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Old 03-28-2009, 02:57 PM   #1
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CLR to rinse the hot water heater

Hello everyone,

I was just wondering if anyone has used CLR (Calcium, Lime & Rust remover) in their hot water tank? We bought our 2k Roo last year and when we got it home, we noticed that the hot water plug was left out of the tank for who knows how long. There's some build up in the plug hole and I can only assume that the inside probably looks the same. It just hit me this morning, why not pour some CLR and water in the tank and then plug it (just the plug, no rod) and then let it swish around for our first pull (planning on not using the hot water tank on the first run) and then dump it once we get home to get all that "stuff" rinsed out. Does anyone think that it will do any damage to the internal parts or should this be a safe and maybe even recommended way of removing all the goodies out?

Here's a pic of the current status -


Here's the anode rod that came with the trailer, looks like they got some use out of it...


Thank you for the input

Joe
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Old 03-28-2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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UNSAFE!!!!!
There is no good way to get all the CLR residue from the inside of the tank. Inevitably, it will make its way into your faucets, and more directly, into your food. There are a few cups of CLR mixture even after you think your water heater is drained. If you think there is that much corrosion in the tank, just replace the water heater. It is expensive, but better than a trip to the hospital.

If you just want to clean your threads, get a tap from your local hardware store. With the rust in the threads, there is no way to get the plug in. I think the tap is somewhere in the area of 7/8 for that plug, but don't quote me on that.
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Old 03-28-2009, 04:16 PM   #3
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Our old motorhome had the same problem with the tank as it had come from the southwest where there is a lot of minerals in the water. It was caked over so bad inside that the temperature switches which are mounted on the outside of the tank could not get a good reading as the inside of the tank was esentially "insulated" and would therefore fail to shut down the flame, it was constantly boiling over from the safety valve.

If it looks as bad as the annode rod on the inside I would most definately replace the tank. You can buy just the tank itself from the manufacturer.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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Ok. I'm glad I asked, i almost did it. Thank you for saving my wife and I from what could have been a major hospital visit.

I know an rv dealer that keeps these in stock and I decided long ago that if i had to change it out, i'm going to upgrade to the electronic ignition model anyway, but now i'm half tempted to get the electric capability to it as well for those times when i am on shore power.

After reading this, I have no problems with the idea of replacing it. It sounds like once it starts to look like mine does...its pretty much toast. Never hurts to try and safe some $$$, but it doesn't make sense to have it if i can't use it, thats for sure.


Here's to the two of ya and your fam.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:39 PM   #5
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If you can get Electricity to it I would go with the Electric option.You will be glad you did.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:43 PM   #6
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I would suspect that it would save some serious propane usage for one. What size of tank are you running on electric and does it keep up if someone decides to take a full on shower? We have a 6 gal in there now and I'm thinking that my wife will probably run out before she's done with her shower, but we'll find out the first time we use it.
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:05 PM   #7
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I have a six gallion but if you have room you could go with a ten.When taking showers you can run both the Gas and Electric at the same time for quick recovery.The water in these heaters get real hot . So a tank will go a long way.
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:38 PM   #8
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Really? I can run both! niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice
My wife will appreciate that for sure.


SOLD!
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:00 PM   #9
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Can you inspect the inside of the tank visually? Use a small flashlight to shine through the hole at night, you'll never see anything in the daytime. The anode rod is supposed to sacrifice itself and look nasty. The tank itself is stainless steel and therefore should not be too badly corroded. Cleaning the treads with a tap is a good idea! And I always carry some Teflon tape in my "box of spare stuff" so the plug wont leak whenever I drain the tank.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:11 PM   #10
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You know you can clean the guts inside a coffeemaker with white vinegar. Perhaps that would clean up the inside of the tank?? It certainly wouldn't make you sick or kill you. First shower you might smell like a pickle...

It sure would take a lot of vinegar though. About 3 gallons.

Wonder if anybody on the forum has tried that?
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio View Post
Can you inspect the inside of the tank visually? Use a small flashlight to shine through the hole at night, you'll never see anything in the daytime. The anode rod is supposed to sacrifice itself and look nasty. The tank itself is stainless steel and therefore should not be too badly corroded. Cleaning the treads with a tap is a good idea! And I always carry some Teflon tape in my "box of spare stuff" so the plug wont leak whenever I drain the tank.
Many Suburban water heater tanks are steel with porcelin coating. Unless the tank has frozen and expanded a little, the porcelin coating should still be intact, therefore the inside of the tank should be corrosion free.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:40 PM   #12
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Radio,
That's a good idea.

We use White Vinegar to remove and neutralize the Chemical Residue from our equipment. Although it does smell like a pickle for a few days, it works pretty good.


Click Here
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:55 PM   #13
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Ok, here we go. I pulled out the big guns this time...and it's not looking good.







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Old 03-28-2009, 09:58 PM   #14
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Vinegar huh? I just printed the hints and tips from that website. That's a good idea'r
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:59 PM   #15
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Material Safety Data Sheet on CLR products.

This web-site states: Septic safe and contains no phosphates
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:04 PM   #16
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Looks as though the "Doctor" has a very good examination light !!!!!!
He Heee
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:38 PM   #17
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..... http://www.luckyvitamin.com/item/?it...www.become.com


dang...it's late, shouldn't have gone there. But they did say to try vinegar, didn't they?
hehehehe
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:50 PM   #18
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Contrary to popular belief most of these tanks were made out of aluminum and do corrode easily. Ours was a '93 or '94 model with DSI on the old rig. I don't know of any that were stainless or coated with porcelain unless they were installed on really expensive rigs. They are just too costly.

You may also want to inspect any of the metal water fittings that attach to the tank. Ours had a brass check valve on it that had developed a pin hole leak due to the heavy water that had been run through the system. As we were out with the rig at the time it was quite inconvenient but a local RV parts store happend to have one.
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:14 AM   #19
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I find the dead bug to be the most troubling. Looks like a good cleaning is in order to see how much of that junk you can get out.(Including the bug!)

If it's just a bunch of mineral deposits maybe the vinegar thing will work.

If the tank is in fact lined with porcelain perhaps all that crud will break loose. (Porcelain or Stainless, I just remembered the tank wasn't supposed to corrode easily.)
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:17 AM   #20
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According to Suburban's website, the tank is porcelin coated steel. Atwood water tanks are aluminum, therefore don't require an anode rod.
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