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