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Old 07-01-2020, 07:17 AM   #1
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2015 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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My water heater is angry.

On this 5 week trip I have noticed the water heater making a gurgling noise. Woke me up this morning. It is not all the time just happens every now and then. I have looked at it and don't see any leaking when on Elec. On gas it has started to leak out of the safety valve but we don't use gas much as we normally have power at the sites we use. At this site there is NO water hookup so we are using our tank water and last night I did turn off the pump because it comes on for a half sec every now and then. Has anyone seen/ heard there H2O heater?

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Old 07-01-2020, 07:36 AM   #2
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Any chance to check the actual water temp that the WH is dispensing? Let it run for a good bit into a container heat it up and record temp.
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:52 AM   #3
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Need more info. Is it gurgling when the electric element is turned on? the gas flame? Or is it gurgling with everything turned off? If so, is your water system pressurized?

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Old 07-01-2020, 08:02 AM   #4
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it is on Elec. NOT gas, last night it was NOT pressurized because I had pump turned off and no hookup.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:05 AM   #5
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gurgling = air movement in the water pipe (either a leak or expansion from over heating)

pump cycling on = loss of pressure

I suspect there is water backflowing (slow drip) through the water pump into the fresh water tank, if you see/here no drip. This could make a sound when water in the pipes is displaced with air.

If the water temperature is hotter than it should be, then there could be a malfunctioning thermostat on the water heater.

ps:
The dripping from the pressure relief valve could be from scale buildup within the valve or caused by excess pressure from overheating. While the water heater is OFF and COOL and the system is pressurized, lift the lever so that any trash can be blown out and let the lever snap back in place so that it will reseat itself properly. Do this snap back closed a few times in quick succession to reestablish the seal.
ps2:
Check all of the fitting connections at the pump, strainer, and winterizing valve to make sure those fittings are not allowing air to enter the pipes while the pump is off.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:38 AM   #6
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I had an electric water heater that gurgled just before the element failed and needed to be replaced. The gurgling was a localized hot spot on the element that resulted in some localized boiling. Just a piece of experience that may or may not be applicable. You really do not need to leave the element energized overnight.

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Old 07-01-2020, 09:23 AM   #7
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We now turn our water heater off if it is not being or going to be used anytime soon.
I used to leave it on all the time. But it would occasionally get hot and leak a little from the popoff valve.

If there is no water pressure, it definitely should be turned off.
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:02 AM   #8
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Turn on the water pump, and let some air out of the pressure release valve
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Old 07-01-2020, 01:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djarrett View Post
Turn on the water pump, and let some air out of the pressure release valve
The owners manual for the Atwood water heater says to not do this. Air must be restored after letting air out.
There must be a bubble, a cushion of air, for normal expansion of the water as it heats. Any air that is in excess of what should be there will go out through the hot waterpipe.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
The owners manual for the Atwood water heater says to not do this. Air must be restored after letting air out.
There must be a bubble, a cushion of air, for normal expansion of the water as it heats. Any air that is in excess of what should be there will go out through the hot waterpipe.
The pressure relief valve is higher on the tank then the hot water output so I don't know how that could let out too much air (at least on the 6 gallon Atwood water heaters I looked at when not installed).
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:58 AM   #11
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Wazbro, You are correct.
My point is - it is not necessary to let air out.

Opening the relief valve with system depressurized will let air into the WH.
Operating the relief valve for this purpose is necessary maintenance, as is stated in the WH owner's manual.
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Old 07-04-2020, 09:27 PM   #12
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Your trailer is 5 years old. When was the last time the WH was drained and flushed? Treated with vinegar to dissolve the crud in the tank and on the element? We have done that every summer when home in MI as a preventive measure but needed to vinegar treat our tank again in December in AZ because the water is much harder in places out west. How did we know? The noises it was making [should normally be silent.] RV Geeks have a good video on how to do it. We only turn it on when we need it. Turn it on when you sit down to eat. By the time you are done the water is hot for cleanup!
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Old 07-04-2020, 09:55 PM   #13
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yeah so the two most common reasons for gurgling are as Larry indicated an electrical heating element going out or hard water scale buildup. do you have some hard water calcification on the faucets or aerators? You can flush the heater and fill it with vinegar or lime remover. If no signs of scale consider replacing the heating element as suggested.
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Old 07-07-2020, 07:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
I had an electric water heater that gurgled just before the element failed and needed to be replaced. The gurgling was a localized hot spot on the element that resulted in some localized boiling. Just a piece of experience that may or may not be applicable. You really do not need to leave the element energized overnight.

Larry
Is this what was going on inside the tank?

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Old 07-07-2020, 07:21 AM   #15
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Sure was!

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Old 07-08-2020, 12:59 PM   #16
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I'll second BayouBiker. Intermittent gurgling is probably happening when the electric element cycles on to heat the water. If you haven't done the vinegar treatment, I'd start with that.
Fill the WH with 50/50 solution of common white vinegar and water.
Either:

  1. Let sit over night cold.
  2. Turn on the heater and let sit for about an hour once the water is hot.
Relieve pressure in the WH (ask me how I know).
Drain and thoroughly rinse the tank. You will probably get lots of crud out.


Best way to get the vinegar into the WH is to start with the WH empty. Use a winterizing port and water pump to suck in the vinegar solution into the empty tank (opening pressure relief valve will cause the solution to go directly to the WH).


Avoid running hot water into the trailer until you have rinsed out the WH, no sense getting the crud into your pipes.
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kennedy6009 View Post
..... At this site there is NO water hookup so we are using our tank water and last night I did turn off the pump because it comes on for a half sec every now and then. Has anyone seen/ heard there H2O heater?

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Edited quote.

If your pump turns on for a half a second every now and then you have a water leak. Not sure if its the hot H2O or not, but you have a leak somewhere.
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