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Old 08-10-2020, 03:50 PM   #1
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Water leaking from the exterior water heater panel

FR Flagstaff Classic Super Lite 831CLBSS purchased new in spring of 2018. S.O. and I have been living in it since. I have never used the water heater in LP mode. Noticed water dripping from the external panel that covers the LP combustion chamber. Noticed the bottom of chamber had water dripping out of the open end. Dried chamber out thinking it may have been condensation from using electric element, but the water slowly appears again and I can't tell where it's coming from. Could the LP combustion chamber have rusted through this quickly? Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 08-10-2020, 04:15 PM   #2
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There is a brass over pressure relief valve, check to see if it is leaking form there. ( see attached photo). What WH do you have (Atwood or Suburban)? If Suburban, when is the last time you checked the anode rod?
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:37 PM   #3
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It's a Surburban. Not leaking from the PRV or anywhere else inside the panel, just the combustion chamber and onto the front panel frame then down the side of the trailer. Never checked the anode rod
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Old 08-10-2020, 07:29 PM   #4
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Since you've been living in it for a couple years, how often have you inspected/replaced the anode or flushed the wh?
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:10 AM   #5
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I doubt if your leaking from the burner area, that would be a first ever that I heard or saw that. My leak one time was my pressure valve had to just reseat it (open and close) my second leak was a drip from my rod, a little tape took care of that. I really doubt itís your tank.... good luck , stay safe...
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:33 AM   #6
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Thanks for the ideas. It's just weird that there is no other indication of water intrusion anywhere inside that access panel except for the in the LP combustion chamber. Haven't had any hot water issues. I'll look into draining the tank and checking out the anode rod.
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:33 PM   #7
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B Mac

When my Wildwood water heater pressure valve was leaking, the water was running down inside the wall from a poor weld at the bottom of the front face plate. I had to cut into the fabric covering the floor insulation and remove wet insulation material from the floor and wall. I then screwed and adapter with a rubber hose attached so that the pressure release would drain outside the unit.
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:35 PM   #8
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You know, you could just have a WH with a bad weld and the water is seeping out through the bad weld. If the water appears to be inside the burn tube assembly. a good review with a borescope would probably help you pinpoint the leak. Since you aren't using the WH, why not by pass it and drain it .... beats rusting the frame.
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Old 08-11-2020, 01:29 PM   #9
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The Suburban SW10DE Gas Water Heater provides reliable service and easy maintenance. This high-recovery 12,000 BTU/hour model features a porcelain steel tank, foam insulation, large diameter drain, and replaceable anode rod to absorb corrosive electrolysis action. The one-piece, die-formed housing protects controls and connections yet offers easy access. Fits cut-out openings of prior models. Access door and frame are easily installed. I know yours is a 6 gal and not a 10 gal , but they are made one-piece ( your tank) no welds that could open that I know off on that tank. Not saying something weird didnít happen , are you sure not getting rain in it? Make sure water isnít being carried into that area from your burner tube( hitting the tube and running in the chamber.) Water does travels a lot. Small leaks are hard to detect.
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:10 AM   #10
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I've dried out the combustion chamber several times and watch as it very, very slowly starts to fill the bottom of the chamber until it drips out the open end and onto the access door frame. No water appears anywhere else but inside the chamber. I think I'll have someone come look at it just to be safe. Thanks everyone!
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcsalefty View Post
I've dried out the combustion chamber several times and watch as it very, very slowly starts to fill the bottom of the chamber until it drips out the open end and onto the access door frame. No water appears anywhere else but inside the chamber. I think I'll have someone come look at it just to be safe. Thanks everyone!
please let us know what they find, interesting problem, that I never heard of, and members say Iím 96.8 %
Right on my posts, 😂... just kidding but I still have never heard of that problem before, if you had a leak in the tank I would think it would be 24/7 unless it opens up under heat only. So please let us know,
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:38 PM   #12
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My buddy just replaced his water heater because it had a leak in the tank. Not sure if he left it out one winter or not because he stores in a cave and never really winterizes it because the cave is always 60 degrees.

A crack in the porcelain will make the tank rust fairly quick if your annode has never been replaced in a few years of constant useage.

He had an rv tech do the work. When the pulled the tank the Styrofoam was missing a large piece and the tank was just dripping away.
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Old 08-13-2020, 01:04 PM   #13
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So now for the post mortem. RV technician that I trust and that has worked on the RV in the past told me what I already knew. The only way that water would show up in the LP combustion chamber is a bad wield / eroded small hole. No way to fix, just replace. I had kind of prepared myself for this eventuality, now I hope they can find one somewhere and not have to wait for a order to be placed / filled.

Thanks everyone for the interest and suggestions. I've had good luck with this unit compared to some of the stories I've read on this forum.

Everyone stay safe out there.
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