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Old 09-20-2015, 03:11 PM   #1
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vinegar vs. ammonia

Could someone please! explain why it's okay to flush hot-water tank with vinegar... but some people advise not to introduce bleach to the hot water tank for cleaning purposes, and what harm could rv antifreeze do to the hot water tank if it's thoroughly flushed-out?
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Old 09-20-2015, 03:21 PM   #2
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Old 09-20-2015, 03:50 PM   #3
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Vinegar will release some deposits inside the tank, whereas bleach will only disinfect.
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Old 09-20-2015, 03:50 PM   #4
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Do not use ammonia in your drink system as it not safe to consume. Vinegar is used to get rid of strong bleach orders/ taste after sanitizing the system. It's ok to use a bleach solution to sanitize the hot water heater. You don't want to operate the water heater while sanitizing.


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Old 09-20-2015, 04:05 PM   #5
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Saw in a prior thread that RV antifreeze has a very corrosive effect on the water heater anode rod. That is why the tank is to be bypassed and the rod removed to empty the tank, No point in adding antifreeze if its just going to run out the hole.
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Old 09-20-2015, 05:48 PM   #6
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RV antifreeze is just polypropylene and should not be corrosive to the anode rod. This is the same food grade antifreeze that use to be in Mountain Dew. The best reason for draining and bypassing the water heater is simply the cost of filling it with antifreeze. Most water heaters are 6+ gallons.

To make sure I have antifreeze in the bypass lines/ valves I let the antifreeze flow into the water heater for second. Some is left in there, in contact with the anode rod each year. I have not seen addition corrosion on the rod. Some of the white hard water despots turn pink due to the dye in the antifreeze. A quick dip in white vinegar cleans the deposits off the rod.

Note I drain the water heater and replace the rod/ plug before doing the antifreeze.


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Old 09-20-2015, 07:15 PM   #7
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Direct quote from my Suburban Operation Manual, Winterizing section: "Antifreeze can be very corrosive to the anode rod creating premature failure and heavy sediment in the tank."
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:59 PM   #8
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Then by all means don't fill your water heater with antifreeze per the manufacture recommendations.

If you read the statement "Antifreeze CAN be very corrosive". I would investigate what antifreeze you put into your water system to make sure it for drinking water systems.

Strange thing the anode corrodes in water as well.

Either way you don't want to fill the water heater with antifreeze as part of the winterizing.




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Old 09-20-2015, 09:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elundquist View Post
RV antifreeze is just polypropylene and should not be corrosive to the anode rod. This is the same food grade antifreeze that use to be in Mountain Dew. The best reason for draining and bypassing the water heater is simply the cost of filling it with antifreeze. Most water heaters are 6+ gallons.

To make sure I have antifreeze in the bypass lines/ valves I let the antifreeze flow into the water heater for second. Some is left in there, in contact with the anode rod each year. I have not seen addition corrosion on the rod. Some of the white hard water despots turn pink due to the dye in the antifreeze. A quick dip in white vinegar cleans the deposits off the rod.

Note I drain the water heater and replace the rod/ plug before doing the antifreeze.


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I think you mean propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is in rv antifreeze and many drinks including g mountain dew. Polypropylene is a plastic polymer.
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Old 09-21-2015, 07:15 AM   #10
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Yes that is correct the antifreeze is propylene glycol. Polypropylene is a plastic.

My mistake...


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Old 09-21-2015, 08:58 AM   #11
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Now I am not trying to post during family time I can provide additional information.

First off if you are 4x4/ off roading with a liquid cooled engine you should strongly consider using a propylene based antifreeze in the cooling system! If for some reason you overheat or have a leak in the back county it is safer for the environment over the standard antifreeze.

Ok back to water heater issue.

The anode in the water heater is a magnesium rod mounted on a iron rod/ plug. The rod is there to corrode durning water heating as it prevent corrosion of the iron/steel parts of the water heater.

Here is a link to a website that presents information on the corrosion of magnesium: http://www.magnesium.com/w3/data-bank/index.php?mgw=166

From the above link you can learn about the corrosion process during water heating & substance that will corrode magnesium.

Additionally there is information presenting propylene glycol being used over ethylene glycol for engines with magnesium parts due to the reduced corrosive effects.

Ok why would Suburban place a statement about the possible very corrosive effects of antifreeze on the anode?

In the article it states: "Anhydrous methanol attacks magnesium alloys catastrophically at room temperature; however, the rate of attack is reduced by the presence of water. Gasoline-methanol fuel blends, in which the water content equals or exceeds about 0.25 wt% of the methanol content, do not attack magnesium."

So propylene glycol antifreeze containing methanol/ methyl alcohol will "catastrophically" corrode the anode.

I imagine the are some RV antifreezes that contain methanol/ methyl alcohol/ wood alcohol, but this is not something I want in my drink water system!

The RV antifreeze I like to use is DOW RV and Marine antifreeze sold by Home Depot. Here is the link to the MSDS: http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdf...df5e792462.pdf.

I am not suggesting filling your water heater with antifreeze as part of the winterizing, but rather not to be too concerned about the appropriate antifreeze coming into contact with the anode rod.

Yes, white vinegar will quickly corrode the anode, so limit the exposure. If you are going to dip the anode to clean, just quickly rinse in water. If you are going to follow up your sanitizing with a white vinegar flush, drain and rinse the water heater right after.

Sorry if the details are over kill. I wanted to present some more depth on the subject, so you can have a better understanding on the care/ maintenance of your RV water system.


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Old 09-21-2015, 10:45 AM   #12
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On the subject of RV antifreeze here is some good information: http://rvlife.com/techtipsrv-antifre...-all-the-same/


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Old 09-21-2015, 11:15 AM   #13
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RV water heater anode rods can be either aluminum or magnesium.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:48 AM   #14
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Mikegjax,

Good point! If you have an aluminum anode you would not want to fill your water heater with RV antifreeze with ethanol. Again limited exposure during seasonal maintenance should not be a huge issue.

Again there is no need to winterizing your water heater by filling it with antifreeze.

I personally try not to use RV antifreeze with ethanol as it can weaken seals in the pump and fixtures. Plus it leaves a slight taste in the system and is flammable.


As it burns nearly without a flame, can you see someone starting a fire by lighting up the water heater at the spring startup?


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Old 09-21-2015, 12:27 PM   #15
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FYI

Digging around I found an additional reason to inspect the label of your RV antifreeze. The typical RV water tanks are made from Polyethylene. The following information from a polyethylene tank manufactures states ethanol would not be compatible with the water tanks!


"Similar Chemical Compound to Polyethylene

Hydrocarbon based compound materials have a similar chemical makeup to polyethylene. Chemicals such as gasoline, kerosene, alcohol, methanol, and isopropyl alcohol can potentially permeate the polyethylene material and leak through the poly tank. Solvents can also degrade or soften polyethylene, affecting performance and durability of the poly tank. In these instances, fiberglass or stainless steel storage tanks are smarter choices. " http://www.polyprocessing.com/about/...ompatibilities

So another reason maybe to consider RV antifreeze without ethanol.


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