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Old 05-04-2011, 10:48 AM   #1
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1997 25' Safari
Montgomery , Alabama
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Wet insulation on water heater

This morning I discovered that the cardboard insulation around my Atwood water heater tank has adsorbed a lot of water. The wet area extends about 4” up the side that is visible from my storage compartment. I THINK the water came from a leak in the adjacent PEX at a valve used in the WH bypass. (when the handle of the valve is half open or half closed, water seeps from the valve. The valve is easily jarred by stuff I carry in the storage compartment.) I slightly tightened the packing nut on the valve and MAY have fixed the leak. I can also remove the valve handle during normal use and be more careful about packing the compartment. Right now I am in a campground in Mississippi –lovely, by the way-- and drying the affected area with a reversed vacuum.
MY QUESTION: I am considering cutting away the sodden cardboard insulation liner to speed drying and eliminate the potential mold problem. Is this advisable? Anyone with any experience with this? I could envision replacing the insulation I can easily reach with something like foam board in the future…right now I’d like to get the smelly mess out of there. ( my early probing already turned up a desiccated mouse corpse…) Your advice would be appreciated. Al
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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I would leave the cardboard intact and dry as much as possible blow air into the area and keep the water heater on. The heat will dry out the insulation. I would even waste some hot water to keep the burner on for a while. Gravity will bring a lot of the water to the floor where you can soak it up, Keep a fan going into that area will dry out the area.
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