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Old 06-13-2012, 09:04 PM   #1
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Water Heater Disaster

I am hoping I didn't do any damage to our water heater. I turned on our water heater for the first time today since de-winterizing. I made sure the water heater had water in it and then allowed it 20 minutes to heat up using the LP. When I went to turn it on, all I was getting was tepid water. So, I called the RV service center where we bought our trailer. The service man tried to talk me through why the water was tepid and had me play around with the valves on the water heater. At one point, I had a white valve perpendicular to the pipe and the water pump was going crazy when I turned on the faucet to test the water temp. I quickly turned everything off and put the white valve back in the position it was in originally. I was going to let the water heater heat up longer and told the serviceman I would call him back.

After talking with him, I went to clean underneath our bed that has a huge storage area and found a massive pool of water. I cleaned that up and traced the water back to the water heater. I have tried using the water heater to see if I can see any obvious leaking while it's in use but I don't see any drips. But after letting it rest for a while, I am finding tiny pools of water by the water heater. I clean it up and it comes back. I can't figure out where it is leaking from!

Here are a few (poor quality) pictures to help with a visual.

Any ideas?
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:14 PM   #2
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Your set up is different than mine. The valve you are pointing out may be your drain valve. Typically for flow the handle will line up with the valve body and a perpendicular position will be off. I think your drain valve may be leaking or not shut off all the way.

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:20 PM   #3
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I should add that it is currently in the perpendicular position. I just went to check on it and the paper towel that I put under that pipe is wet. I'm very worried as we are heading out tomorrow and taking the trailer on a surveying job my husband is doing.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:26 PM   #4
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It may be a bad pex pipe crimp. You need to get a lawn chair, a flashlight and another couple of paper towels.

Put a dry paper towel under the leak and I hate to say it but sit there until whatever is leaking drips on it. It will take some time and patience. Wipe the valve or area you think is leaking dry and look for moisture. Let me know what you find. Send a pic.

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Old 06-14-2012, 12:48 AM   #5
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My husband checked it out when he got home and really tightened this valve where we thought the leak was coming from. I just went to check on it after letting it sit for a couple hours and NO wet paper towel! Hopefully, that will be the fix we needed.
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:20 AM   #6
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So it looks like it was just a loose fitting. No big deal!
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:21 AM   #7
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Looks like you've nailed it, glad it was caught in time...

Those screw-on connections are very prone to leaking, and if carelessly installed will strip/crack without any warning....ask me how I know.

Bob
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS
Looks like you've nailed it, glad it was caught in time...

Those screw-on connections are very prone to leaking, and if carelessly installed will strip/crack without any warning....ask me how I know.

Bob
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:47 AM   #9
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Just doing what I am told.....
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If you look closely at Bob's photo, you'll see the plastic connector is broken and causing a nasty leak.

I would recommend that you look/google Sharkbite connectors. There are numerous YouTube videos that will teach you the basics of RV plumbing connections. A Sharkbite connection is something you should consider.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:19 AM   #10
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In a plastic to brass threaded connection it's always better for the plastic end to be male and the brass end to be female. Female plastic threads are always a weak point in any installation. The force of the tapered male threads puts to much pressure on the plastic and eventually the joint will fail. If you'll notice a lot of the new fittings coming out that are plastic will have a brass end. This is why.

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Old 06-14-2012, 10:30 AM   #11
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Murrey, Sharkbites are good, but dependent on a neopreme "O" ring for a seal. The rings have a tendancy to dry, shrink and crack if not kept wet. I also don't know how they would react to RV antifreeze. They do work very well when you are knee deep in water though. I look at them as a tempoary fix.

After many years of doubt and reading lots of technical information and seeing the product improve I like the PEX. Red pipe for hot, Blue Pipe for cold. Joints have been stress tested crimps and bands are stout and the material has a memory so if you do have a low spot in your system and it freezes and expands it will likely return to its original circumfrence.

PEX piping is a good application for RV potable water systems.

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Old 06-14-2012, 11:46 AM   #12
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I don't like all the unnecessary connections and the use of PEX with plastic couplers instead of the brass ones. The use of plastic fittings is not good as they are prone to crack and leak. It is best to go brass pipe fittings to brass pipe fittings to brass PEX fittings. The only thing plastic should be the PEX. I don't like plastic PEX connectors because they may relax over time and cause leaks unlike brass.

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Old 06-14-2012, 11:52 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RedDogBullet View Post
My husband checked it out when he got home and really tightened this valve where we thought the leak was coming from. I just went to check on it after letting it sit for a couple hours and NO wet paper towel! Hopefully, that will be the fix we needed.
Glad that it worked out. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:56 AM   #14
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Perry, I think all of the PEX fittings are brass now. The eaelier plastic ones failed and they made the switch several years ago. Matbe some are buying old unused stock. I would only install this with brass fittings. The brass is able to support the tension of the band when crimped properly.

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