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Old 02-03-2019, 02:51 PM   #1
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Could there be this much condensation?

.......On the water heater....here's the scenario.

Water heater winterized like always, and bypassed, so no antifreeze in the tank. As we know, and the manual states, there would be about 2 quarts of water left in the bottom of the tank, which causes no freeze splitting problems.

We have had over a week of below zero nights, followed by single digit days and barely below zero days. 3 nights ago it got to 23 below and two nights ago it got to 28 below. Then a rapid warm up. Yesterday about +39 and today +46. I finally decided to check on the AS, and heard a water alarm going off (I installed quite a few of these for obvious reasons) The alarm which was going off was located under the water heater. I found what looked like a lot of water under the heater. Truth be told, it is probably about a cup, Wood is soaked, but the painted black perimeter of the floor is dry. Water is definitely coming from under the Styrofoam (between the tank and the Styrofoam) and dripping out below the black electrical junction box (where the electric heating element is. That area is dry.

Inside temp of the AS is 50* with 70% RH. Everything on the outside of the trailer is sweating....like the tank pans and entire underbelly skin.

Could the 2 quarts of ice (starting at -28*F) be creating that much sweat in a suddenly +50* @70% RH interior surface??

Orrrrr, is the draining procedure prescribed by Atwood (Dometic) sufficient only down to some low temp, but not -28*.

Do you think that somehow my tank burst? I have used the same winterizing procedure on 2 trailers and 28 winters....but....I don't think either trailer ever saw -28*.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:28 PM   #2
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Use air pressure ....open the valves and check if the water heater has a leak..
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:40 PM   #3
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Need better weather before I can do that. I dried thing up and out some heat and a fan to the flooring. Steady drip now. Not condensation. This is a big mystery to me as to how this can happen.

Anybody got a not needed tank laying around? Model GC6AA-10E.
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:14 PM   #4
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Oh, boy! Here we go. I would say, "it even happens to the best of us...", but right now I don't feel like one of the best. The Muses....they laugh at me!

So, I had installed a valve drain in place of my tank plug, like a lot of us have. When I winterize, I open the valve, open the pressure relief valve, after bypassing the heater...and walk away to do the inside pink plumbing fill. Right? Sounds OK, and has always worked fine.

I got out my scope camera awhile ago, pulled the valve out...and what did I see? A lot of white corrosion completely blocking the plug bung hole. Popped it out, and ya know what I saw then? Solid ice!

Lessons learned:

1) maybe a valve isn't always such a good Idea

2) capture the draining water to ensure that you get 5 to 5 1/2 gallons of water out of the tank at draining (for a 6 gallon tank)

3) Flush the tank with vinegar then water AT LEAST every 2 years....sorta rendering the valve useless.

4) I didn't forget anything after performing this ritual some 27 times in the past....but I certainly overlooked something.

Expensive lesson in my first month of retirement budgeting.

Damned Muses!
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:35 PM   #5
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Could there be this much condensation?

Dang! Thatís an interesting failure mode.
Sigh. Time to consider a replacement water heater, dznf0g. I pulled our original Atwood 6 gallon and sold it to someone in Canada that was refurbishing a vintage rig. Put a PrecisionTemp 500 series tankless in the same hole. Two serious advantages: DW loves long hot showers. Other is winterizing is just blow the little bit of water out of it with compressed air.

Yes, kinda pricey, but DW is happy. Priceless, IMHO
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:37 PM   #6
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Dang! Thatís an interesting failure mode.
Sigh. Time to consider a replacement water heater, dznf0g. I pulled our original Atwood 6 gallon and sold it to someone in Canada that was refurbishing a vintage rig. Put a PrecisionTemp 500 series tankless in the same hole. Two serious advantages: DW loves long hot showers. Other is winterizing is just blow the little bit of water out of it. Yes, kinda pricey, but DW is happy. Priceless, IMHO
Thanks, I wish you hadn't suggested that. I found a replacement tank (new) on Amazon for $255. Might go that route. Have lots of time on my hands now, and loving it!
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:50 PM   #7
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Tried retiring in late 2013. Got dragged out of retirement as a direct consequence of my prior experience and a fresh CISSP certification. Mistake #1 was letting too many people know. Now I need to retire again...
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
. . .
1) maybe a valve isn't always such a good Idea
. . .
Sorry for the hard lesson. As the other Rich said, an "interesting failure mode." The improvement that wasn't.

Removing the old plastic drain plug each year always seems good IMO, in part because the [no-antifreeze winterization] compressed air could be controlled to blow out the open water heater drain hole, as one of the last steps, thereby removing most of the residual water permitted by the mfg. and AS.

KISS
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:59 PM   #9
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Sorry for the hard lesson. As the other Rich said, an "interesting failure mode."

Removing the old plastic drain plug each year always seems good IMO, because the [no-antifreeze winterization] compressed air could be controlled to blow out the open water heater drain hole, as one of the last steps, thereby removing most of the residual water permitted by the mfg. and AS.

KISS
Thanks, no biggie. Nothing a couple hundred and a day won't fix. Got a tank and the PEX fixins ordered tonight. Actually found a tank for $181 after shopping around on Amazon. It comes with the 120v box, ECO switch, heating element, gaskets and rings and I think the thermostat is in the black box too, but the reviews don't mention it.

Gotta get the unit out tomorrow though. The temps are rising all night and through tomorrow, before going sub freezing. I am not sure how much water was left in there when the drain plugged, but I can't have it dripping on the floor. Getting a drop about every 3 seconds when the heat was on it earlier. Has slowed to a drop every 7 seconds or so now that I let it go back to ambient temps. Will have to work around rain and drizzle though...that doesn't make me happy.
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Old 02-03-2019, 09:03 PM   #10
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BTW, removal tips are welcome. 2007 30' Classic...it's tight fit under the bath sink. Not even going to try removing just the tank through the inside cabinet, unless someone has done it and can explain how to finagle it around and out into the bathroom. I believe I'll have to pull the entire unit from the outside??
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Old 02-03-2019, 09:10 PM   #11
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No knowledge on this. Can the inside cabinet be removed as a discreet task? Guessing that removal from the outside may have its own difficulties.

In our FC20, replacement of a defective vacuum-breaker anti-siphon black water tank flush valve has been waiting for us to remove the rear dinette bench seat to get access to that valve, under the bath vanity counter.

Our water heater is under the other dinette seat, and it looks fairly easy to remove via this path IMO.

It all depends [obviously] on how AS put it all together.

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 02-03-2019, 09:20 PM   #12
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Could there be this much condensation?

First off, disconnect 120 volt power, 12 volt power, and shut off propane and bleed off any pressure in the lines. Use gloves, goggles, and be careful. The sheet metal is sharp.

The water heater has a wide flange with multiple screws in it from outside. It has to be removed from outside as far as I know. Plan for a gaping hole that rain will get into unless you cover it well.

Totally remove the door to avoid bending it. Put it where it will be safe and unmolested.

I put three widths of blue painters tape around the outside edge flange to try to protect protect the skin.

Once you have the screws out, the propane line, plumbing and electrical documented and pictured, you can start working a small flexible metal putty knife between the heater flange and the skin to get the flange loose.

This is where I ran into about three tubes of sealant globbed all over the enclosure. That was the hardest part to get off.

I ended up cutting the PEX lines on the back of the heater on my rig and the electrical wiring had wire-nuts holding it together. The propane line usually goes through a rubber grommet in the heater enclosure. Carefully pry it loose from the hole. It will be a total pain to get it off the copper line, so I left it in place on the tubing.

Once I got it out of the hole, I lost interest because I was totally replacing the Atwood. Iím sure there are threads with pictures and maybe better directions.

Work careful, be patient and remember that thrown tools need to be retrieved eventually, and dropped parts will find their way to the most unreachable location they can find. Iíd plan to spend most of the day just getting it out of the opening. Itís a PITA to deal with even in reasonably good weather. I managed to get rained on when I did mine. The streetside awning helped.
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Old 02-03-2019, 09:23 PM   #13
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I thought about that, but the counter top is wedged in pretty tight and then there is the toilet in the way. Got a bad feeling cabinet removal would lead to some "issues". Dont think pulling from the outside is too tough, just means more connections to fiddle with and having the hole in the trailer side during bad weather. I'll plastic and tape that over. Probably good to really clean and paint up the outside pan and clean up all the components anyway.
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Old 02-03-2019, 09:45 PM   #14
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I thought about that, but the counter top is wedged in pretty tight and then there is the toilet in the way. Got a bad feeling cabinet removal would lead to some "issues". Dont think pulling from the outside is too tough, just means more connections to fiddle with and having the hole in the trailer side during bad weather. I'll plastic and tape that over. Probably good to really clean and paint up the outside pan and clean up all the components anyway.
Rmkrum, the tank can be replaced from the inside. The only thing holding the tank to the black outside pan are two locking rings on the flue pipes. But, that assumes wide open cabinet space. I don't think I have that luxury.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:26 PM   #15
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Yeah, mine was in the bottom of the closet with 2Ē clearance. Was a real pain to reconnect it and get a PEX crimper in there.
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:15 AM   #16
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Yep...do it from the outside....
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:14 AM   #17
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Thanks, it's out. Took about an hour, including mopping up and putting plastic over opening. Beat the rain. Doesn't look too bad as far as water penetration to other areas. Heater on bench and heat/fan/dehumidifier on floor.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:27 AM   #18
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Thanks, it's out. Took about an hour, including mopping up and putting plastic over opening. Beat the rain. Doesn't look too bad as far as water penetration to other areas. Heater on bench and heat/fan/dehumidifier on floor.
I always pull plastic plug..and blow out.....just replaced home hot water heater....we never drained it....it leaked....the calcium build up , from the well water was up 18 ď from the bottom...I might drain this one every year..good luck, it is -7 here now
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:05 AM   #19
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Don't use a petcock. The bushing/reducer it requires raises the amount of water which remains after draining significantly. Stick with full plug.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:57 AM   #20
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I have always used the plastic plug. I thought about getting a petcock to drain it between trips in the summer instead of pulling the plug each time. It is important to pull the plug annually during winterization so you can take the wand and shoot pressurized water inside to flush out the calcium buildup.
Did the old WH have the 120v heating element or is this something your going to wire in? If this is something new maybe take a few notes on how you go about it.
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