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Old 09-23-2020, 08:40 AM   #1
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Draining Water Heater?

Should it be done after every trip? We only go out every 6 weeks or so, but it's enough time for the water in the water heater to develop an odor.

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Old 09-23-2020, 08:42 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have asked and answered your own question.
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Old 09-23-2020, 08:52 AM   #3
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Water Heater Maintenance

Water Heater really shouldn't have odors from a month or so. I don't know how old your unit is, but occasionally you need to remove the zinc rod and flush out your water heater. I have seen the rod removed in some rev's and it is pretty much gone.

I would start by checking out the rod first. Remove it and see how much of it is still there. A great source of how to clean out the tank is a YouTube Channel called, "Changing Lanes." He does a step by step process. His 5th wheel is not that old. I was surprised to see the settlement in his hot water heater and the rod was pitted. This is a easy DIY project.

Once again, since I don't know how old your rig is, I would also recommend changing out your water filter at least once a year.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-23-2020, 09:07 AM   #4
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I drain mine after every trip unless it is only going to be a short span till I go out again. It's so easy why not?
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Old 09-23-2020, 09:19 AM   #5
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Water Heater really shouldn't have odors from a month or so. I don't know how old your unit is, but occasionally you need to remove the zinc rod and flush out your water heater. I have seen the rod removed in some rev's and it is pretty much gone.

I would start by checking out the rod first. Remove it and see how much of it is still there. A great source of how to clean out the tank is a YouTube Channel called, "Changing Lanes." He does a step by step process. His 5th wheel is not that old. I was surprised to see the settlement in his hot water heater and the rod was pitted. This is a easy DIY project.

Once again, since I don't know how old your rig is, I would also recommend changing out your water filter at least once a year.

Hope this helps.
There is absolutely no issue with having a pitted anode rod. As a matter of fact, pits in an anode rod means it’s doing its job. It’s a sacrificial rod... it’s a consumable... although it should be checked occasionally.
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Old 09-23-2020, 09:50 PM   #6
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Mr. Dan. I agree with you 100% that the anode rod is a sacrificial rod. When it's pitted, it's doing its job. I own a boat so I'm very familiar with the use of anodes. I never said a pitted rod in the hot water tank was an issue.

When a rod is pitted or deteriorated completely the remains are in the bottom of the hot water tank, depending on how old the rv is and how many rods it has been through, there could be quite a bit of debris. The smell could be coming from the debris.

Watch Chad flush his tank on his YouTube Channel, "Changing Lanes" and you will see what I'm talking about. His Grand Design Momentum is only a couple of years old, and yet it was quite full of debris.
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:12 PM   #7
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It depends on your water source. When we were on well water, it would take about 3-4 weeks for the water in the water heater to develop the sulfur smell. Draining the water after every trip - I used the low point drains in our A-frame because they were easy and located where the plumbing came into the water heater - cured the smelly water. Just refill before each trip (we travel with full water) and no more problems.

Now that we are on city water, I only have to drain once a year (usually October). I also drain upon return from a trip if we go winter camping.

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Old 10-03-2020, 10:59 AM   #8
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How to drain water heater

In my prior RV I drained the hot water tank if the unit was going to sit for several weeks.


We just took our new Rockwood MiniLite 2104S out for its maiden voyage. It's now going to sit for a bit and I'd like to drain the tank. There is a plug on the bottom which I can pull but the trailer also has two "low point" drains underneath on the right rear side. If I pull the plugs on them will that drain the hot water tank or do I need to pull the plug on it?


Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2020, 11:27 AM   #9
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In my prior RV I drained the hot water tank if the unit was going to sit for several weeks.


We just took our new Rockwood MiniLite 2104S out for its maiden voyage. It's now going to sit for a bit and I'd like to drain the tank. There is a plug on the bottom which I can pull but the trailer also has two "low point" drains underneath on the right rear side. If I pull the plugs on them will that drain the hot water tank or do I need to pull the plug on it?


Thanks.
I've been told that draining thru the low point drains could put sediment in your lines that could clog your faucets. Better off to pull anode and flush.
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Old 10-03-2020, 11:28 AM   #10
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The odor in the water does not come from the anode rod. It comes from the mineral content and dissolved solids in the water you introduce into the system. If you have a new RV and your anode rod rapidly deteriorates in several weeks then the quality of your water source is questionable. The anode rod has only one job, to protect the water heater.
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Old 10-03-2020, 11:35 AM   #11
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When a rod is pitted or deteriorated completely the remains are in the bottom of the hot water tank, depending on how old the rv is and how many rods it has been through, there could be quite a bit of debris. The smell could be coming from the debris.
The minerals in the anode rod are dissolved in the water. The debris at the bottom of the tank is likely calcium that developed on the electric heater element or just from running the gas. None of these debris accounts for smell in the water.


I never drain my water heater and I never have any smell. Mne gets calcium but I don't have an anode rod since I have an Atwwod with an aluminum tank. If I used water that caused a smell, I might drain in between trips.


I do sanitize my water system twice a year. Since I use my trailer year round, that might be more than some people do.
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:33 PM   #12
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I've been told that draining thru the low point drains could put sediment in your lines that could clog your faucets. Better off to pull anode and flush.
How would draining the lines, from the lowest point, get sediment back up into the lines? I don't understand. And why do I need to pull out the anode rod if all I want to do is drain the tank? If the low point drain won't work, why not use the tank's own drain?
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:17 PM   #13
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How would draining the lines, from the lowest point, get sediment back up into the lines? I don't understand. And why do I need to pull out the anode rod if all I want to do is drain the tank? If the low point drain won't work, why not use the tank's own drain?
You must have a drain that is not present on my Suburban water heater. Pulling the anode rod is how you drain mine. As far a sediment in the low point lines maybe when you re-pressurize the lines with water it would mix the left behind sediment into the supply.
If you have a separate drain that I would certainly use that. Obviously you know more about your system than I do.
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Old 10-04-2020, 02:17 PM   #14
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Sediment, being just that, is heavier than water, so it sinks to the lowest point. Draining the water system from it's low point would therefore remove the sediment. It's like draining some water out of your home hot water tank every so often to remove sediment which sinks to the bottom.


What I still don't know, however, is if this low point drain drains the hot water tank. Still waiting to hear if anyone knows.
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Old 10-04-2020, 03:20 PM   #15
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There are likely some “local minimums” in the lines on the way to the “absolute minimum”. Sediment could be trapped there, especially some of the larger chunks.

Nope. I drain and flush the water heater. The pile of stuff that comes out is amazing, and I don’t want it in my lines.
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Old 10-04-2020, 03:26 PM   #16
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I drain my water heater and water lines every time unless I’m taking it out again the next weekend.

You don’t want to drain your water heater using the water lines. That has the potential to suck sediment out of the tank and into the water lines. I always put mine in bypass mode before draining it using the drain plug.
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:39 PM   #17
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Experience, as they say, is the best teacher. So I pulled the plug on the hot water low point drain — a cup or two of water drained out. Then I pulled the drain plug on the hot water heater — water came gushing out, draining the whole tank. And, as someone mentioned above, the anode is attached to it. And, although the trailer is new with only a couple trips on it, it’s already showing quite a bit of deterioration. Of course, that’s what it’s there for. But I think when I drain the tank for the winter I’m going to install a replacementg.
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:48 PM   #18
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Draining the WH via the low point drain lets the water in the WH flow out the cold water line. As it does it takes with it some of the sediment in the bottom of the WH ( just as draining the black tank removes the solids). The problem comes toward the end of the process when the flow slows and some chunks of WH crud are left somewhere in the cold water line. The next time the system is used, the normal flow of water moves the crud along with it until it hits a restriction ( aka valve, faucet or spigot screen) where it causes a clog.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:53 AM   #19
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I understand what you're saying and it makes sense. But my trailer has two "low point" drains, one for the hot and the other for cold. I only opened the hot drain, not the cold. Would this still cause sentiment problems?
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:59 AM   #20
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I understand what you're saying and it makes sense. But my trailer has two "low point" drains, one for the hot and the other for cold. I only opened the hot drain, not the cold. Would this still cause sentiment problems?
Not as likely but it won't completely drain the water heater either. The water pickup is near the top of the water heater inside the tank.
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