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Old 12-18-2019, 06:08 PM   #1
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Drain plug on water heater keeps leaking

Anyone have tips on how to get my drain plug to stop leaking on my 6gal Atwood water heater?

It's a new plug and I used plumbers tape. Going to try more tape next time but hope there are other ideas, options.

Thank you
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Old 12-18-2019, 06:15 PM   #2
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You need at least 3 wraps of plumbers tape if that don't work try using plumbers pipe dope.
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:58 PM   #3
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What is plumbers pipe dope?


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Originally Posted by jim44646 View Post
You need at least 3 wraps of plumbers tape if that don't work try using plumbers pipe dope.
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Old 12-18-2019, 09:02 PM   #4
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I'll pass this along, Atwood sold out to Dometic, maybe 1 to 2 years ago. I have seen the quality drop on Dometic in the last year. Don't know what up with them, but it is not like the older good quality Dometic of years ago.

This spring I bought 3 packs of the new Atwood drain plugs. They came in a 2 pack and they had the Dometic wording all over the packaging. These https://www.amazon.com/Atwood-91857-...s%2C191&sr=8-4

Those new Dometic plugs are different then the older Atwood plugs. The older Atwood plugs where longer and they sealed up well. I went through 2 packs (4 plugs) of the new Dometic ones to get 1 plug to seal. And even then in time, it started to leak.

The Teflon tape makes it so slippery, that you can easily overtorque the threads and stretch them. Then it for sure won't seal.

I have used other brands of potable water nylon fittings and they work no problem, but not those new Dometic plugs. I think they changed the sub supplier who use to make them for Atwood.

I agree with Jim, if you have the Dometic plugs, if the teflon tape does not work and the plug is not stripped, (stretched threads) then use potable water pipe thread sealant for plastic nylon fitting, nick named, pipe dope. It comes in a little can with a brush. Lumber yards and hardware stores have it. Just make sure they are rated for plastic and potable water.

You can also try doing a new Dometic nylon plug with no teflon tape on it. Do it dry. We had a member here tell us about this, the teflon on nylon can allow to easily stretch the threads and then it really will not seal.

OR change brands of plugs. Camco makes them too. It needs to be a 1/2" NPT potable water heater plug. Some made from nylon, some from PVC.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:05 PM   #5
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Ya I bought Atwood plugs so might buy camco ones just in case.

If you use the dope is the plug reusable? Once you remove it to drain the tank would you reapply dope each time?



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I'll pass this along, Atwood sold out to Dometic, maybe 1 to 2 years ago. I have seen the quality drop on Dometic in the last year. Don't know what up with them, but it is not like the older good quality Dometic of years ago.

I have used other brands of potable water nylon fittings and they work no problem, but not those new Dometic plugs. I think they changed the sub supplier who use to make them for Atwood.

I agree with Jim, if you have the Dometic plugs, if the teflon tape does not work and the plug is not stripped, (stretched threads) then use potable water pipe thread sealant for plastic nylon fitting, nick named, pipe dope. It comes in a little can with a brush. Lumber yards and hardware stores have it. Just make sure they are rated for plastic and potable water.

OR change brands of plugs. Camco makes them too. It needs to be a 1/2" NPT potable water heater plug. Some made from nylon, some from PVC.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:22 PM   #6
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These look exactly the same. Convince me otherwise...

The ones suggested I try (camco)
https://www.rvautoparts.com/11630-Ca...xoCdckQAvD_BwE


The ones I have now (Atwood).
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0007...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noralee View Post
Ya I bought Atwood plugs so might buy camco ones just in case.

If you use the dope is the plug reusable? Once you remove it to drain the tank would you reapply dope each time?
You can reuse the plug over and over as long as it is not damaged. It is good practice to clean the plug after each use to help keep goop/dirt buildup that occurs on exposed threads from building up over time. The pipe dope can be goo'ey, and as such it dirt etc. sticks to it over time on the exposed threaded connection. Cleaning it off helps not get the dirt stuck in the threads.
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Old 12-19-2019, 05:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noralee View Post
These look exactly the same. Convince me otherwise...

The ones suggested I try (camco)
https://www.rvautoparts.com/11630-Ca...xoCdckQAvD_BwE


The ones I have now (Atwood).
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0007...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

You are correct, from a web picture they look the same. The issue can be up close in the molding process. If the thread taper is not molded correct, it will not bind up in the heater correctly and seal off. And then there is a molding parting line with excess plastic (called flash in the plastic molding world) that can create sealing issue too. This flash is excess plastic hanging out at the parting line when the 2 halves of the mold come together.

The Dometic plug, from my experience has a molding quality issue.

I had a camping buddy also have the same issue and he bought these to replace the Domestic ones. But, he found these the end of the season this year and I have no test info back from him that they solved his drip. These are PVC in place of nylon. Not that the material makes one and better as nylon done right has worked for many years. PVC is generally a harder material and may bind up tighter easier then the softer nylon. PVC can also crack easier. Point is, they are a different manufacturer and consider them an option.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VDCNVC2..._t3_B00C5T7PSO

BTW, Amazon has the Camco ones you linked too if you prefer buying from them. I have not used the Camco ones so I can't comment if they are better. Camco has traditionally done good quality. https://www.amazon.com/Camco-11630-W...omotive&sr=1-2

If you have Prime, amazon might be cheaper out the door cost as the other RV parts place may charge more freight.
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Old 12-26-2019, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noralee View Post
Anyone have tips on how to get my drain plug to stop leaking on my 6gal Atwood water heater?

It's a new plug and I used plumbers tape. Going to try more tape next time but hope there are other ideas, options.

Thank you
Plumber’s dope allow it to dry some. Directions should tell you.
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Old 12-27-2019, 12:56 PM   #10
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I have watched my plumber use both Teflon take and pipe dope on the same fitting. I asked him about it once but I can't remember why he said he did it that way but it might be an option for you.



The previous owner of my trailer replaced the drain plug with what looks like a boiler drain, I am afraid to try to remove it as I don't know what it might have done to the treads. Right or wrong I will admit it makes draining the water heater easy.
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Old 12-27-2019, 06:58 PM   #11
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Water heater plug

My wife Judy and I were very blessed years ago to be in our yard talking when we heard a load bang near our trailer. Took a walk over to it and the water was pouring out the drain as the plug had blown off. I showed it to a mechanic at our truck yard and he gave me a brass one. No problem since. We would often say thank you God we were not gone shopping or some such thing. We could have lost a lot of water.
I am sorry to read people are having such a hard time with these plugs. I would like to believe there is a better plug out there that would save all these leaking troubles. It is nice to just tape it with Teflon tape put it in and carry on. We have a big trip planned now for July. I live in Windsor ON and the family is doing a reunion in Whitehorse Yukon. I am planning a 12 day run each way and be there 7 days. Should be fun to give the Sunline a big work out.
Hope everyone has a super Happy New Year.
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Old 01-05-2020, 01:30 PM   #12
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Forget the plugs. Go get a brass reducer, thread it in with teflon tape, then thread a twist open/closed valve into the adapter with teflon tape. Each time you are finished using the trailer, open the valve to drain the water heater to prevent water from staying in the tank and going bad between trips
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:24 AM   #13
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Is brass and whatever the valve is made from safe for hot potable water?

Anyone have reasons this time saver solution is not a good idea?


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Forget the plugs. Go get a brass reducer, thread it in with teflon tape, then thread a twist open/closed valve into the adapter with teflon tape. Each time you are finished using the trailer, open the valve to drain the water heater to prevent water from staying in the tank and going bad between trips
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noralee View Post
Is brass and whatever the valve is made from safe for hot potable water?

Anyone have reasons this time saver solution is not a good idea?
I'll answer the easier question first, yes putting a drain valve on the water heater is a good idea if you want to go that route. I have done this long ago as I drain the water heater after each campout. In my case, I used a 1/2" nylon fitting in the tank to a hose barb, a pressure and temp rated potable water hose hose and then a brass rated valve on the end. Open the valve and then drain the heater. Come springtime, I do take the hose fitting out to flush the mineral build up out of the tank. That is still a need with or without the valve.

If you can find a valve that will fit under the gas line and the water heater cover still close, you do not need the hose idea like I did. I wanted a large flow drain valve, 1/2" NPT and that setup would not fit under the gas line that I could find. I have seen some folks use a petcock fitting like on a car radiator drain and they did fit under the gas line. Just the flow takes longer to drain.

To the question on are brass fittings and brass valves rated for potable water? This use to be a simple yes, in most cases. However nowadays it is not as simple. If you go into Home Depot or Lowes or most other big box stores, you can find little tags on brass fittings/valves that state, Not for Potable water, and then the Not for sale in the state of CA according to Prop 65.

This stems from a few things in labeling correctly for the state of CA, a bunch of other technicalities not meeting Prop 65 and the biggy, the % amount of lead in the brass making them no longer rated for potable water. But, there are some brands now using brass that are rated for potable water and the tag will declare it as the % lead is low enough to meet the new ratings. But you have to look, and maybe even go to different stores to find them. They do exist, it is just hard to find them at the current time in the big box stores. And naturally they cost a little more. A plumbing supply house should have them if you cannot find them in the Lowes/Home depots or even Ace hardware.

If you do use brass, suggest putting teflon tape on the threads or pipe dope to insulate the aluminum from the brass. That can help with the aluminum galling. Atwood sells bronze safety relief valves to go in their aluminum water heater. They recommend the tape for the same reasons.

Another heads up, be very careful to not cross thread brass when screwing it in. It is hard enough that you can cross thread it and affect the tank threads.
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:38 AM   #15
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I'm thinking that the HWT Safety Release should have released any pressure build-up before the drain plug blew out. Perhaps you ought to check that to be sure it's working. It would take quite a bit of pressure to blow out the drain plug - much more than the system is designed for.
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