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Old 03-07-2009, 01:13 PM   #1
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Water heater question from new owner

Hello,

I want to make sure that I don't burn out the element in my hot water heater so of course I need to make sure that it is full first. My question is, how do I know it has water in it? I have the the TT connected to external water and am getting water from both cold and hot faucets. To check for water in the heater tank I removed the nylon drain plug and it seems dry. I have been reading about bypass valves and according to my owners manual it should be located behind the heater. There is only a 4" hole in the plywood behind the heater and I cannot feel the presence of a valve in there. There is a three-way valve under the bathroom sink. It was turned to the left. When I turned it up or to the right I no longer get water from the hot taps and there is water draining from a small drain in the rear which has no valve connected. Any help for the newbie would be appreciated.

Ken
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:05 PM   #2
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It sounds like you had the by-pass valve turned on by-pass (for winterizing) and turned it to non-by-pass since you now see water coming from the drain plug. It will take a little time to fill 6 gallons in the tank before you see it at the faucets.

For the winter, you set the valve to by-pass after you drain the water so you don't have to use another 6 gallons of anti-freeze to fill the tank while filling the lines.

In the summer after I switch the by-pass valve, I always loosen the drain plug to make sure the tank is full.

I think you're okay. Anyone else?
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:36 PM   #3
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The valve under the sink is your low point drain. There should be 2, 1 for the hot and 1 for the cold. Our 2006 2075 had 2 valves on the back of the water heater for the bypass. Our 2006 264SR only has 1 valve. So they did use different valve setups. Feel around on the pipes going in and coming out of the water heater, the valves should be there.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:56 AM   #4
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The valve under your sink, like Mike said, is your low point drain valve and there are two of them, one for hot and one for cold. These are opened only in the fall when you winterize your trailer and need to make sure all water is out. (There are several threads on here about winterizing already, so I won't go into that any further. They are recommended reading for you.) Anyway, for camping season, the low point drain valves need to be fully closed so that no water comes out of the drains which are visible under the trailer.

Here's the backside of the hot water heater from my '99. It has two bypass valves, top and bottom, right near the HOT and COLD labels. On newer units, there is only one valve. Either way, you should be able to feel around and locate the valve(s) on your unit.

If you have a two valve system, one (marked COLD) has to be open to allow water to flow into the heater, and the other (marked HOT) has to be open to allow water to flow from the heater to the hot water taps in the sinks and shower.

If you have a one valve system, flip it one way to bypass the heater for winterizing. Flip it the other way to route water into the heater for camping season.

It may be helpful for you to document the valve positions for both settings so that you can easily look it up every fall and spring. I keep my notes in the binder with the rest of the trailer manuals and such.
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:56 AM   #5
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Ken, you're at a bit of a disadvantage obviously having bought a camper that was already winterized so you haven't seen the full cycle. I'll start with where you're at right now.

I always fill the hwh at home for a variety of good reasons including reducing the tongue weight of the already heavy 2499. My city inlet and the hwh are in the same corner and I can hear the water running and filling the tank. If you use the water pump and the fresh water tank, the pump will appear to run forever while it fills the hwh which is one of the reasons I don't do that, but either way you'd know the tank was full. Just be sure the hot and cold low point drains are closed or the water is just going to run anyway. It's easy to forget which way to turn the low point drains, and as Steve suggested, it's a good idea to record stuff like that. I marked mine with a permanent marker so I can tell at a glance whether they are open or closed.

The hwh winterizing bypass has only one valve on my 05 and I suspect your similar vintage 04 will also only have one--the bottom one in Steve's photo of the two valve one. Here's a pretty good general reference; note diagram C half way down the page, which is what you likely have:
http://www.gagscamperway.com/rv/winterize.htm

One of Good Sam's top rated RV dealers has a pretty good web site with basic maintenance videos.
http://www.pontiacrv.com/rv-service.aspx
File the winterizing video away for reference next fall when you're on own--well... we'll still help if you need it.

Henry
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:57 PM   #6
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Success!

Thanks everyone for the informative responses. I felt around through the access hole and I did locate a valve near the bottom of the heater just as I expected from Steve’s photo. As soon as I turned the valve to the inline position I could hear the water flowing into the tank. At that point with my head through the hatch I happened to look up where I saw a drawer. After going into the bathroom and removing the drawer I then had much better access to the rear of the heater. It turns out that like Henry said, there was only one valve.
We now have hot water and have learned a little more about our Sunline. I will definitely document this and also the drain down valves in my owner’s binder.

By the way, I sent the original question just before we left for our first trial outing to Lake Anna State Park in Virginia. It’s only about 20 miles from our house so we thought it would be a good trial. The first night we had to deal with no hot water in the trailer but today we went to a WIFI hot spot and got your replies. After returning to the campsite I had everything going in a few minutes and hot water not much later. I’m writing this Sunday night and will post to the club site when we return tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks again for everyone’s help. This is a great group of helpful and generous people.

No more cold showers!

Ken
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:05 PM   #7
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There was some sort of server error when I posted the above reply and it did not indicate a new message. This should fix it. Thanks again.

ken
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