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Old 03-16-2003, 07:50 PM   #1
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Question Could Water Heater Tank Be Filled with Junk?

Hi Everyone

We took the 25' Safari out for the third time this weekend. We are still having hot water problems.

This hot water heater was just checked as part of a systems check by a local RV dealer.

Symptoms: Water heater lights with the characteristic roar and heats water, at least for a while. Then when the water should be hot, we run it and it runs hot for about 30 seconds or so then goes cold. It is the same on all the faucets (the lav is a little hotter a little longer).

Kitchen faucet runs warm for 30 seconds or less then stays cool. Shower shows no sign of hot water.

I will turn off and then on the hot water heater switch and then the heater will not light for several minutes. Once it finally relights we get a little hot water and it goes out once again.

It appears that the folks who owned this trailer before us may have had it connected to a sandy water source. The holding tanks and faucet screens had sand in them before flushing.

Could the hot water heater tank be filled to some level with sand thereby limiting the amount the hot water that can be created?

Can these water heaters be flushed of debris? Might it be better to replace this water heater (6 gallon I believe) with a ten gallon capacity one? Unfortunately, the trailer came with no owner’s manuals for appliances or for the trailer so I can't look any of this stuff up.

Thanks everyone for being my just-in-time owner’s manual advisors.

Carl Jackson
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Old 03-16-2003, 07:57 PM   #2
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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Anything is possible I suppose, but given the age of the unit, I would find it hard to believe it's full of junk if it's been maintained. We had a similar issue with water we'd place in the tank from wells, but we would flush the entire system out once we got back home and get rid of any buildups before they became a problem.

Have you emptied/flushed the heater yet? If not, there could be problems.

Another thing I'd check are the valves to make sure they are fully open. I am not sure where they are in the Safari. Anyone else that has one comment?

Again, anything is possible, but we've had these water heaters for decades with near flawless use.

Just my thoughts on it.

Good luck.

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Old 03-16-2003, 07:58 PM   #3
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Anything is possible, especially if you found sand in the system. Have you tried filling the tank, then draining it with the drain valve? See what the water looks like coming out of that valve, and that should tell the story.
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Old 03-16-2003, 08:16 PM   #4
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Make sure the valve of the hot water heater bypass between the hot and cold line is closed (clockwise), in addition to the ones on the hot and cold lines being open (counterclockwise).
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Old 03-17-2003, 07:26 AM   #5
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Carl, that six gallon tank should be sufficient unless you have exceptional hot water usage. It sounds like your heater is short cycling. Yes you can flush that tank out if you want. One way is to open the tank drain plug and then connect the trailer to your city water supply and turn on the water.

Based on my Safari these should be the positions for the three valves on your water heater bypass. Note the valves are stacked vertically on my trailer.

The top valve is turned counter clockwise (open), the middle is clockwise (closed), and the bottom is counter clockwise(open). This should close off the bypass system and allow full flow of water through the water heater.

If the flush and bypass check don't do the job, you may have a problem with the heater control board. While your dealer cleaned out your burner to eliminate the sooting problem, he probably didn't let it run long enough to verify that the water gets hot enough. Initial run time of the heater under cold water conditions may be 15 minutes or longer (dependent upon the temperature of the water).

Jack Canavera
AIR #56 S/OS#15
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500
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