Rainwater in water heater box seeps into trailer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-08-2006, 12:35 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1999 Burro 17 ft Widebody
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After taking our FG trailer to Campingworld for a leak test, we discovered that one of the 20 or so spots where we have leaks is around our water heater. So this weekend, we pulled the Atwood water heater put on new butyl tape and remounted it. Shortly thereafter it rained (this is Oregon) and I found water inside, under the water heater.

I put a bead of food coloring along the top of the water heater, as a "tracer" and sure enough, the water is leaking in - not through the flange though, but rainwater runs over the newly sealed top flange, and into the water heater enclosure along one side (closest to the heater vent), then the trickle seeps through rivet holes and slots in the upper and lower corners of the enclosure.

Since we bought the camper last fall, I've only fired up the water heater to test it, so I have no idea how hot the enclosure gets. Will the enclosure get so hot that silicone, etc. will not work to seal the rivet holes? Any suggestions on what to use to seal the rivet holes and slots if the surrounding metal does get too hot? - I'll need to practice if it involves soldering. Alternately, has anyone used a rain gutter over the water heater to solve this problem?

Best yet, if anyone else has had this problem, how have they solved it?

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 05-08-2006, 02:29 PM   #2
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Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
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If I read this right, you used rivets through the butyl tape to install your water heater? I think most of them are mounted using screws.

No matter, you can either seal the rivets with butyl putty (gray stuff) or butyl caulk. The only place your water heater gets hot is at the exhaust vent, and even above that it shouldn't get hot enough to be an issue. I have a huge aversion to silicone. It'l just make it messy if you ever have to drill them out again.

Roger
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:15 PM   #3
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Trailer: 1999 Burro 17 ft Widebody
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If I read this right, you used rivets through the butyl tape to install your water heater? I think most of them are mounted using screws.

No matter, you can either seal the rivets with butyl putty (gray stuff) or butyl caulk. The only place your water heater gets hot is at the exhaust vent, and even above that it shouldn't get hot enough to be an issue. I have a huge aversion to silicone. It'l just make it messy if you ever have to drill them out again.

Roger
Thanks Roger, actually the heater is screwed into the side of the trailer, the rainwater is leaking behind the door into the enclosure, and runs through the rivet holes used by Atwood to fabricate the steel enclosure/box.

Sounds like sealing the inside seams on the water heater enclosure could be done with standard sealants.
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