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Old 02-04-2016, 11:13 PM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Pinhole leak in Atwood Water Heater

Have a 66 Tradewind that came with a damaged Bowen hot water heater. Since the Bowen was unworkable, I replaced it with a 6 gallon Atwood gas/electric model GC6AA-8. That was about 3 years ago and it has performed flawlessly during full time use, until...
this morning, when I noticed a pinhole leak in the tank. It must have leaked a bit for a while as the black stains indicate. Looks like it ran along the styrofoam insulation seam. This leak is no where near any seams or fittings, and it has not frozen. The tank is flushed periodically and has softened and filtered water. Has anyone else experienced this? How can I prevent the same from happening again? Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:54 AM   #2
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2005 19' Safari
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Just an observation, but it's odd that the primary horizontal rust stain is a straight line. Also, the six vertical rust stains are evenly spaced.

Two questions:
  • Is the orientation of this photo the same as the installation in your Airstream; i.e., is your photo rotated 90 degrees?

  • Was there something like a metal grate, with the same spacing as the vertical stains, touching the tank?
If the answers to the above are NO, then perhaps there is something (e.g., electric heater) internal to the tank that caused this pattern. If so, this may be a manufacturing or design defect/deficiency; and Atwood might provide a "good faith" replacement or discount, even if the warranty is expired.

Just some thoughts...
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Old 02-05-2016, 05:50 AM   #3
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Isn't that an aluminum tank? Then the stains are from something else. Could it be from a plumbing leak above draining down onto the tank? Or have you confirmed that it is coming from the tank itself?
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Old 02-05-2016, 06:13 AM   #4
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It is an aluminum tank, which had a styrofoam insulator around it prior to removal. The insulator is 2-piece. The stains follow the horizontal seam ( the leak appears to have run from the top to the seam, where it spread before running down within the insulator. I suspect the spacing is due to the styrofoam mold, but may be due to something about the tank.
This is definitely the source of the leak, and the insulator prevented anything else from coming in contact with the tank.
The picture is oriented the way the tank was installed.
Thank you for the input. I have contacted Atwood and will let you know what the response is.
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Old 02-05-2016, 08:34 AM   #5
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This may or may not apply to your situation, but check out my fix for a pin hole leak Post #6:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f445...ld-115626.html
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Old 02-05-2016, 09:06 AM   #6
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Fix that hole,another will show up ,in a little while my experience.....
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:37 AM   #7
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Hello Lou

In some parts of the country, the water is acidic and extremely corrosive. I ran into that in north Georgia years ago but there are other places where it is a problem. If you run a pH test on the water you usually use and it's below 7.0 then that's your culprit.

Not much to do now except replace the tank.

Using soft water can make the problem worse in some water chemistries, because the calcium and manganese removed by the water softener have a buffering effect that will raise the pH high enough to prevent corrosion in some cases. Again it depends on the local water chemistry. There are ways that acid water can be treated so if you're having a problem with water that you fill up with at home you could consider getting an acid neutralizer for it. A local soft water dealer would be familiar with the problems in your area and could set you up, or if you are willing to cultivate the expertise yourself you can buy and install one from an online place. I've had good experiences with affordablewater.us.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:39 AM   #8
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Here's a link to their page of pH control stuff.

http://www.affordablewater.us/uCalci...stemu-C72.aspx
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:10 PM   #9
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Although the manual says I don't need it, I use a "sacrificial" magnesium anode in my Atwood.

BTW - In addition to heat and pressure, aluminum corrosion is a function of water chemistry and pH.

Wouldn't it be great if all water had a neutral pH of 7.0?? it doesn't!!

Tom
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:33 PM   #10
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From past experience, both in RV's and our home.....if you have one leak that you can see because of corrosion, there will soon be several more. You might as well bite the bullet and change the water heater...

For whatever it's worth.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomKirk View Post
Although the manual says I don't need it, I use a "sacrificial" magnesium anode in my Atwood.

BTW - In addition to heat and pressure, aluminum corrosion is a function of water chemistry and pH.

Wouldn't it be great if all water had a neutral pH of 7.0?? it doesn't!!

Tom
Where would I purchase one of these ? I put a Atwood 10 gal in my overlander
Bob
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Old 02-05-2016, 06:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
Fix that hole,another will show up ,in a little while my experience.....
Exactly. Corrosion theory says that corrosion leaks will appear on a log scale - if you have ten leaks this year, you'll have a hundred leaks next year.
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Old 02-05-2016, 08:46 PM   #13
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Thanks for the replies and info. New water heater ordered.
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Old 02-06-2016, 07:16 AM   #14
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Have the old tank welded, simple $20 fix.
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