Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-10-2018, 02:00 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 1
Winterizing accident - Hot water tank explosion

We finally winterized our Salem LA last night. Hubby and a friend started it before I got there. They had the electric plugged in, pulled the anode rode to drain the hot water heater, then were blowing the system out when there was a LOUD explosion. I was on the door side of the camper and sparks and debris flew out the anode rod opening ... yep, the tank heater switch had been set to 'on' and I could see the red flame inside the empty tank. It exploded loudly again before I could get over there and flip the switch to turn the tank off.

So, what did we just do? Is the hot water tank shot? Maybe just the heating element? Sadly we don't use the camper a lot, but need it to be ready to go quickly when it's time to use it. I fear we'll be unprepared for repairs next summer if I don't ask and figure out what we're dealing with right now.

Can anyone help?
__________________

Della330 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 02:22 AM   #2
Site Team
 
bikendan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Camano Island, Washington
Posts: 16,201
Since there was no water in the WH and the heating element was energized, you probably just fried the heating element.
ALWAYS have water in the WH, before turning on the electric side of the WH.
__________________

__________________
Dan-Retired California Firefighter/EMT
Shawn-Musician/Entrepreneur/Wine Expert
and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
2016 PrimeTime TracerAIR 255, pushing a 2014 Ford F150 SCREW XTR 4x4 3.5 Ecoboost w/Max Tow Package
Equalizer WDH
bikendan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 02:32 AM   #3
Site Team
 
wmtire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northeast Louisiana
Posts: 18,289
Quote:
Originally Posted by Della330 View Post
We finally winterized our Salem LA last night. Hubby and a friend started it before I got there. They had the electric plugged in, pulled the anode rode to drain the hot water heater, then were blowing the system out when there was a LOUD explosion. I was on the door side of the camper and sparks and debris flew out the anode rod opening ... yep, the tank heater switch had been set to 'on' and I could see the red flame inside the empty tank. It exploded loudly again before I could get over there and flip the switch to turn the tank off.

So, what did we just do? Is the hot water tank shot? Maybe just the heating element? Sadly we don't use the camper a lot, but need it to be ready to go quickly when it's time to use it. I fear we'll be unprepared for repairs next summer if I don't ask and figure out what we're dealing with right now.

Can anyone help?

Hate to hear this Della. Since you mentioned you have an anode rod, that would identify your water heater as a Suburban brand.


Replacing the electric heating element is not that complicated, and is most likely all you need to do.


Here is one explanation of the process:


Suburban water heater electric element R&R
__________________
2011 Flagstaff 831 RLBSS

"Yes,we have reservations..but we'll eat here anyway!"...is what I say to every greeting host/hostess in a restaurant!
wmtire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 06:01 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: South of Columbus, Ohio a little bit
Posts: 123
If you boondock a lot you will need to replace heating element. If you use propane you wont need to replace element.

I asked this question to the service manager where we bought our and that was his response.
Lukegsdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 12:30 PM   #5
Head Rambler
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southwest Alabama
Posts: 5,560
As mentioned above, hopefully all you did was burned out the electric element.
I'd pull it and look at it first.

You can buy 120 volt, 1400 or 1500 watt elements at local big box stores.
__________________
Salem 29RKSS Pushing a GMC Sierra 2500HD!
Gotta go campin!
Bama Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 12:52 PM   #6
Denver To Yuma In 90 Days
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Yuma, Arizona
Posts: 2,327
If it was an "explosion", then it would be worth investigating the whole water heater as there may be more going on, or possibly more damage to the water heater than the eye can see.
__________________
JohnD
2015 Heartland Prowler P292 5'ver (SOB)
2015 Chevy 2500HD 6.0L Gasser w/4.10 rear axle

Just because someone has been "doing it for years with no problems" doesn't mean YOU should!
JohnD10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 01:00 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
Hate to hear this Della. Since you mentioned you have an anode rod, that would identify your water heater as a Suburban brand.


Replacing the electric heating element is not that complicated, and is most likely all you need to do.


Here is one explanation of the process:


Suburban water heater electric element R&R

I know in the link to replacing the heat element it says to unplug shore power but I still don't understand why they leave the power switch on. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me! Might want to buy two elements if you are going to do it that way
cub22908 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 01:31 PM   #8
Site Team
 
KyDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 7,537
Quote:
Originally Posted by cub22908 View Post
I know in the link to replacing the heat element it says to unplug shore power but I still don't understand why they leave the power switch on. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me! Might want to buy two elements if you are going to do it that way

It actually says SHUT OFF THE LP GAS AT THE TANKS AND UNPLUG THE TRAILER FROM
SHORE POWER BEFORE ATTEMPTING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES.

The switch is on in the photos because it's stuck on. Unplugging the trailer from shore power eliminates any possibility of having a dangerous voltage at the heating element. When the OPs element "exploded" it was in fact melting and arcing due to the fact it was still energized when they drained the tank.

It's also possible the fusable link is burned out. See the last photo of the element replacement to see where the fusable link is located.
__________________
Peace!
Dan & Rita D
2017 Nissan Titan 5.6L King cab 4wd
1999 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
Blue Ox WD hitch

Camping days 2010-53, 2011-47, 2012-41,
2013-41, 2014-31, 2015-40, 2016-44, 2017-63, 2018-75
KyDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 01:34 PM   #9
itch'n to road trip
 
campnqueen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: North Georgia Mountains-Jasper GA.
Posts: 935
Send a message via AIM to campnqueen Send a message via MSN to campnqueen Send a message via Yahoo to campnqueen
CONGRATULATIONS! Your hubby has just borght you a new water heater! And learned a valuable lesson.

My hubby turns on the water heater on all the time before checking to see if it has water in it. I have started puling the fuse and flipping the breaker. Sorry for your bad luck. We all have done something stupid.
__________________

2012 Ford F-250 King Ranch Super Crew Cab 4x4 "Mae West"
2014 Work & Play 25ULA "Ula"
Paula Drake, Ken Cooksey, Sunny Delight & Valor
Jasper Ga.
campnqueen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2018, 01:38 PM   #10
Site Team
 
KyDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 7,537
Quote:
Originally Posted by campnqueen View Post
CONGRATULATIONS! Your hubby has just borght you a new water heater! And learned a valuable lesson.
AS mentioned several times in the discussion this water heater very likely has only minor damage.
A burned out heating element- about $10 at Lowes and -possibly- a burned out fusable link/thermostat- $30 range on Ebay.
__________________

__________________
Peace!
Dan & Rita D
2017 Nissan Titan 5.6L King cab 4wd
1999 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
Blue Ox WD hitch

Camping days 2010-53, 2011-47, 2012-41,
2013-41, 2014-31, 2015-40, 2016-44, 2017-63, 2018-75
KyDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
accident, hot water, tank, water, water tank, winter

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Forest River, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:37 PM.