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Old 09-22-2020, 02:37 PM   #1
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Default Hot water tank leak

I have a 2010 Funfinder. We got back from a day out and found that we have a small leak coming from underneath our hot water tank. Itís not leaking a lot, but enough to run out onto the floor. Any ideas on how to tackle this? Anyone had this issue before? Iím not very mechanical. 😬.
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Old 09-22-2020, 03:18 PM   #2
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Let's hope it is something simple, like the pressure relief valve. Have you tried running the water heater and then watching it from the outside access panel?

Have you recently replaced the anode rod? Sometimes, the seal around the rod leaks a little.

If (Heaven forbid) it is a corroded tank, that is an expensive repair. But that is rare -- hope for a cheap and easy issue!!
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:09 PM   #3
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I noticed it leaking some out the back from the access panel a couple trips ago then it didnít do it the last trip.
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:11 PM   #4
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I’m not sure what the anode valve is. The water is just laying under the tank itself.
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:17 PM   #5
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We are leaving our campsite in the morning. I’m not sure if there is a way to bypass the tank, so it won’t be filled, and keep the water on. I’ve just been turning the water off and turning back on when we need it n
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:28 PM   #6
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First things first: it sounds like you might be a newbie. That is great -- please ask lots of questions. We old-timers like to answer them and to help you avoid the mistakes we have already made! (Plus it gives us something to do while hiding at home to avoid the virus.)

Let's see if we can narrow this down. First, the anode rod is a thing that sticks into the tank to prevent corrosion. Depending on which model water heater you have, there is probably a big hex head on the outside end of your rod. It sounds like you have not removed it recently (otherwise you'd know where it is). When you get a chance, you should check it to make sure it's not corroded. But since you have not removed it, the chances are good that it is not the source of this leak!

By the way, here is a photo of a typical Suburban water heater -- the hex fitting for the anode rod is in the bottom center of the photo:


Click For Full-Size Image.

Second, there is a pressure relief valve -- it usually has a lever that hangs down from a brass fitting toward the top of the tank -- in the photo, the valve is blue.

So now the questions -- when you said you saw it leaking out the back, do you mean when you were outside the trailer? How much was leaking? Were you using the hot water at the time?

When you said the water was laying under the tank, do you mean inside the trailer? Or do you mean on the little shelf under the big brass burner?

The answers to those questions will help us narrow down what is going on!

Hang in there.
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:33 PM   #7
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One more thought -- if you really had no leak at all on this trip, and you used the hot water, the problem is probably solved! And it was probably the pressure relief valve -- sometimes they leak a little, for some odd reason. If it leaks a lot, you would need a new valve.

But if you saw water inside the trailer, it was not just the pressure relief valve.
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:35 PM   #8
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All right, TWO more thoughts -- there is a certain way that an RV water heater has to be turned on -- let us know if you do not know that method. (But I won't bore you with a long recitation if you already know it!)
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:43 PM   #9
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Wow. Thanks for all the info. Iím not only a newbie, but just really bad mechanically at anything! A video chat would be super helpful! 😬.

It is leaking now, under the tank. So itís not just the valve unfortunately.
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:51 PM   #10
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It’s leaking inside the trailer, under the tank.
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Old 09-22-2020, 04:54 PM   #11
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I also do not know that method on how to turn one on.
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:05 PM   #12
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To turn on an RV water heater, you first have to make sure that there is water in your fresh water tank, and turn on the pump. Then turn on the hot water faucet in the sink. The faucet will sputter while the air comes out of the tank.

When it stops sputtering, turn off the faucet. Now light the water heater. This ensures that you don't burn out the water heater components by trying to heat an empty tank!

You only have to do that procedure once at the beginning of each trip.

OK, on to the leak -- can you see under the water heater? Are you sure that it is hot water that is leaking? Because there might be a leak in a plumbing line, rather than the heater. Is the water heater wrapped in a thick styrofoam shell??

If there is a leak in the water heater, why did it not leak on the most recent trip?? Did you use hot water on that trip?
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:19 PM   #13
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I can’t see under the heater, but can see the water seeping from under it. You are right it might be something else. It is wrapped in the thick styrofoam shell.

I’m not sure why it didn’t leak on the recent trip. We did use hot water, always do. I’ve never done the steps you mentioned above, I just always wait a while after I turn the water on to the camper before I flip on the hot water switch. I will do those steps in the future.
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:25 PM   #14
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I have a family member going to look at it for me. I suppose we will just take the hot water tank out and begin investigating.
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Old 09-23-2020, 09:00 AM   #15
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I would say not to take it out if it is no longer leaking, right?
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Old 09-23-2020, 09:26 AM   #16
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And if it is leaking, and you are running the water heater, and you can get your hand near the source of the leak, is the water warm to the touch? Because if it isn't, the leak could be in a supply line, rather than in the water heater??
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Old 09-23-2020, 12:45 PM   #17
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Thatís a good point. We are home now. Iíll get water to in, and see if the water is warm that is leaking.
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:09 PM   #18
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Just following up on the "hope it's something else" theory, I have discovered to my sorrow that in plumbing projects, the place where I see the water often is not the place where the leak is. If we are talking about a smallish leak (and it sounds like we are), the water often emerges from a joint in the plumbing and then runs downhill along a pipe or hose and then drips at a low point.

So my bet, at this point, is that the leak could be at a different source, like the water pump. And going way out on a limb, I am going to predict that the leak is in the place where your external fill port meets the internal fill tube that runs to your fresh water tank.

On both my 2003 trailer and my 2012 trailer (both of which were made by Fun Finder), the inflow tube tilted up slightly, which caused the water to back up a little and sometimes leak. The fix was easy -- I attached cable ties to the offending hose and dragged it downward, just a little, so that there was a nice easy gravity feed from the external fill port into the fresh water tank.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves -- first, we need more facts!
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Old 09-24-2020, 09:06 PM   #19
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I agree with Profdant139. The tank itself may not be the source of the leak. In more cases than not, if it's inside the camper it may be related to the system. I'd be tracing the hoses and connections from the tank to the pump, pump to where it splits to cold water and water heater supply, from the water heater back to the rest of the camper. So many connections, so many possible water leak sources.
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Old 09-24-2020, 11:12 PM   #20
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If the anode rod was never replaced it could actually be a corroded hot water tank.
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