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Old 09-21-2005, 10:48 AM   #1
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Winterize: Water htr- drain or not??

Greetings.

I don't even won't to contemplate the end of a to short summer but....

A question about preping for winter.

I have a 2004 coach that has both front and rear low point water valves. Last year I went the whole nine yards and drain the HWHeater by unscrewing the nylon drain plug.

As anyone can tell you, this plug is not only hard to get at because of a metal flange, but the fact that it is made out of plastic even after the first winterize, it gets pretty chewed up.

So I started thinking, do I even have to remove this plug if I am draining most or all the water from the HWH from the rear and front drain valves? Could you just drain from the preasure relief overflow valve on the HWH?

I just remember gashing my hand trying to get that plug out, and was thinking maybe that this was over-kill.

All other proper winterize methods followed as ussual: blow out water lines, watrer heater by pass, anti-freeze etc.

Is it in fact OK to leave a water heater for a winter with a gallon or two in it, along with keeping all faucetts open so preasure doesn't build.

Thanks.

Jonathan
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Old 09-21-2005, 11:01 AM   #2
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My advice is to drain it. Find yourself an adjustable wrench or socket that will fit the area. I use an adjustable cresent wrench and with careful use, I can get the plug out without chewing it up.

Granted I would guess with external air pressure being applied you can probably get a lot of water out of that tank. Even removing the plug won't drain it dry. The question becomes how much left behind is too much?

Finally the last reason for pulling the plug is to drain out the minerals and othe debris found in the tank. I use my tank saver to scour out anything left on the walls. If you do this annually, that tank will probably outlast you.

Jack
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Old 09-21-2005, 11:05 AM   #3
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The water heater in the 76 I recently aquired acted more like a sprinkler system when I put water to it. I would opt to blow down the water lines and use anti freeze (or windshield wash fluid) in the traps.
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:18 PM   #4
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Jonathan -

I agree with Jack.

If you get a socket wrench with a several inch extender you won't have any problem removing the plug.

I also use one of those $15 tank saver devices to clean out my tank every couple months (frequency depends on the amount of calcified minerals I'm removing from the bottom of my tank), which is also recommended by Atwood.

Plus, after I drain the tank, I leave the plug out for the winter (this was something recommended in the owner's manual of the SOB's that I had prior to my Airstream), and I put a small bag of moth balls in the outside water heater compartment to keep out any unwanted critters.

I keep a spare water heater plug in my trailer in case I need to replace the plug. A spare plug costs under $1.

Make sure there isn't any hot water under pressure in the tank before removing the plug.
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Old 09-21-2005, 02:45 PM   #5
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Thanks guys.

I'll try the socket extension this year. I do leave the drain plug in place for the winter, but I leave it VERY loose, like 1/4 turn would remove it. My thinking is that it would relieve preasure from inside the tank when and if the remaining water freezes.

So draining from the overflow valve won't do it?

Jonathan
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Old 09-21-2005, 04:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev
Thanks guys.

I'll try the socket extension this year. I do leave the drain plug in place for the winter, but I leave it VERY loose, like 1/4 turn would remove it. My thinking is that it would relieve preasure from inside the tank when and if the remaining water freezes.

So draining from the overflow valve won't do it?

Jonathan
Nope that valve is up high in the tank. I put my drain plug back in after the water stops running out. I don't tighten it much either. You just have to remember to do that in the spring. What water is left in the tank is so little that freezing will not cause any damage.

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Old 09-21-2005, 07:52 PM   #7
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Mine has a modified patcock drain from an automobile radiator. You just grasp the little "wings" on the petcock, and turn it until the water drains.
If you don't like that, take out the nylon plug, and go to camping world, or your favorite RV supply store, and buy TWO, one for installing in the spring, and one for next year.
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:02 PM   #8
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Water Heater

Last year was my first for winterizing the AS. I had installed the WH by-pass on my SOB, but when I bought one for the AS and went to install it I realized I couldn't get to the back of the WH. The WH on my '75 Sovereign side bath can't be reached from the interior to install the by-pass. So last year I pumped the entire system with pink stuff. It seemed like a waste of many gallons of antifreeze to me. Any one have any better suggestions? Thanks.
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Old 09-23-2005, 11:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellN
The WH on my '75 Sovereign side bath can't be reached from the interior to install the by-pass. So last year I pumped the entire system with pink stuff. It seemed like a waste of many gallons of antifreeze to me. Any one have any better suggestions? Thanks.
Lowell, if there's no access even from a nearby outside locker, I would remove the securing screws and gently pull the WH partly outwards, as if I was going to replace the WH with a new one. I would then install the bypass, ensuring that the operating lever(s) are accessible. If this is difficult, you could extend the cut ends of the hot water pipe upwards to a convenient point. Another forum member with the same model trailer as you may have a better suggestion.
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Old 09-23-2005, 11:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellN
. So last year I pumped the entire system with pink stuff. It seemed like a waste of many gallons of antifreeze to me. Any one have any better suggestions? Thanks.
Well years ago I used to use the hand pump method on my SOB. I would drain the hot water tank and blow out the lines. After the lines were blown out I used a special hand pump from Camping World that had a hose and end that would go around the head of a faucet. The pump had another line that went into the bottle of RV antifreeze. Essentially I would pump the anti freeze from the bottle through the kitchen faucet. First on the cold side then on the hot side. I would open the valve on the opposite end of the line I was protecting.

For example I wanted to protect the cold lines. First I would open the valve for the sink in the bathroom. I started pumping antifreeze through the cold side of the kitchen faucet and eventually the antifreeze would exit the bathroom faucet. Then I would open the cold water on the shower. Again I would pump until the antifreeze exited the shower. Then my wife would hold open the valve to the toilet and I would pump until it turned pink. I did the same then opening up the hot water side in the kitchen and starting at the bathroom sink. The open valve on the hot water side was the least resistance and little if any antifreeze went into the water heater.

Didn't take too long. I did this method for years and never had a problem with the water lines.

Jack
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Old 09-23-2005, 07:22 PM   #11
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Thanks for the suggestions guys. I thought of partially removing the WH but I don't think it would do a whole lot of good. It's located on the curb side aft of the wheels. On the inside it goes into the cabinet/toilet area of the side bath. Looks totally unaccessable from the inside. I think I'll try the hand pump method this year. What type of pump did you use Jack? Where did you get it? Thanks again for the help guys, it's much appreciated, it'll soon be time to do the winterizing.

Lowell
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Old 09-24-2005, 12:09 AM   #12
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I use a box end wrench to remove the plug with little trouble.

Would a brass drain plug be an appropriate replacement for the plastic?
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Old 09-24-2005, 12:39 AM   #13
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Pull the plug, drain the water and put some RV antifreeze in the tank. I don't think the tank needs it, but I do it just the same and flush it out in the spring along with the rest of the entire water system.
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Old 09-24-2005, 11:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Pull the plug, drain the water and put some RV antifreeze in the tank. I don't think the tank needs it, but I do it just the same and flush it out in the spring along with the rest of the entire water system.
Dump in the anti-freeze through the drain plug?
I haven't done that, but it sounds like it would work.
I've always had a question whether I should do it or not.
I have to ask does the anti-freeze react with the aluminum tank?
I guess the correct question is, does it react to anything?
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