How test hot water heater for cracks? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-26-2015, 08:42 PM   #1
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How test hot water heater for cracks?

We just purchased a 1988 Bigfoot 17b that had been sitting for 13 years. The owner mentioned I'd have to replace the hot water heater. I noticed the floor near the water heater is stained from water, right in the front drivers side corner. I'm thinking it might be cracked. How should I test it? Remove it so I don't potentially flow water through the interior of the trailer? It's an Atwood heater. Thanks in advance


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Old 08-26-2015, 08:46 PM   #2
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Only way your going to prove if its cracked and leaking is to start filling it..... just keep the hatch open its in and watch carefully....... if it starts to leak stop filling and start draining it from the outside plug fast....
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:02 PM   #3
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Disconnect both the hot and cold water lines from the hot water tank . Plug either the hot or cold fitting on the tank and put a fitting with a schrader valve into the other tank fitting. Take a compressor and fill the heater tank with air. If the tank will hold air pressure, it will hold water pressure and water .If it won't hold air it won't hold water . Plus air will not leave a big
mess to cleanup if the tank is bad . That air method is used in construction to test water lines and sewer / vent piping.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:02 PM   #4
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You can also just pressure up the water system with air and check for leaks.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:19 PM   #5
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I like the sound of testing with air much better. I'll try to find the right fittings to pressurize the system. 40 psi should be adequate?


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Old 08-26-2015, 09:26 PM   #6
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I like the sound of testing with air much better. I'll try to find the right fittings to pressurize the system. 40 psi should be adequate?


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Camco sells a fitting that has a hose fitting on one side and an air connection fitting on the other side . The fitting screws into the same fitting as your fresh water hose .The fitting is normally used to winterize the trailer's water system and would work for your purpose also . The fitting is relatively. cheap.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:08 PM   #7
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Thanks Steve, I'll look into that.


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Old 08-26-2015, 10:17 PM   #8
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If it fails the air test you'll need a new water heater but if it passes the air test you still need to check the tank again when it's filled with water and heated to operating temp. The heated water could cause a leak when air or even cold water does not leak. Heat causes changes in metal
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:26 AM   #9
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Ok thanks to all. I'll get everything together and test it.


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Old 09-02-2015, 12:35 PM   #10
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You might want it filled with water when you pressure test it.
Water just leaks out. Air could blow the thing up.
If you put city pressure on it and ran the heater that might answer the question completely.
If there is a leak then dry things up fairly quickly an no harm no foul.

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Old 09-02-2015, 02:09 PM   #11
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I peeled off the insulation on the tank and found a 6" gash. These aluminum tanks blow up when they go. Time for a new tank or whole new water heater. Poor winterization from the previous owner. Floor is rotten in that corner too from the water leaking out when the temperature thawed. Not a big deal, just work.


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Old 09-02-2015, 03:11 PM   #12
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Did it look anything like this? Our shop repaired it but I do NOT recommend it. I think a replacement 6gal tank from Atwood is around $175.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/50351683@N08/19049812022/
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Old 09-02-2015, 03:42 PM   #13
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I have a 6 gal Atwood I am not using.
$50 and it yours. Depends on where you are located if it is worth shipping.
I am installing a tank less on the tongue instead of using this Atwood unit.

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Old 09-02-2015, 03:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I peeled off the insulation on the tank and found a 6" gash. These aluminum tanks blow up when they go. Time for a new tank or whole new water heater. Poor winterization from the previous owner. Floor is rotten in that corner too from the water leaking out when the temperature thawed. Not a big deal, just work.


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PO of my trailer did not properly drain his hot water tank the prior winter either... same result. Bad news for him but good news for me as he had to install a new tank prior to my purchasing the trailer.
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