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Old 09-15-2014, 09:16 PM   #1
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Rust in water heater?

I have just winterized my 2011 Forrest River 26TBSS. While blowing out the water lines, every faucet that I drained the hot water side from had rust colored water coming out of the faucet. I keep the water in the hot water heater all season, is that a mistake. Am I supposed to empty the water tank after every trip? How do I get rid of the rust colored water? Flush the hot water heater by running water through it??
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:25 PM   #2
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The tank should be aluminum, sometimes when I remove the anode rod there is sometimes a scaly mineral gunk on it but I have never had rusty colored water come out of any of my faucets. I would remove the rod and check it, the only thing that I can think of is maybe the nut on the anode rod is rusting and making the water rusty colored I would flush out the whole system especially if you are going to let it sit all winter and use some rv antifreeze once done.
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:42 PM   #3
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Thanks, however, I thought the hot water tanks were metal, which is why we need an annode rod to rust instead of the tank, I thought aluminum didn't rust.
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:55 PM   #4
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The anode rod doesn't rust, it's for mineral deposits
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:01 PM   #5
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The anode rod is sacrificial and it does not rust it erodes through electrolysis to protect the tank from rust and corrosion. If you have never drained the hot water tank when you winterized you are lucky that it didn't freeze and split. Sounds like you may have a Suburban water heater. I'm going to guess you have never replaced the anode rod. If not you are overdue. If there is rust in the tank about the only thing you can do is put a filter on the hot water after the tank for the time being. You may be looking at a new water heater down the road. Remove the anode rod to drain the tank and lift the relief valve to drain it faster. Also, be sure to put RV anti-freeze in the traps of the sinks and tub/shower to keep any remaining water in them from freezing and splitting them. Since you are blowing out the lines there is no need to use the bypass system. And, it would be a good idea to drain your water heater tank as well as the fresh water tank if the trailer will not going to be used for several weeks to keep any growths out. So, if you don't drain the hot water tank the trailer is not winterized.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:07 AM   #6
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I always drained the water heater at the end of the season, and replaced the annorod in May. I had no problems, including Labor day when the hot water was clear. I only noticed the orange tinted water coming out ot the hot water side when I winterized my trailer on Sunday. Did not think rust would set in so fast???? For the last 3 years I was lucky with my traps, fogot all about them until I opened up the trailer for Memorial Day, bathroom sink trap leaked, so I already did the antifreeze in all the traps. Thanks for your advice.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:30 AM   #7
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Rust can come from a repair in your system if a (Steel/castiron) fitting was used! Also if you? (Dry shot) your Suburban W/H on (Gas) it can cause the (Coating) inside the Tank to crack and start to (Rust) also! Youroo!!
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:36 AM   #8
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Where did you camp? Is it possible all your water is "rusty"?

If the well that the campground used was low, you may have gotten fine silt (reddish) in your water supply. Your filter (if you have one) may be in "bypass" due to it being clogged.
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:47 AM   #9
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Good point Herk,we overnighted in PA along Route#6,Mom & Pop CG. Their Water was (Blood Red) we didn't take on or use any of it (Water),the (Restrooms/Showers) were the same way! Youroo!!
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Old 09-16-2014, 06:55 AM   #10
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The anode could have been replaced "too late" and there may have been considerable rust already there and the new anode is knocking it off the tank fittings not covered in porcelain.

The only other option was a badly installed new anode ("Non-Teflon" Pipe Dope instead of the Teflon type or tape). If the anode is not making a good bond with the tank threads, it may not be working at all.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:27 AM   #11
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I replaced the annode rod in May after 3 years, it still had half of the material on it but replaced anyway. I will look at the camp ground and it does have well water. On my Suburban water heater, how do you guys get all the water out? I would have to put my trailer on it's side to get all the water out, the plug/ anno rod is not at the very bottom of the tank.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:49 AM   #12
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Atwood=Alum. Can pit and corrode if not maintained.

Suburban=Steel will corrode and waste out if not maintained.

Maintained means follow mfg instructions.


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Old 09-16-2014, 10:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Atwood=Alum. Can pit and corrode if not maintained.

Suburban=Steel will corrode and waste out if not maintained.

Maintained means follow mfg instructions.


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Suburban describes its' tank as porcelain coated steel. That's pretty much like your glass lined home unit.

You could have some of that porcelain cracked off allowing the steel to rust but my money is on bad looking water. Flush everything out including removing the filter and flushing the tank by forcing water in the anode rod hole until it is all clear. Then see what next summer brings.

Yes, it's hard to get the water out of the tank. I park my coach on a sloped area by my storage unit, let gravity drain as much as I can and then a bunch of twisted paper towels to get out most of the residue. A small layer of water in the bottom of the tank won't expand enough to do harm. Also, leave the anode out over the winter.

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Old 09-16-2014, 10:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bend302 View Post
I park my coach on a sloped area by my storage unit, let gravity drain as much as I can and then a bunch of twisted paper towels to get out most of the residue. A small layer of water in the bottom of the tank won't expand enough to do harm. Also, leave the anode out over the winter.
I do about the same thing with paper towels, but let them hang down the side of the trailer so the water is wicked out of the water heater.

Leaving the anode rod out over the winter is an invitation for critters to check out the tank.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:33 AM   #15
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I do about the same thing with paper towels, but let them hang down the side of the trailer so the water is wicked out of the water heater.

Leaving the anode rod out over the winter is an invitation for critters to check out the tank.
Cool idea on the paper towels, Chap.....and X2 on not leaving the anode rod hole open, as it's an invite for things to fly/crawl/walk/slither into it.
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Old 09-16-2014, 02:05 PM   #16
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I do about the same thing with paper towels, but let them hang down the side of the trailer so the water is wicked out of the water heater.

Leaving the anode rod out over the winter is an invitation for critters to check out the tank.
This is also my technique to get the last of the water out after flushing with a wand.
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