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Old 09-28-2004, 03:21 PM   #1
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Question Where's the water heater drain?

I am trying to drain the water heater in my 25', 1972 Airstream Land Yacht trailer. All I see behind the outside access panel is a small t-shaped valve of some type with a hole in the center and a high pressure relief valve. I don't see a drain plug anywhere. When I put compressed air in the main 'city-water' hook-up, I hear water bubbling in the area of the water heater, but nothing drains out anywhere. I have opened all the red handled valves inside the trailer - only because the manual said to do so - and have tipped the tongue all the way up and then down as mentioned in the instructions. Quite a bit of water came out of the holding tank and, I guess, some of the lines, but I don't believe I am getting all the water out. Also, how do you hand turn the water pump (as advised in the manual) after disconnecting the lines? I think I have a Shur pump. I am not seeing or hearing any air or water come out of the kitchen or bathroom faucets when using an air compressor. Should I be hearing air come out of the faucets? Should I just dump 5 or 6 gallons of antifreeze in the main fresh water holding tank and pump it through all the lines and water heater with the water pump, or is there an easier / better way to do so? I have seen some kind of a hand pump that siphons antifreeze out of the jug and into the trailer lines somehow. Is this an advisable thing to get? If so, how do you work it? Thanks in advance for any help or advice. It's starting to get a bit cold here in Michigan!
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Old 09-28-2004, 05:56 PM   #2
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Someone may have removed the nylon drain plug and replaced it with a petcock . That would be a brass part with the t shaped valve. all the way out is no drain and screw in to drain. Open the pop off valve (hi pressure relief) to allow air in the tank.
Hopefully you have a hot water heater by pass. Two valves accesable from the inside that allow you to by-pass the hot water heater for winterizing. If not you might consider installing one.
You can disconnect the input side of the water pump and attache a clear line (you will have to fix a proper size connecter to one end of the clear line) onto the pump put the other end into a gallon jug of the pink stuff turn on the pump and open the faucets one at a time, don't forget the flush the toilet.
That is the way I do it. I'm sure others have their way and will give you additional ideas.

Garry
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Old 09-28-2004, 06:41 PM   #3
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Gary. Thanks for the reply. I'll take a closer look not that I have an idea what to look for! Thanks again. Tom
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Old 10-03-2004, 06:23 AM   #4
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Gary you were right. Looks like the PO replaced the nylon drain plug with a petcock. Now I wish he/she had installed a water heater bypass on the thing. The copper water lines are soldered and flare-fitted so tightly to the back of the water heater that I have no room to fit a permanent by-pass kit, let alone hook up a temporary one. It looks like I may have to disconnect the lines, pull the water heater completely out, then shorten the top (labeled HOT) line going into the water heater. Then I have to remove a t-fitting on the lower line, shorten that line and then re-solder in another t-fitting so as to make room for the by-pass valves. Unless anyone knows of an easier way! The easiest way would be to hire a copper-experienced plumber, I suppose!! By the way. Do you have any idea what the plumbing device is that is attached to and immediately before the plastic drain tube. It has a little yellow tape label that looks like it says "Webster 111" then gives a pressure setting like 125 lbs? I think it has something to do with water pressure of some type. However, there is also a much larger fitting, this one with a large adjustment screw in the middle of it, that also has some type of a pressure setting labeling. I think this one is to control the amount of incoming water pressure, but I am not sure. I bought a line-pressure protection valve to attach to my in-coming water hose when it's directly connected to a water source, but now wonder if this add-on valve was an unnecessary purchase. Well, thanks again. Tom
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Old 10-03-2004, 07:38 AM   #5
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my 73 is the same as you describe...flare fittings, etc. not alot of room in there, but yeah, we'll both have to do some modifcations to get a by-pass kit installed. (its on my list, too ). It might be easier to use pex connections, but I'm not certain that there's enough room in there. check out www.pexconnection.com; most new RV's are plumbed with this stuff...more resistant to freeze damage, and easy to install w/ compression fittings.

I wouldn't put the pink stuff into the water tank, as I hear it is difficult to get the stuff out completely. its not "toxic", but I'd just as soon do the bypass valve and then pump the antifreeze directly out of the gallon jugs. they also have a kit that permanently installs in the water pump's intake line, with a valve that re-directs to this auxilliary line that you put into the gallon jugs of AF.

If you open all those low-point drains like you mentioned, that'll drain the water heater, as well. one of them is for the hot water line.

I'm definatley doing the anti-freeze method this year, as I had damage to my pump last winter, when we had particuluarly cold weather. (sub-zero). I followed the manual's instructions, like you said, and then I blew out the lines with air, as well...still had damage. there's no way to get ALL the water out. and those few drops that remained in my pump were enough to break it.

The other devices you describe sound like the check-valves. they keep city water pressure from going to the pump, and pump water from just flowing out the city water connection. there is a built-in pressure regulator in the one near the city connection, but its still always a good idea to use the external one, as it protects your hose, and gives you a good backup for the built-in regulator. (who knows when that one will fail, or if it already has?).
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Old 10-03-2004, 09:49 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback Chuck. I did install a syphon valve and hose at the water pump inlet to pump directly out of the antifreeze bottle. As far as I know, this way it won't let the antifreeze get pumped into the main fresh water holding tank. I'll take a look at the Pex connectors, but I thought I read somewhere here in the Forum that Pex only had a limited life span before degradation or something. I'll post on the forum what I wind up doing. Thanks again. Tom
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Old 10-03-2004, 10:21 AM   #7
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yeah, part of that winterizing kit is a valve that will prevent any back-flow into the holding tank.

I think the Pex will outlive all of us, many times over. must've been something else you were reading about.
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