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Old 05-14-2020, 07:15 PM   #1
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To drain or not to drain WH

What is the consensus of owners? Do you drain the water heater after each trip? By removing the nylon plug in the water heater tank and draining the, in my case, 6 gallons of water.

TIA
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:54 PM   #2
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I installed a shutoff water valve for a toilet and a flexible stainless steel wrapped hose and a male/male short nipple. That way, all I need to do to drain is open the high temp blowoff and then open the spigot on the drain hose... works every time. My vote is to DRAIN! Lots less headaches and NO hot water smell after starting back up again.

Frank
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:05 PM   #3
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I have never drained my water heater. We do store our trailer inside so there is no danger of freezing.
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:57 PM   #4
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I'll drain our water heater and any water in the fresh water tank if it has been several weeks since last use. But I don't bother with the nylon plug until it's time to winterize. For mid season draining I just open the low point drains beneath the camper and open the pressure release valve on the back of the water heater. This will allow all the water to drain out of the water heater via the plumbing system.
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:04 AM   #5
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Funny I’m seeing topic, as I just flushed my hot water tank today in anticipation of my planned move up to Yellowstone next week.

I’m full time, so I don’t flush after every trip. But I do flush it every 6-8 months or so. Not in preparation for winter or anything... but to clear out the white calcium deposits that build up in there, especially if you spend time near hard water like I have this winter.

I’ve here on the Colorado River since mid-October... a notoriously hard water area. After draining the tank, I then spray & flush it out using one of these wands by Camco:

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It’s amazing the amount of small white calcium pellets that shoot out of that thing, along with lots of milky white water on the first flush. So much that it scars the wheel skirts with white streaks that I have to clean off a few hours later with a bit of CLR.

THAT’S why you wanna flush the tank often... to get rid of the calcium.

If you wanna see what I mean... just go to YouTube, and watch a few videos of it.

Oh yeah... one reminder when you do this: TURN YOUR HOT WATER SWITCH OFF!!!

Just had a friend of mine burn up the heating element on his because he forgot. Cost him around $1,000 to replace the unit because of a brain-fart. The heat element will fry itself out if left on with no water in the tank.
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:00 AM   #6
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:49 PM   #7
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I recently had to service the burner tube for the water heater, had a web in it. At that time the tank was drained by removing the white plug. Before I drained the tank I had opened the water drain (not the fresh water tank valve) valves for hot and cold water under the unit for the cabin city water supply and opened every facet in the cabin too. Drained until i no longer had water coming from the drain valves. I was surprised the water heater remained full of water.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmygator View Post
I recently had to service the burner tube for the water heater, had a web in it. At that time the tank was drained by removing the white plug. Before I drained the tank I had opened the water drain (not the fresh water tank valve) valves for hot and cold water under the unit for the cabin city water supply and opened every facet in the cabin too. Drained until i no longer had water coming from the drain valves. I was surprised the water heater remained full of water.
opening the lower drain valves will not drain the hot water heater in my experience.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
opening the lower drain valves will not drain the hot water heater in my experience.
Yep, found out how true that is.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:02 PM   #10
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found out when I saw all those videos on winterizing.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
found out when I saw all those videos on winterizing.
where I live we don't actually need to winterize something the size of a water heater. Water lines yes, but a 6 gallon tank would never freeze unless the dinosaurs were to return.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmygator View Post
where I live we don't actually need to winterize something the size of a water heater. Water lines yes, but a 6 gallon tank would never freeze unless the dinosaurs were to return.

As they say, never say never. I remember wrapping water pipes while the orchard was being watered to keep it from freezing.
December in Leesburg IIRC.
I have seen may split tanks in the RV junk yard in southern Arizona where it, um, never snows or freezes.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sundancer 87 View Post
As they say, never say never. I remember wrapping water pipes while the orchard was being watered to keep it from freezing.

December in Leesburg IIRC.
So true. We do watch the weather closely for freeze snaps. Our greenhouse has a heater we'll fire up if threated with cold snaps. This past winter it might have frozen 4 times and just barely. We can get 10 to 15 nights in the upper 20's during a cold winter.

And we've been camping on New Year's day a number of times with good weather.
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Old 05-15-2020, 04:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
opening the lower drain valves will not drain the hot water heater in my experience.
You have to open the pressure release valve on the water heater, otherwise it will not drain through the lowpoint drains. You need to allow for air to enter the tank in order for the water to drain out. I drain my water heater like this all the time. All 6 gallons comes out. Alternately, you could probably open a hot water tap anywhere inside the camper which would allow an avenue for air to be drawn into the tank and allow water to drain out through low point drains.

caveat would be if your water heater has a check valve on the inlet (or outlet if relying on opening a hot water tap). Mine does not and I have no idea if it is common practice to have this or not
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Old 05-16-2020, 04:30 PM   #15
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I tried the suggestions mentioned however had to remove the white nylon plug to drain the W/H.

Thanks for the suggestion and replies. I'll be emptying the W/H tank after each trip. And considering the different water each campground supplies and we camp in hard water areas its likely best overall.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:58 PM   #16
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I removed my nylon plug and replaced with a brass petcock. Open the petcock and open pressure relief valve and it drains fine. No stripping out of the nylon plug.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:49 AM   #17
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Water heater drain.

Like the water heater in your home, you only drain it to clean out any sediment that accumulates at the bottom. That will be accomplished every fall when you drain the water heater for winterizing.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:51 AM   #18
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Drain Hot Water tank

I couldn't use the trailer last year, but i started yo just clean and flush the water system in spring, left water in hot eater tank all summer long, then in late fall started to winterize. When i wasvtesting out the system. The hot water stunk, bad. Sulfur gas smell from Al tank and city water.. So i now drain it, just a plug to turn out, pop the pressure relief valve, and let it drain. I used that wand and got a good amount of junk out of tank. Recommend that at the end or when still warm enough to be getting little wet flushing tank
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:56 AM   #19
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I only drain my water heater once per year at the end of the season. I have never had odor issues between trips (3-4 weeks between each trip). Draining it after each trip seems excessive, but probably doesn't hurt if you want to do it.

When I do drain it, I do use one of those hose attachments to stir up the water/sediment and get as much gunk out as possible. My manuals state that a the small amount of water that may remain in the tank is not a threat during the freezing off-season.
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