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Old 11-12-2017, 04:48 PM   #1
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Winterization rookie mistake

I have a hw277 winterized it with antifreeze bypassed the hot water heater and drained it partially with the valve on the top what I did not realize is that the anode rod acts as a drain also I removed it and some water cam out but there was some slush because it had gotten below freezing question do u think I damaged the water heater I really have know way of knowing till the spring when I open it back up btw it's stored in my garage for the winter
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:09 PM   #2
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You are probably OK, but just remember to check it in the spring. It will take a prolonged period of time to freeze the several gallons of water you most likely had remaining. My biggest concern would be the plumbing between the tank and the cold inlet bypass valve. You would more than slush to damage something.
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:13 PM   #3
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It depends on how much water you were able to drain from the pressure release. The biggest issue with the water heater is it bursting from the expanding ice. I made the same mistake with my first travel trailer years ago and it cost me $600 to have the tank replaced.

Unless you notice water in your compartment, I guess you'll have to wait until spring unless you want to go through the winterization process again so you can find out.
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:17 PM   #4
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It's also gotten back above freezing last couple of days I have the rod out and it's been draining in my garage I was able to pull out the rod so it didn't appear to freeze solid it does appear the tank could use a good flushing out it's a 2014 and first season for us using it
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:18 PM   #5
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Since you've successfully drained the tank, you might be able to pressure-test the tank now rather than waiting all winter. It will be a chore, but if you can't bear the thought of wondering all winter, perhaps it will be worth it.

How to do it.
  • You do not need to undo all your winterizing. Leave the water heater bypass valves so they are bypassing the water heater.
  • Snag your pressure regulator valve from your freshwater supply hose. If you don't have one, now's a good time to buy one.
  • Your local hardware store will have an adapter (or a series of adapters) to adapt the pressure regulator garden hose fitting to the 3/4" male pipe thread needed to fit where the anode is.
  • Pull the camper out of the garage and partially set it up so you can go inside and open the booth seat to view the hot water heater.
  • Hook up the adapted pressure regulator to the garden hose...or your pristine fresh water hose.
  • OPEN the hot water heater pressure relief valve to allow air to escape the hot water heater tank as it fills.
  • Turn on the water supply.
  • When water starts pouring out of the pressure relief valve, close it.
  • Allow the system to pressurize while you run inside and check for leaks.
  • Have a partner at the hose valve ready to shut off the water if there is a leak.
  • If there's no leak after about 10 minutes, you got lucky.
  • If there is a leak, first verify where it is, then have your partner open the pressure relieve valve ASAP to relieve pressure. Then remove the hose and pressure regulator and dump the tank as quickly as possible to keep the inside of the camper dry.
  • If there is a leak, setup a fan, open the door and a window and ventilate to dry the interior.

This can wait until spring, and you can accomplish the same thing by simply connecting to your home as if you're connecting at a campground. But, if you need help installing a new hot water heater, knowing now will enable you to take advantage of RV repair shops' slower periods to get it fixed.

I hope you got lucky....and I think you did. Slush won't break things, but it is possible that plastic fittings on the tank might have been damaged. If so, you might be able to replace these PEX fittings yourself very easily.
The most challenging items might be the pex-to-tank adapters, and I suspect they are just male-thread-to-barb adapters that can be backed out with a pair of pliers. That's just a guess, but plumbing is usually pretty simple.
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info I'll just check in the spring worst case I have to replace the hot water tank I'm pretty mechanical so I'm sure it won't be too bad hopefully with what I initially drained from the relief valve that was enough to save it since it didn't appear to freeze solid
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:46 PM   #7
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I made this same mistake myself a few years back. I too had to replace the heater because it had burst from the ice. Doah!!!!

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Old 11-16-2017, 05:12 PM   #8
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I bet since it didnít freeze solid, you are fine. I wouldnít worry. In the spring pressure rise up the system and watch for leaks especially where the shut off valves are and I bet youíre all set.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:51 AM   #9
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I do have to say looking at the anode rod I'll be replacing that next spring it's only about 1/8 in diameter
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:58 AM   #10
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The tank would have to have been completely full and "Solid Ice" for any damage to occur. If it was slush as you say, I would bet you're going to be fine. Every spring, dealers get their pile of split water heaters due to people that forgot to empty them during the winter.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh4984 View Post
I do have to say looking at the anode rod I'll be replacing that next spring it's only about 1/8 in diameter
Ha, that means it gone. That last 1/8 inch is not sacrificial material. Get 2 and keep one in the camper tool box. Donít forget the Teflon tape. Enjoy.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:05 AM   #12
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Another way to test the tank, if you have an air compressor. Get a blowout adapter for the city water connection and blow the anti freeze out, close all faucets, put the water heater bypass valves in normal and then put about 40lbs of pressure on the system and see if it holds. That way if there is a leak you don't have water all over the inside of your camper.

I agree with those who say if it was slush and drained out it likely did not cause a problem especially if the pressure relief valve was still open.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jwh4984 View Post
I have a hw277 winterized it with antifreeze bypassed the hot water heater and drained it partially with the valve on the top what I did not realize is that the anode rod acts as a drain also I removed it and some water cam out but there was some slush because it had gotten below freezing question do u think I damaged the water heater I really have know way of knowing till the spring when I open it back up btw it's stored in my garage for the winter
There is no reason to "Make a Mess" now or in the spring! When ready to check for Damage/Leaks in your system just drain the system of Pink and use 41 PSI of air pressure to locate possible leaks! You can Hear a Hidden Leak,but you Can't See a Hidden Leak,and NO Mess to Mop Up! Youroo!!
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