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Old 10-17-2019, 08:58 AM   #1
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Porcelain pieces in hot water tank

Hi,

I have a 2017 Forest River Surveyor. I recently drained the water tank and noticed pieces of porcelain coming out. I know the tank is lined with porcelain. Is this normal for a 2 year old tank?

Thanks for any help!

Todd
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:21 AM   #2
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I am unaware of any RV WH being porcelain lined (but I learn something new every day). If you have a Suburban WH, what you're seeing is calcium, a product of the anode rod doing it's job.

BTW: Be sure to drain OR isolate your WH before you drain your plumbing lines via the low point drains. If you don't, you'll suck that calcium back into the cold water line, where it can then later migrate to your toilet valve and plug it.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:28 AM   #3
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Suburban uses porcelain lined water tanks. Generally they do not shed pieces. If the tank corrodes badly, it can shed porcelain or if it is run without water it can possible crack the porcelain. If it is actually porcelain and not calcium crud, the life of the tank will be compromised.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:36 AM   #4
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As I said, I learn something new every day. Manual confirms it. Top of page 4.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:37 AM   #5
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I've seen that on mine as well. Reminds me of the finish on the old blue speckeled cookware. Clearly, not calcium deposits. I just pull the anode and use the WH tank rinsing tool flush it out good and rock on. Nothing you can do about it as far as I know.. When it gets to leaking... you know the answer right?
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Flybob View Post
Suburban uses porcelain lined water tanks. Generally they do not shed pieces. If the tank corrodes badly, it can shed porcelain or if it is run without water it can possible crack the porcelain. If it is actually porcelain and not calcium crud, the life of the tank will be compromised.
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They are porcelain lined.

Here is an excerpt from their web site...
"Heated water attacks all metals - and that's why Suburban uses a porcelain-lined, steel tanks with an anode rod to "absorb" the electrolytic action - just like your water heater at home."

I agree... if it is in fact porcelain pieces, I'd be concerned the tank is compromised.
How that happened?... it's tough to say... but most likely turned on without water.

You could always get an inexpensive bore scope camera that attaches to your cell phone and have a look inside.
They can be had online for around $10.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:04 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the advice and help. I'm thinking of bringing it by my dealer to see what his thoughts are. I'd rather not have the tank fail and flood my trailer. I'm hoping it's just calcium deposits.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:09 PM   #8
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You should be able to check it easily. Squeeze a piece in the jaws of a pliers. If it compresses it is calcium deposits. If it shatters like ceramic, it is not a calcium deposit. You can also try placing a piece in a small cup with vinegar. If nothing happens it is porcelain.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:32 PM   #9
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2017?

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Originally Posted by Todd1964 View Post
Hi,

I have a 2017 Forest River Surveyor. I recently drained the water tank and noticed pieces of porcelain coming out. I know the tank is lined with porcelain. Is this normal for a 2 year old tank?

Thanks for any help!

Todd
2017? Check with Suburban and see if it's still in the warranty period.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:55 PM   #10
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I just pull the anode and use the WH tank rinsing tool flush it out good and rock on.

I have not seen the tool you describe. Can you share a pic? I just flush mine with the gun at the end of a garden hose.
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Old 10-17-2019, 05:12 PM   #11
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I have not seen the tool you describe. Can you share a pic? I just flush mine with the gun at the end of a garden hose.


https://www.homedepot.com/p/Camco-RV...1691/205808422
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
I am unaware of any RV WH being porcelain lined (but I learn something new every day). If you have a Suburban WH, what you're seeing is calcium, a product of the anode rod doing it's job.

BTW: Be sure to drain OR isolate your WH before you drain your plumbing lines via the low point drains. If you don't, you'll suck that calcium back into the cold water line, where it can then later migrate to your toilet valve and plug it.
How do unplug the toilet valve???
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:23 PM   #13
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Remove the supply line and clean the screen.Click image for larger version

Name:	toilet%20valve.jpeg
Views:	54
Size:	29.6 KB
ID:	217507Click image for larger version

Name:	toilet%20valve%20screen.jpeg
Views:	47
Size:	25.2 KB
ID:	217508
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:46 PM   #14
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If you in fact have a lot of calcium build up in the WH. You can clean it out by soaking with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution.


1. Leave WH in regular use mode.

2. Drain the cold WH heater by removing the annode/plug. Reinstall annode/plug.
3. Open the pressure relief valve on the WH.

4. Using your favorite method of filling w/antifreeze, suck in half of your WH volume of vinegar. Finish filling the WH with water (City connection or from FW tank or anti-freeze fill).
5. Close the relief valve.
6. You now have a choice - let sit overnight or turn on the WH and get the contents hot and let sit for an hour, then let it cool back off.
7. Open the relief valve (ask me why I know this... ).
8. Drain and rinse out the WH.
Smile you now have a really clean WH...


Do this process with standard household vinegar....
My view, it's probably a good idea to do this every couple of years if where you camp uses well water..
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:00 PM   #15
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Remove the supply line and clean the screen.Attachment 217507Attachment 217508
Do you remove the toilet????
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:09 PM   #16
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Do you remove the toilet????
Nope, just the valve.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:25 PM   #17
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Buy a cheap inspection camera and take a look inside.


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Old 10-17-2019, 10:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorSam20500 View Post
If you in fact have a lot of calcium build up in the WH. You can clean it out by soaking with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution.


1. Leave WH in regular use mode.

2. Drain the cold WH heater by removing the annode/plug. Reinstall annode/plug.
3. Open the pressure relief valve on the WH.

4. Using your favorite method of filling w/antifreeze, suck in half of your WH volume of vinegar. Finish filling the WH with water (City connection or from FW tank or anti-freeze fill).
5. Close the relief valve.
6. You now have a choice - let sit overnight or turn on the WH and get the contents hot and let sit for an hour, then let it cool back off.
7. Open the relief valve (ask me why I know this... ).
8. Drain and rinse out the WH.
Smile you now have a really clean WH...


Do this process with standard household vinegar....
My view, it's probably a good idea to do this every couple of years if where you camp uses well water..
Totally agree with all of this. Should actually be doing this to your home water heater. I wouldn't do this with a new anode rod. Use an old one when doing this.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:43 PM   #19
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Nope, just the valve.
I guess what I'm asking is where and how do you excess this valve???
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:53 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
I am unaware of any RV WH being porcelain lined (but I learn something new every day). If you have a Suburban WH, what you're seeing is calcium, a product of the anode rod doing it's job.

BTW: Be sure to drain OR isolate your WH before you drain your plumbing lines via the low point drains. If you don't, you'll suck that calcium back into the cold water line, where it can then later migrate to your toilet valve and plug it.
I am curious how the low point drains can get the calcium in it by draining the water heater. The outlet on the hot side is at the top of the tank and the inlet is a tube(dip tube) that goes down to the bottom of the tank but sits off the bottom of it. I know for a fact the low point drains do not drain the hot water tank at all so don't see how calcium will get sucked up out of it.


BTW, the anode rod has nothing to do with calcium buildup. That is calcium precipitating out of hard water. The anode rods only purpose is to prevent galvanic corrosion of the steel.
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