post
It sounds like you did not use the vinegar to soak/flush the lines and fittings downstream of the water heater. Before removing the heater, I sure would try that (more vinegar!)
Actually I did - When I drained the system prior to starting the vinegar fill, I left the heater bypass valves open and vinegar filled the supply lines and part of the bypass. Some may have gone into the discharge line also. Anyway, the fill line was full for about 30 minutes until I reconnected the city water line to finish filling the tank so I could heat the solution that was in the tank. Once the tank was hot, I opened the drain valve so some of the solution would refill the supply side and before that I had opened the sink faucet so some solution would fill the discharge line.

This is an estimate but the vinegar/water solution was in the neighborhood of 70% vinegar and 30% water.

At this point the only thing left to try - with vinegar - is to fill the hot water system from one of the faucets so the hot water side is completely filled with vinegar. I can try that tomorrow AM and if it doesn't work then I'll just pull the heater at a later date.

Orin
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Old 08-19-2015, 06:17 PM   #25
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I fixed mine today, same problems as you have. You should have good pressure when heater valves are closed and bypass is open. One or both heater valves has a washer stuck on the seat. Turn off heater. Drain water heater. Place small towel under valves. Take pliers or small crescent wrench remove jamb nut. Remove valve stem in unscrewing fashion. Notice no rubber washer on button of stem. Use paper clip or small screw driver and fish out washer. Place washer on stem. I heated a flat screw driver warm and melt the plastic button against washer.This created more resistance to keep washer on. Assemble and wala. This winter, I will not tighten heater valves as much. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:07 AM   #26
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@streaminwild

Thanks for the tip as that appears to be the problem with my system.

I removed the three valve stems and found the seat to be stuck in the valve body just as you found. I used a super glue to re-attach the seat to the stem and will re-install them tomorrow afternoon. The glue takes 24 hours for total cure.

Here are photos of what I found, the fix, and a link to a valve that I'll be replacing these cheap Airstream supplied valves with. Using these cheap valves on their trailers is a silly decision. The savings were minimal over a quality ball valve.

The Problem:


The Fix:


The long term fix will be a valve similar to this one. A quick internet search has found them for $3.99. I had bought a PEX tool to modify the piping a couple of years ago so I have the tools to make the modification.

Shop Apollo 1/2-in Dia Brass PEX Ball Valve Crimp Fitting at Lowes.com
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:37 AM   #27
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@streaminwild

Your suggestion solved the problem - THANKS!!!!!

I now have equal hot and cold water flow.

Orin
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:40 PM   #28
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Orin, Your pictures are worth a thousand words. Great job with close-ups which reminds me......I need to make an appointment with my dentist. Gregg
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