Water Heater Wet Cardboard (split from Drycamping Tips) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-14-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
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Water Heater Wet Cardboard (split from Drycamping Tips)

Added to the list...thanks again everyone!

Been testing everything lately making sure all is working properly.
I noticed that the cardboard that surrounds the insulation around the hot water tank was
all wet!?! but the the floor or nothing under it is wet? If the water in the tank is cold can it condensate that bad to soak the cardboard?

Also anyone know how long a 20lb LP tank will run the big size scamp fridge?
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:30 PM   #2
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Hi, Baj

I'm guessing you don't see any sign of leaks around the in/out pipes.
Is there mold or mildew on the wet cardboard?
That would be evidence of long exposure...
If it's in direct contact with a fiberglass surface and the trailer's been closed up all winter without ventilation it's possible that the water source is condensation on the wall, especially if the insulation and tank itself are dry.
I'd get rid of the cardboard, make an air space between the WH and the wall, and wait to see if the wet reappears.
Can't help you with the fridge propane use- I think yours is bigger than mine...and probably more efficient!

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Old 05-14-2011, 04:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for your suggestions Francesca! The tank itself is total surrounded with insulation and then the cardboard wraps all the way around the insulation. Last weekend I filled the onboard water holding tank and the water was cold. At that time I also filled up the hotwater tank and was going to fire up the pilot light to test the heater but didn't get a chance to for the past week until today, and noticed it was soaked. This past week we have had some really hot days here so thats why I thought it may have condensated over the week...but the trailer was opened up a few times since it was hot...
There doesn't seem to be mold on the cardboard..but its hard to tell since its all wet. I have a fan blowing on it trying to dry it all out. I agree I should remove the cardboard..but am trying to think what I could wrap the insulation in if I do remove it?
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Old 05-14-2011, 04:24 PM   #4
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Hi, Baj

If you're having nice weather, why not remove the insulation as well as the cardboard for a few days just to make sure that the tank and/or fittings aren't your water source? (Do prepare yourself for some unpleasant surprises... mice just LOVE to make their winter homes in that kind of cozy spot.)
If the pipes etc. stay dry, then condensation is the likely culprit unless the tank's located under a sink or something ...
If it does turn out to be condensation, air circulation is the cure- if it's forming on the walls, air gap the WH insulation there.
I'd be a bit nervous myself about cardboard for a wrap if there's any potential for it to come into contact with the flame on the heater...
For both air circulation and insulation containment, you might use a piece of aluminum screening such as that used for doors.
It's real easy to cut and work with- and not flammable!

Hope this helps

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Old 05-14-2011, 04:40 PM   #5
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Great suggestions again, thnaks so much! This cardboard looks like it is original since it is perfectly fitted all the way around even on both ends with precut out circles for the water lines etc...if it is from the factory then perhaps it has some sort of fire retardant coating? Just guessing of course...
I did forget to mention that my nylon HW tank drain plug on the outside was a tad loose and weeping...any chance some of that may of back flowed in somehow? I have tightened it up and it has stopped weeping...
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Old 05-14-2011, 04:53 PM   #6
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Hi, Baj

I'll bet you're right about the fire retardance of the original cardboard, so no worries there...
And I wouldn't be surprised if you located the source in the leaky line, especially if you've run any water through it.
Water can really travel, as anyone who's tried to figure out a roof leak in a house knows!
Another possibility could be that some water ran down the outside of your filler line when you put the water in and you didn't notice it until later.
I'm a take some steps and wait-and-see type person, so if I could get the spot dry, I'd probably sit back with my fingers crossed for now.

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Old 05-14-2011, 07:00 PM   #7
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Gee can't thank you enough Francesca! I hope that weeping drain plug was it...but as you said gotta wait and see...just checked on it and its drying up pretty good with the fan blowing on it...fingers crossed that is all it was! I kept seeing it weeping all week but just thought since it was a slow drip and on the outside it wouldn't find its way back in!
Leaks are such a pain, and I know all too well about trying to find a roof leak in my home unfortunately
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:51 PM   #8
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Keep us posted, Baj!

....
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:05 AM   #9
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Haha good call with the umbrella
Well went to see how it was drying this morning and the cardboard surround was about half dry at the top, the bottom was still wet...I decided to take your advice Francesca and rip it all outta there! Sure glad i did because it did have some mold in places and the stuff that was directly under the tank was totally saturated wet and black! Yuk
Before I did all that I noticed that my drain plug had started a very slow drip again, even after I tightened it yesterday, which had stopped the drip for awhile...but started another slow drip overnight...so I took the plug out, drained the tank and have just cleaned up the plug. Gonna put some teflon tape on it and put it back in, fill up the tank and see if that does the trick to get it to stop dripping, then look for any leaks inside now that I can totally see the tank and everything.
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:02 PM   #10
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Hi, Baj

!EEEUUUUU!
Welcome to the world of Truly Gross Things all trailer owners must sometimes deal with!

I'm not familiar with Scamp construction, but if there's plywood under your WH I hope it's OK. That connection may have been leaking for awhile without the previous owner being aware of it...
While it's still wet there, I'd suggest that you scrub the whole area with a strong bleach solution, leaving it on while the area dries. That will kill the mold and mildew spores, which will otherwise cheerfully regrow using normal trailer humidity even if your leak is fixed.

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Old 05-15-2011, 12:29 PM   #11
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hehe eeeuuuu forsure
good call again on the bleach...gonna go do that now!
it may not of been the drain plug after all, after removing the yuk it allowed me to see under there better and I discovered that the cold water line had a slow leak. The nut that attaches under the tap had a small crack and was allowing water to run down the hose which layed against the water heater cardboard. So I have taken that off and will have to pick up a nut assy tomorrow.
After using teflon tape on the water heater drain plug it seems to have stopped the drip..atleast so far..
Off to kill mold spores
Thanks again Francesca, you rock!
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
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The nut that attaches under the tap had a small crack and was allowing water to run down the hose which layed against the water heater cardboard.
THAT sounds like freeze damage to me
If the trailer was stored with water in it during freezing weather, real (other!) havoc could have been played with its fittings and that wimpy plastic tubing used for water lines.
You probably should very carefully inspect all your water lines and connections while you're home there in your driveway.

Maybe before you go to the hardware store!

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Old 05-15-2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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I know many will think it is evil, but I find my small Honda generator to be a great way to extend my dry camping time. I am just limited by waste tank size.

It is nice to heat pre-made dinners in the microwave and recharge the battery at the same time. Pre-made dinners cut down on water use and generated trash.

We never run it after sunset or in the morning (unless we are the only ones around) and more than once I leant it to a nearby camper who was low on battery power. It is quiter and easier than using the tow vehicle to charge the battery.

When in the desert, the ability to to run the AC is nice and it usually cools off quickly after sunset. We never run it overnight, but we are in a low humidity area and I would understand if other folks ran it longer when camping in a high humidity environment.

We don't have TV so no need to run it after dark.

The generator has come in real handy during power outages at home. I can keep the refers going and run some lights in the house.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:00 PM   #14
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...uh-oh...

...
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:38 AM   #15
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Question Is it "PEX" or "QEST" ?

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THAT sounds like freeze damage to me
If the plumbing is Gray, it's called "Qest". I have that in my Fiber Stream and I've found that cracked fittings are common with this brand due to over tightening when people discover leaks. Here on the West Coast, it is no longer available except in dusty old Mom&Pop Hardware Stores that never sold all of their "New-Old" stock. There was a huge class-action lawsuit in Canada in the 1980's over this brand due to split tubing of HOT water lines within the walls of newly constructed houses. The plastic didn't hold up well to temperature changes.

The modern replacement is a different formulation of plastic, the brand name is "Pex" which is white.
I see there are some websites that may still carry both.
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:11 AM   #16
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Thanks Fredrick!
The nut used on mine is clearish plastic...
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:27 PM   #17
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Great suggestions again, thnaks so much! This cardboard looks like it is original since it is perfectly fitted all the way around even on both ends with precut out circles for the water lines etc...if it is from the factory then perhaps it has some sort of fire retardant coating? Just guessing of course...
I did forget to mention that my nylon HW tank drain plug on the outside was a tad loose and weeping...any chance some of that may of back flowed in somehow? I have tightened it up and it has stopped weeping...
Suprised you have cardboard around the hot water tank - mine has a styrofoam type cover over the whole thing - wonder if the tank was replaced and they just didnt take the shipping cardboard off.... hummm

re the nylon drain plug due to design I think it would be pretty impossible for it to be leaking back under the tank. I feel the pain re the drip though! Pretty well every time I have taken the plug off to drain the tank and then refill the tank it will drip. Even replaced it once to see if that would help. Can never get it tight enough by hand but a tire iron will do the trick! Have you had the pleasure of taking the plug out without releasing the pressure valve first yet? Cant tell you who many times I have done that
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:53 PM   #18
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Ya the cardboard definitely left me wondering why it was on there..but you make a good point..if it was replaced it did kinda resemble shipping cardboard since it was perfectly shaped around the tank. Either way that wet mold yuk has been removed! I now have a shinny tank starring at me wanting to be insulated...I like Francesca's idea to insulate it with regular insulation then hold it around the tank by wrapping screen material around it all..but not sure if I can get a staple gun in that tight space to secure the screening..
I called scamp and they said to find spray foam insulation and spray it..but not sure I want to do that since it would be hard to replace if it ever went bad with foam sticking it to everything..just seems like it would be a big mess...
Anyone else ever re-insulate their tank? If so what did you do?

Ha! ya I got sprayed when I took out my plug! I even had the tap open inside thinking that would relieve the pressure but no...is that what you meant by the pressure valve?
Before I put my plug back in I wrapped some teflon tape around it and tightened it with a ratchet...so far thats done the trick...no more drip!

I also found the last nut fitting they had at a local rv dealer today and installed that under my cold water tap...so far so good, no more leak...fingers crossed!
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:49 PM   #19
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Ya the cardboard definitely left me wondering why it was on there..but you make a good point..if it was replaced it did kinda resemble shipping cardboard since it was perfectly shaped around the tank. Either way that wet mold yuk has been removed! I now have a shinny tank starring at me wanting to be insulated...I like Francesca's idea to insulate it with regular insulation then hold it around the tank by wrapping screen material around it all..but not sure if I can get a staple gun in that tight space to secure the screening..
I called scamp and they said to find spray foam insulation and spray it..but not sure I want to do that since it would be hard to replace if it ever went bad with foam sticking it to everything..just seems like it would be a big mess...
Anyone else ever re-insulate their tank? If so what did you do?

Ha! ya I got sprayed when I took out my plug! I even had the tap open inside thinking that would relieve the pressure but no...is that what you meant by the pressure valve?
Before I put my plug back in I wrapped some teflon tape around it and tightened it with a ratchet...so far thats done the trick...no more drip!

I also found the last nut fitting they had at a local rv dealer today and installed that under my cold water tap...so far so good, no more leak...fingers crossed!
To the right of the plug on the outside there should be a release valve - you flip it up.

Ok so something is a bit strange - normally the tanks I have seen are incased in hard styrofoam - if the tank goes bad it really is not going to make much difference as to whats stuck to the outside of it. Should not be a big mess if you put something over all the connections etc so they do not get sprayed - tape some paper up around that area so it catches the over spray as well. Just dont spray over any where there are connections. You could also contact the tanks manufacture to see if you can buy the hard styrofoam type I have.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:40 PM   #20
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This is what a relief valve looks like.


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