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Old 09-06-2020, 02:49 PM   #1
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Water Heater Porcelain chips

Recently while flushing the water system I noticed several porcelain chips coming out of the suburban water heater. The unit is about 8 years old. I am wondering whether to replace it now or wait till it goes out. Any opinions? It is working fine now but know that it will eventually rust out.
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Old 09-06-2020, 03:36 PM   #2
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Are you sure they are porcelain chips? Usually the porcelain used in water heaters is blue. Have you changed the anode rod? As long as there is a decent rod in the tank it will not rust. If the chips are gray, white, or off-white they could be flakes from the anode rod or a sign of high calcium/lime content in the water.
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Old 09-06-2020, 03:47 PM   #3
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Are you sure they are porcelain chips? Usually the porcelain used in water heaters is blue. Have you changed the anode rod? As long as there is a decent rod in the tank it will not rust. If the chips are gray, white, or off-white they could be flakes from the anode rod or a sign of high calcium/lime content in the water.
I am pretty sure they were porcelain flakes - blue porcelain color. The anode rod is good. To be honest I have not taken care of the hot water tank. I left water in it for over a year. I drained the water system but not the hot water tank. Just now really learning about the hot water tank, like I did not know it had an electric element in it as well. Been RVing for 4 years but did not think about the hot water tank. So, just didn't want it to rust in the middle of a trip.

Any other advice?
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:03 PM   #4
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Water Heater Porcelain chips

Maybe get an inspection camera that connect to your phone and shove her in there.
New water heaters are not normally that expensive.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:30 PM   #5
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Sounds like someone fired up the propane while the wh tank was empty. The porcelain lining pops off because it expands at a different rate than the steel tank.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:46 PM   #6
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This is a great excuse to get an inspection camera. I need excuses to buy tools! Also the heater may have been fired up without water, by the previous owner. I don't remember doing that. However, I don't remember why I went to the refrigerator while ago either.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:50 PM   #7
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I don't remember doing that. However, I don't remember why I went to the refrigerator while ago either.
I think the fridge holds COLD BEER, but I don't remember either.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:09 PM   #8
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Had a buddy that just replaced his water heater because of this. His trailer was used as well and the previous owner did not drain it one year it seems. It slowly rusted out and leaked through the Styrofoam eroding it and into the trailer when he saw it camping dripping out the bottom. He has a fiberglass hull (olliver trailer) so no structural damage for him. Pulling the old tank out showed water had expanded and cracked the tank in a few places. The holes were very small but no longer waterproof.

The inspection camera is a good idea it will tell you how much time you will have and if you need to replace it or not. May want to rinse it out first before you put the camera in there.
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Old 09-08-2020, 04:51 PM   #9
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I think the fridge holds COLD BEER, but I don't remember either.
Dad gum it..... that's where the dw hid the beer.
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Old 09-08-2020, 04:55 PM   #10
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Okay folks - got an inspection camera which did not help. So I flushed the thing out and am just going to run with it. I figure if it begins to leak while on the road the water pump will run and tell me something is wrong. The water should leak out through the floor board if this occurs. We will then simply bypass the hot water heater and make use of a bucket on the stove until we get it replaced. When I finish my next few trips, I will probably replace it because I simply replace everything.

Any more thoughts would be helpful. When I flushed it out again, today, there was a lot of calcium and a few more blue porcelain chips. The anode rod is in good shape.
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Old 09-08-2020, 11:36 PM   #11
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Okay folks - got an inspection camera which did not help. So I flushed the thing out and am just going to run with it. I figure if it begins to leak while on the road the water pump will run and tell me something is wrong. The water should leak out through the floor board if this occurs. We will then simply bypass the hot water heater and make use of a bucket on the stove until we get it replaced. When I finish my next few trips, I will probably replace it because I simply replace everything.

Any more thoughts would be helpful. When I flushed it out again, today, there was a lot of calcium and a few more blue porcelain chips. The anode rod is in good shape.
Put a water sensor under the heater for $10. It will beep to tell you if its leaking so you wont have to replace wood rot.
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