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Old 12-11-2018, 04:23 PM   #1
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How do I drain water from the hot water heater?

I found a switch on top of the water-heater compartment, that seems to relieve water pressure. Even after sitting for 9 months, there was some pressure. I was unable to remove the anode, because I don' have a wrench that will fit it. Is there another way to drain the water out of the hot water tank? Or do I have to remove the anode? Its a giant nut, in a hard to reach place.
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:30 PM   #2
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You might run the water pump with the hot faucet on until the heater tank runs dry. Assuming you've drained the fresh water tank.

But that's just avoiding the issue. You're going to need to get that anode out of there eventually.

Get a 1-1/16 socket (a 6 point socket is probably best), a 3" extension and a long breaker bar from Harbor Fright. (Match the drive size.) (Even Harbor Fright can't f-up a breaker bar. Well they can but it's unlikely.) Doesn't have to be a ratchet wrench to just break the joint, the longer the better. While there pick up some teflon tape for when you put the anode back in. Which will be a bit fussy but hey, that's life. Before adding/wrapping the tape, spiff up the anode threads some with a wire brush. They're likely a little crusty.
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:51 PM   #3
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My Scamp has a drain plug without an anode (aluminum tank) it has a 7/8" plug made of plastic to prevent galling.


Steve might have the size and advice right except for the fact that you

can not run the hot water tank dry by running the faucet, since the hot water tank is dependent on cold water pressure through its inlet to displace the hot water being pushed out to the faucet. The pump only pumps Cold water so the Hot water tank remains full after the sink stops running.


To drain your HW tank you must remove the plug (anode). The Switch was likely your pressure relief valve.
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:51 PM   #4
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:57 PM   #5
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Floyd's right. Ignore my first suggestion.
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Old 12-11-2018, 06:08 PM   #6
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Go get the right wrench. By wrench I mean a 1/2 inch socket, borrow s ratchet if you don’t have tools with you.

Removing the anode is at least an annual task, you will need that tool. Some remove the anode after every trip. The tool is not expensive.

Or pay an RV tech to remove it for you, will probably cost 10 times more than the tool.

Most RV dealers will have the tool or order on Amazon and have it in two days.

Don’t be surprised you might need a new anode. They are designed to get consumed.

And if you don’t know the history of the trailer it’s overdue. I can’t imagine the hot water tank still having pressure after nine months. Was it left on?
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Old 12-11-2018, 06:52 PM   #7
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The anode on the Suburban water heater has a 3/4 MPT and the nut takes a 1-1/16" socket. My socket is 1/2" drive. I use a 3" or so extention and a regular 1/2" drive ratchet. I use teflon tape and I remove the anode after most trips if I'm not going out again for a month or more. Water left in the tank in warm weather gets sulfur-smelling. I don't need the breaker bar because I remove the anode regularly. You may not need the breaker bar either. I have no idea what's in your tool box. You may need only the socket and have all the rest. I doubt a wrench is going to do the job. I think a socket is the way to go.

I don't know how long ago the anode was last out. I don't know if the anode had tape when it was previously installed I don't know if you have the forearms of a guerrilla. I don't know if you got the trailer new. If used, the previous owner might have done almost anything to it. I don't know what your mechanical aptitude is.

I don't know of a switch that relieves pressure but there is a valve at the top of the tank, perhaps that is what you are calling a switch. Presumably you have looked at the Suburban manual.
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:12 PM   #8
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Steve and Thrighty bill have the best suggestions... when you do drain the WH check the anode. You will probably need to replace it.

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Old 12-11-2018, 08:22 PM   #9
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I went to an auto-store and bought all the parts, they had a 1-1/16 inch 12-sided socket instead of 6-sided, but it worked. I got the anode off, and just a thin wire came out. Then I pushed the wire back in, and started knocking some ceramic crud out of the way, and the water started coming out. The wire thing was only about 10 inches long. The water came out and washed a bunch of the white ceramic crud out. Once all the water seemed to be out, I put the anode-wire-thing back in, to keep critters out. I assume the water heater is now safe from freezing and exploding. Thank you everyone for the quick answers to my questions!



I got a 12-sided deep 1-1/16 inch socket, 5 inch extension (they had no 3 inch), and the 18 inch bar. Came right off. They did not have teflon tape.



I assume I will have to wash out the hot water tank before I ever use it again. All that white ceramic crud will need to come out. What a mess, but at least I don't have to worry about it freezing and splitting.


Still have not blow the lines out with compressed air. I ran the water out using the water pump last year, I guess that isn't good enough.


There were wasp nests everywhere there was a propane exhaust. I might just put Hefty trash bags inside the heater compartments during storage, to keep out wasps and spiders. Unless they like trash bags. Obviously I would remove them before they were used again.



Thanks again!
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
My Scamp has a drain plug without an anode (aluminum tank) it has a 7/8" plug made of plastic to prevent galling.


Steve might have the size and advice right except for the fact that you

can not run the hot water tank dry by running the faucet, since the hot water tank is dependent on cold water pressure through its inlet to displace the hot water being pushed out to the faucet. The pump only pumps Cold water so the Hot water tank remains full after the sink stops running.


To drain your HW tank you must remove the plug (anode). The Switch was likely your pressure relief valve.

Makes sense, and I think that switch was the Pressure Release Valve. I saw a YT video where I can pulled the metal switch t relieve the pressure. Mine made a hissing sound when the air escaped, which was a relief to hear, since it meant it was still air-tight. Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
And if you donít know the history of the trailer itís overdue. I canít imagine the hot water tank still having pressure after nine months. Was it left on?

I used to the ANode for the first 6 month I lived in it, and switched to gas when I figured out it wasn't using gas, lol. I used gas for the next 2 years. The anode was completely disintegrated. I will replace it before I use the HW heater again. I am the first owner. At least I can say the Anode lasted me 3 years
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:01 AM   #12
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Re: flushing the heater...

Camco sells a plastic device for under $10 that you connect to a hose and insert into the anode hole. Working from deep inside the tank it uses water to flush loose particulate out through the hole. It seems to work well enough but my tank has never been as fouled as you report yours is. I expect there are other ways of handling it but this works for me...

FWIW, it's not necessary to get every drop of water out for winterizing a round tank which the Suburban is.
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:41 AM   #13
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RVs are not maintenance free. I would do some reading on what annual maintenance is recommended and start doing it. Battery could be/should be toast.

There are simple screen caps to cover furnace outlet and other vents too. Screen can be put inside refrigerator vent. Need to protect mouse door or you WILL get damage there as mice get into your trailer. Thats one thing that is GREAT about the detachable cord on our Escape. If I still owned the Casita, I would be converting it.

Teflon tape can be found at Walmart, all the home improvement stores, etc. it’s not normally an auto parts store part.
https://www.amazon.com/Truck-Upfitte...t+screen&psc=1
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:14 AM   #14
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On my 2014 the battery only lasted 3 years, but i made some mistakes and ran it down a few times. I did not know there was a plug to plug in the converter. Carl
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:31 AM   #15
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When you replace the anode, do it with a new one. The "wire" you mentioned is all that is left of the sacrificial material (either aluminum or magnesium, depending on the part number) that protects the tank. A new anode will have around 1/2" or so of material surrounding the wire that is "eaten" away during normal water heater use. Should be inspected & replaced when it is mostly wire, rather than aluminum.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:38 AM   #16
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:07 PM   #17
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Interesting. I don't think my trailer was ever used much by previous owners, and of course I have no idea if they ever replaced the annode, but I'm assuming mine is the original from 1991. I've used my camper a ton the last three years. What are signs it's failing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve L. View Post
Re: flushing the heater...

Camco sells a plastic device for under $10 that you connect to a hose and insert into the anode hole. Working from deep inside the tank it uses water to flush loose particulate out through the hole. It seems to work well enough but my tank has never been as fouled as you report yours is. I expect there are other ways of handling it but this works for me...

FWIW, it's not necessary to get every drop of water out for winterizing a round tank which the Suburban is.
I use this exact tool at the end of the season. Last fall, a ton of white crap flushed out when I used it. This fall, nothing at all came out. Must have been some built-up crap from never being flushed, and now it's fairly clean.

My tank drain has a plastic socket which is easily accessed, and I usually just use a wrench to turn it, though the correct size socket would be the "right" tool. The annode, on the other hand, I'm not sure about. Ah, another spring project...

"Not maintenance free" might be the understatement of the year Especially for those of us with older campers.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:25 PM   #18
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If the anode is "dissolving" away that suggests to me that you ARE seeing galvanic action and once the anode is gone it is going to move on to attack the steel in the tank. I suppose the sign of that is leaking hot water inside the trailer. Probably from a welded seam corroding through.

The purpose of the anode is to dissolve instead of the metal in the tank, an anode being cheaper than a new water heater, not to mention if you have it installed. A dissolved anode has done what it was designed to do. For the anal among us I'm using "dissolved" incorrectly in this case but it captures the sense of what is happening.

The manual suggests swapping out the anode when it's 75% gone. Changing before that is wasting your money, but it's not that much money, so whatever.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:28 PM   #19
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It would probably be a good idea to get two anodes as they deteriorate pretty fast. I'm not sure but the reason that you have to remove the anode to drain the water heater is so you can inspect it and if it is deteriorated replace it. I learned the hard way that you should always open the over pressure valve to relieve any pressure unless you want to get soaked. When replacing the anode always get it started by hand with out the socket so you don't cross thread it. That little plastic wand that you hook to your garden hose works real well to wash the built up minerals (they are not chunks of ceramic ) out of the water heater. I bought a deep impact socket to remove the anode as the water heater in my house required an impact wrench to remove the original one and they all take a 1 1/16 socket. If you have a deep socket preferably a six point you won't need an extension, at least I didn't..
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:01 PM   #20
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It would probably be a good idea to get two anodes as they deteriorate pretty fast.

That depends on your water. My original anode lasted eight years and I probably could have gone another year or three before replacing it.
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