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Old 11-19-2008, 08:24 AM   #1
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Winterize...

Got a double sided question. I used an air valve to blow out my water lines. Now, the nylon nut on the hot water heater to drain it is in a really tough spot to get get to. Is blowing out the lines enough? While blowing out the lines, I opened the pressure release on the heater. Is that enough, I got quite a bit out. The guy at the RV shop said I have to get the tank drained. If that isn't enough, how do drain it? The nylon nut is at angle about 5 inches from the bottom of the pan with the gas line in front of it. I have tried a wrench, vise grips, a pipe wrech, but nothing can get to it. My other thought was to diconnect the lines from inside and let it drain, but that would cause a mess. I would prefer not to soak the carpet if I can help it. As always, any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:05 AM   #2
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You should be able to blow the majority of the water out of the hot water heater with air pressure (no more than 40 lbs) and opening the hot water valves at each sink/shower. Make sure you blow it out BEFORE you bypass the heater, if you have a bypass kit. If you blow out the lines with the heater bypassed, the heater will still be full.

I pulled my drain plug after blowing out my rig and the few drops that came out were not worth the effort.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:15 AM   #3
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I pull my drain plug. It is possible to get a socket on there, just have to have the socket on at a slight angle. Many of these plugs get stripped, so make sure when you put it back on to start it and hand tighten most of the way, and then put the socket on. It's a fine plastic thread, and easily stripped.

To get all the water out of my WH, I stick a small piece of clear flexible tubing into the drain hole, and then I suck on it get the water out. Once it starts coming, I can just let the hose down toward the ground and the vacuum will drain all of it. When it gets close to the end, I do have to do it a couple more times because it gets air in it and stops.

You may have to remove the gas line that's in the way, if it isn't too much trouble.

I doubt you have a bypass due to the age of your coach. They were pretty much '97-'98 and newer.

Make sure to put some pink RV anti-freeze down all the drains.

Jon
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Old 11-19-2008, 02:19 PM   #4
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I just drain the heater with the plug.
Even if there's a little bit of water in the bottom of the heater, it's not a problem. The tank is curved, so the small amount of ice at the bottom won't have anything to expand against. My water tank usually has about 1/4" of water in it all winter, and that's just nowhere near enough to exert enough force to damage the tank. The ice'll just break up if it expands too much.
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:12 PM   #5
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Draining HWH

You definitely won't get a wrench on that plug--like Jon said, a socket (sorry, I can't remember the size, 3/4 or 13/16??) and 6" extension work best. This plug seals very well and doesn't need goop or teflon tape. Also don't tighten it more than "screwdriver tight" at the most. The socket on the end of a flex handle that you hold straight and just twist would probably be perfect. I use a ratchet, but just barely tighten the plug by turning the ratchet on the socket end rather than the handle.

If you don't have a socket set, it's a good investment. IMHO the HWH should be drained periodically, not just for winter. We don't camp every weekend, so I drain the tank after each outing unless I know we're going out again the next weekend. I also rinse the tank with an old style brass hose nozzle. It fits the opening nicely and the pressure stirs things up a bit--I feel better too!

To add to 2beagles: RV HWH lay on their side. 1" of water left to freeze doesn't even reach the drain plug. The tank would have to be at least half full before any damage would be done. Everything I've read, Sunline and others, say to drain and not worry about it. I've done that for the 3rd winter now and will continue. Of course I feel good about rinsing my tank and others might feel good about sucking all the water out...whatever turns your crank

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Old 11-19-2008, 09:57 PM   #6
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That plug is a real pain for sure. Once is enough….

This is what I did to over come the problem as I too drain the HW heater each camping trip and air blow out. And in the spring I unscrew this fitting and have a flush tool to go up inside the heater to flush out the sediment.

Attwood states that 2 quarts of water remains inside once the plug is pulled and that is OK and will not freeze to damage the heater. They also go on to say, if you want to get rid of that 2 qts, compressed air blow is about the only method. However SunlineFan’s siphon will work too if you do not have air.

You will notice I also spray painted the bare aluminum gas valve from corroding to death. Tape up both ends so you do not get any paint on the nozzle. In my case I took the gas valve off and painted in the open then put it back on.





If you do this mod, I used hose rated at 150 psi as it is braided and rated for fresh potable water along with temperature. The hose really only fills with cold water but the heat rating will help. Only use plastic (nylon) fittings in the aluminum tank or else a corrosion problem will come when using metal plugs of most any kind.

John
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:36 AM   #7
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John,
I really like your idea. I will have to see if it will work for me. It looks like you have more room, but your eyes sometimes deceive you when you are freezing outside.I was thinking of a similar mod, but having a cut off(bypass) and some piping to run it from the inside. With the age if my Sunline it didn't have cutoffs or bypasses at the hot water heater. Does anyone actually use the bypass, other than winterizing? Or is that all it is for?
Thanks for everyones input!
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:14 AM   #8
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It is for winterizing, it "Bypasses" the hot water tank out of the system saving 6 gallons of the pink stuff that would go into the heater while putting the antifreeze into the hot water lines. I have a 28' trailer and only use about 3/4 of a gallon of anti freeze to pump through the whole water system. I actually have to break open a second gallon to have enough for the traps.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:25 AM   #9
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I'm with Mack on use of the by-pass unit. And on Sunline, my experiences with pink stuff needs and use matched his, too. I always found that (although awkward) a short ratchet and socket (and water pump pliers) would get out the plug.

On my current unit, I have to use a water pump pliers alone...no room in the waterheater plumbing for my socket set-up.

In fact...I think I'll just add the socket & ratchet to the list for the Buttonwood auction next June!

Frank
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