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Old 06-22-2011, 01:16 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by flyrotor View Post
leencharlotte, that's true about room to expand, as everyone can see that you fill an ice tray and the water swells when freezing but never damages the tray, the problem occurs mostly in pipes when it has a closed circumference.
Actually most ice trays do deform. But only a little and within the elastic limits of the tray so they return to their original shape. Measure one with a good vernier and you will be surprised. The ones that don't deform are the ones with smooth slopes so the ice moves up as it expands.

The trouble is that the inside base of the heater is enough like a pipe section with a closed circumference to be worrysome. Better to avoid the problem.

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Old 06-22-2011, 01:32 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
I think blasting it out with a pressure washer through the anode port is going to be the your best bet.
Pressure washer sounds like a good idea!

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Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
I will look into this further and get back to you.
Much appreciated! Please do let me know what you find!

I took a quick look at the link you provided. Not sure it applies as the overview appears to refer to an open air environment with free oxygen. But alchohols are oxygenated so maybe the process still appies. Unfortunately, I couldn't read more than the overview as I am not a member and don't have access to the full content.

Does anyone know what material the anode actually is for sure? I have seen references to zinc, aluminium, and magnesium. I would have thought it would be zinc since that is the most common anode material in most other consumer applications (marine, automotive, etc), but maybe RV Heaters are different.

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Old 06-22-2011, 01:44 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by leencharlotte View Post
Again I am somewhat new to this but if the rod is not installed would that allow for expansion since it is not pressurized ?
The trouble is that we are not talking expansion due to gas pressure. We are talking mechanical expansion due to ice formation. The ice chunk actually gets bigger than the space the liquid water was in before it froze. Since the ice cannot be compressed like a gas would, the container is forced to expand and could crack.

The drain plug hole does not help because the ice is frozen in place and cannot be "squeezed out of the hole" to relieve the pressure.


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Old 06-22-2011, 01:48 AM   #24
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Actually a small amount of water (residual after draining) will probably have enough room for expansion, by leaving the anode out this leaves an air vent, depending how early one winterizes their trailer, temps and avg humidity, there is a good chance the water will evaporate out the anode opening long before reaching freezing temps. Climate will either help or hinder the evaporation process.
As I indicated in another post, I am not all that sure that the shape of the tank can accomodate a flat sheet of expanding ice in the bottom. Maybe it can, maybe it can't. Also, I'm not positive that it will all evaporate in time if I leave the plug out. Nor am I sure more water won't form due to condensation. The bottom line is that I see no reason to gamble with it. Obviously the Antifreeze was a bad idea. I'd much rather just get all the water out, so next year I will probably just suck it out with a shop vac and then install a plastic drain plug for the winter.

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Old 06-22-2011, 02:04 AM   #25
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I don't think I have ever heard of anyone draining their hwt and then putting the plug back in, and filling it with anti-freeze. There simply is no point.
And thats why I seem to be the first guy to ever have this problem.... But the point was that nothing in the manual advised against doing it, and I thought I was being extra careful. Obviously I was wrong. The main reason for posting the error is to help others learn from my error.

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The little bit of water left in the bottom of the heater tank can freeze with no effect, or it will simply evaporate as another poster mentioned.
I wish I could be so sure. A little effort to avoid the problem is a lot less effort than replacing a broken tank. Next year I will probably just suck it out with a shop vac and plug the drain with a plastic 3/4" plug.

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One way or another, you should try to get the tank clean, as that white stuff may be poisonous.
Sure looks like snow white corn flakes to me! Yummy! Just kidding!!!! But seriously, I do doubt it would be harmful given that both the rod and the antifeeze are not poisonous and especially since the rod is actually doing exactly what it should do - just a bit faster than normal........ In any event, I do plan to get the stuff out. Also, we don't normally drink water from the trailer hot water tank. We just wash dishes and shower with it. Cooking is done with cold water, and we prefer bottled water for drinking. But your admonition is much appreciated. Just don't let my bride know. She will be using it for my coffee......

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Old 06-22-2011, 02:22 AM   #26
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I just bought a new HW tank to replace the old original in a 84 camper. The attwood manual talks about this very situation and states "with plug out there will be about 2 liters of water left in bottom of tank and to NOT be concerned as this will have no ill effect" (sorry if that isnt word for word) but I got the idea.

Also I was just thumbing thru and adventurerv.net catalog I recieved with my HW tank that has all their products they sell and they have a RV antifreeze for HW tanks that is less corrosive and made for HW Tanks. I cant find it online right now but I will post back more info on this later.
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:39 AM   #27
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The rod in our Sur.W/H dissolves by 1/2-3/4 every year. We travel to many diff. parts of the USA,lots of diff.(Water)! The rod is doing its (Job). Yours was accelerated by the antifreeze. Our (White Flakes) are still in the system,just at a (Slower) rate. We remove screens in the fixtures and clean the (White Flakes) during the travel season. I remove rod & flush W/H out with water in the fall,throw used rod away,replace in the spring. Place SS wool in the 3/4 pipe hole where the rod was removed. I use the W/H bypass. We dont drink the (HOT) water,but use it for everything else. Our water freezes at the same temp. here in (OHIO) as Canada. Youroo!!
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:23 AM   #28
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The white scale (flakes as you called it) is not an unnatural thing in water heaters, nor is the corroded anode.
I pull the anode out every time I get home to drain out the heater and get rid of the mineral buildup inside. Always, some scale comes out with the water.
Started doing this with the previous trailer (new in '04) and was getting flakes in the drain water right from the start.
Pretty much replaced the anode annually as is was gone at the end of the season.

I didn't read what year your unit was, but it could be possible this is normal buildup. I really would recommend to everyone draining the heater every trip, and you'll be amazed on what comes out with pulling the plug.
Just keep a roll of Teflon tape in the heater compartment and I believe it's a 1-1/16" socket to fit the hex head. Much easier to reinstall the anode with the socket on an extension by hand and only use the ratchet once it's threaded in and tight.

My $0.02 added for thought.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:47 AM   #29
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Well in the catalog the "boiler Antifreeze Concentrate" is a camco product part # 88-0003 in my adventurerv.net catalog. Not sure if this would work to relieve your concerns over winter freezing.

Also to add to my Atwood manual it talks about draining and flushing the particles out of the tank for winterizing and or long storage between uses. My Atwood does not call for anode rod use and even with out the anode particles are in the tank and need flushed. I would say the particles are normal. My old tank I took out was full of snow white flakes made a big mess on a blacktop driveway.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:50 AM   #30
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Here ya go I found a place online that has it.
Boiler Anti-Freeze Concentrate
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