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Open Roads Forum  >  Full-time RVing

 > Suburban water heater-propane or electric

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Patrick45

Gulf coast of Texas

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Posted: 02/18/12 05:03am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am having a problem with a leaking hot water heater and that is forcing me to ask some questions about how I use it. The leak is coming from under the tank (or at least out of sight).

We have a Suburban propane and electric water heater which we have used almost exclusively in the electric mode. Even when we pull the trailer back and forth from New England we use mostly electricity. Now I am wondering if that was/is the right thing to do.

Since many of you FULL TIME I thought that you might have the best reading about when/why you use propane or electricity.

I use the RV about 4 months each year and the heater works great other than the leak.

* This post was edited 02/21/12 10:40am by Patrick45 *

thecampingman

Wilmington, OH, USA

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Posted: 02/18/12 05:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's probably the pressure release valve. It sits out from the tank so the drip goes right down to the bottom of the compartment without leaving a wet trail.
If you let it go long enough like I have you'll see the mineral build up around the lip of the valve where it's been leaking.
I'm going to thread a plastic fitting into the valve & attach a little hose to it and route it outside the compartment. Even a brand new valve may weep a little.

To check for a leaking pop off valve, stuff the end of a sheet of paper towel into the valve. If the whole sheet's wet the next time you check it, you've found your leak.


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Patrick45

Gulf coast of Texas

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Posted: 02/18/12 05:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There is no water dripping from the pressure release valve. The water is dripping through the belly and running out in the basement.

thecampingman

Wilmington, OH, USA

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Posted: 02/18/12 06:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Patrick45 wrote:

There is no water dripping from the pressure release valve. The water is dripping through the belly and running out in the basement.


Oooh! I did once have a fitting leak on the hot water heater. Can you access the plumbing on the tank? Wrap toilet paper around the fittings to check for leaks.
Wheather you use gas or electric wouldn't affect the tank leaking.

Those are pretty tough tanks and won't usually just spring a leak. It's normally the things attached to them that leak. Unless it's been frozen up and busted. Then the leak is usually a lot more obvious.

Once I replaced the water heater on an old camper I had. Once I got the old water heater out I discovered there wasn't anything wrong with the tank it's self. But it had old controls, annode rod etc. so I changed it out anyway. (Plus by that time the new one was sitting there on the ground.)

Wills250psd

walnutcove NC

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Posted: 02/18/12 06:27am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It has nothing to do with ac/elec you need to find the leak and fix/replace whatever is leaking.good luck will

Jim-Linda

Livingston, TX

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Posted: 02/18/12 07:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A good place to start is at the rear of the tank. The cold inlet (bottom) and hot (upper) water lines have a plastic nipple that screws into the tank. Check both for leaks. I have seen a small crack develop in the nipple that is sometimes hard to see. The paper towel under the filling(s) is a good idea.

Jim

VintageRacer

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Posted: 02/18/12 08:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are only four places for a leak, aside from the catastrophic. The anode fitting, the relief valve fitting, the cold water input fitting and the hot water output fitting. If they check out good (the paper towel trick is great) then maybe a seam has sprung on the tank itself, or there is a pinhole from corrosion.

Final thought - just because there is water leaking near/under the hot water heater doesn't mean there isn't a leak somewhere else and the water is just migrating to that location.

Brian


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TennesseeBob

NW Tennessee

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Posted: 02/18/12 10:05am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check the cone washer inside the connections,That's where mine was leaking


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Gemstone

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Posted: 02/18/12 10:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"There are only four places for a leak, aside from the catastrophic"...
There are 5, a rust hole.
Mine developed a pin hole inside the fire chamber after 4 years, had to replace the entire unit...not cheap.

Regards
Gemstone


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Patrick45

Gulf coast of Texas

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Posted: 02/18/12 11:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TennesseeBob wrote:

Check the cone washer inside the connections,That's where mine was leaking


I replaced both "cone washers" so will have to have a pro check it out..

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