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Old 05-23-2011, 02:44 PM   #1
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Default How frequently do you drain the water heater?

I have tried to research this, but all I find is information on winterizing the unit. I am just curious about what others have done in terms of draining the water heater in between uses.

The manual suggests it be drained for prolonged storage - I expect to have to store this unit sometimes 2-4 weeks between trips.

any suggestions appreciated!

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Old 05-23-2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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If my water is more then 2 weeks old, I just run the hot / cold water from the sink till its empty then refill.

I also purge the safty valve every couple of trips.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:30 AM   #3
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This question gets asked a lot...

Never. Well, I do when I winterize. Potable water, whether municipal or well supplied, is potable because it has either no naturally occurring organisms in it or it has been "sterilized" by chemicals added at the provider's plant. I think many folks get overly concerned about how sterile their water is or should be. How often to you drain your water heater at home? How often do people drain their water heaters at vacation properties that they infrequently visit throughout the year? A home owner, as recommended by most water manufacturers, should drain their hot water tanks bi-annually...this is for energy efficiency since it flushes the sediment from the tank and not for any "sterile" purposes and I know of very few people that actually do it. I know it should be done, but, I can't remember the last time I actually drained and flushed my sticks and bricks water heater...

I had this discussion with a friend one time and he said he drained his after every trip...he kept fish in his sticks and bricks and described how scummy the tanks got. The organisms that grow in a fish tank were not introduced in the water, but, comes from the fish and their bodily functions. Algae is the biggest offender, if it makes it into the water supply, but, it requires sunlight to grow and by using solid colored hoses (that's one of the reasons water hoses aren't clear) you minimize (all but eliminate) the possibility of introducing it to your system.

The biggest problem is the water going "stale" from sitting for an extended length of time and turbidity (sedimentation)... since I don't drink from the hot water tap, those are non-issues, also, since the tank is only 6 gallons, it clears itself pretty quickly on the first use. Using a cleaning wand during winterization cleans the year's sediment out during winterization.

So, short answer: I drain mine once a year; when I winterize at the end of the season when it gets emptied and cleaned. Saves on labor throughout the season and wear and tear on the threads and mating surfaces of the anode's attachment point.



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Old 05-31-2011, 10:51 AM   #4
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Default Drain water heater

I don't live in an area where we have to winterize, but I do drain the waterheater following a camping trip when I anticipate storing the trailer for more than a couple of months. This is because the annode corrodes. I have a 2006 and have had to replace the magnesium rod twice.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:02 AM   #5
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I have been pondering this as well. I have left it full for the past three years, we camp at least once a month, usually twice a month in the summer. I just had to replace the anode and the pressure relief valve, the relief valve started to leak because a lot of minerals had built up on the seat. While I had it out, I flushed the tank by hooking up a hose to the relief valve port and let it drain out the anode port. This removed most of the loose mineral deposits.
My dilemma is this. If I leave it full with the anode in place, the anode will corrode but protect the rest of the tank from corroding. It will build up a lot of mineral deposits in the tank and on the relief valve though. If I drain it, there will be about half an inch of water left. With no anode in, the tank can then start to corrode. Drying it out would be difficult. At this point I plan to just leave it full and let the anode do it's job, unless I find a way to fully dry it out.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:32 PM   #6
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Default Draining water heater tank

Dave
I think you have thought this through more than I. I think I will stop draining so frequently and just replace the anode when needed. Too bad the RV industry is unwilling to make tanks that last longer. My 50 gallon Home Depot gas water heater is just starting year 19 and isn't even gurgling yet...and there is no way I am going to open that one up and replace the anode or drain and flush. If it ain't broke....
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:47 AM   #7
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You are much better off leaving the anode in place with a full tank, as opposed to emptying the tank and leaving the anode out to try and dry the tank...

I won't go into the physics behind the corrosion process (galvanization), but, let it suffice that the sacrificial anode is there to protect the tank and that the galvanic corrosion of the tank increases as temperature rises, minerality of the fluid increases and the electric differential between the tank and ground increases (an electric water heater will corrode faster than a gas water heater, hence, I only use mine on propane). Anodes wear...that is their purpose and in water heaters, the "heating" process hastens that corrosion (that's why you don't find anodes in water accumulator tanks-no heating, particularly electrical and their tanks can be made electrically none conductive).

The "best" medicine would be to leave the tank full, electric heating element switch open with the battery disconnect "off", thereby minimizing the electrical differential applied to the dissimilar metals in the tanks. The reason your home tank "lasts so long" is that anode in your home tank is huge compared to the size of the anode contained in the pigmy water heater tank in your TT. If you could get a 50 gallon, or larger, water heater in your TT, the water tank would outlast the TT with no user maintenance at all...the sheer mass of a home water heater and its anode reduces the apparent galvanic reaction to a negligible point...much the same as an aircraft carrier sitting in the ocean (rust on those is also caused by galvanic action and those ships also have scrificial anodes attached to their hulls...)

There are also two schools of thought on the relief valve...one is that "exercising" it keeps the valve reliable, the other is that "exercising" it leads to leaking with a slight lessening of its reliability to release at the proper pressure load. I hold with the second school of thought. Everytime you open the valve, you compress the spring...constant spring compression weakens a spring (this is true of any spring - even the springs on your car and truck eventually "sag" from the constant compression and expansion). You also introduce a small amount of water to the sealing surfaces of the valve. As the water evaporates, it leaves minerals and these minerals accumulate, over time, decreasing the ability of the seal's surfaces to provide a leak free surface and they begin to "weep". The air in a hot water heater will naturally go to the highest point for escape and that point is the hot water outlet. There is nothing to be gained by "venting" or "purging" air from the tank using the pressure relief valve as it is at the same or slightly lower level than the hot water pipe to the plumbing system. I have never "purged" or "bled" any water heater tank using the pressure relief valve and as long as the seal is left intact (no water coating their surfaces) there is no corrosion between the seal (no dissimilar metals for galvanic action to occur) and no mineral coating to reduce the "seal", allowing the valve to leak or "weep" (I've never had a valve leak on any water heater or pressurized water system [my well pump also has a pressure relief valve]).



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Old 06-01-2011, 02:45 PM   #8
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Default Water heater draining

Don
Thanks for the helpful information. I am new to this usergroup, but I know that I am going to learn a lot from others.
Jamie
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