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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Water left in Suburban water heater - UPDATE!

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pasusan

Northernmost PA

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Posted: 10/05/20 05:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do you leave water in your Suburban water heater? I did and I paid.

For years I have left the water in my Atwood WH (which is in our trailer) all season. I would drain the FW tank between trips, but left the WH alone.

This summer we haven't done a lot of camping - but we have taken a few day trips with our B - which has the hateful Suburban WH - and I do mean hateful. We went camping last week and the hot water coming out of the tap was brown - very brown. My dish rag went from white to brown and my Corian sink got stained. [emoticon] Drained the WH when we got home and actual flakes of rust came out. Yuck.

If I could replace that dirty thing with an Atwood, I would - but it won't fit.

So - what do you do when you've got one of these hateful tanks? Drain the WH after each trip? Do you put the Anode rod back in right away to keep oxygen out, or leave the hole open to air dry the tank till next trip?


***Edit - added an update to the end of the thread.

* This post was edited 10/16/20 04:28pm by pasusan *


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wildtoad

Blythewood, SC

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Posted: 10/05/20 05:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My manual says to drain the tank when not in use. I don’t do that every time so when I do white specs of stuff comes out. Once the thing is drained I flush it out then reinstall the anode rod. That hole may be inviting for critters you don’t want in your water.


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cpaulsen

Oregon

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Posted: 10/05/20 06:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I drain and flush mine all the time and replace the anode rod twice a year. Does not take a lot of time to make sure the water is good. Have had a Suburban water heater in all the rigs I have had and never had a problem with any of them. Maintenance is so easy to do and no excuse not to do the keep it clean.


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jrs1871

Kansas

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Posted: 10/05/20 07:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We drain ours after every trip. Instead of putting the anode rod back in, we put a cloth that has been liberally coated with Vaseline in the hole. This keeps critters out and keeps the threads from rusting.

midnightsadie

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Posted: 10/05/20 07:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ohio , our rv is now 12years old I always drain the system, each time we come home. 12years no problem. I put a valve on my water heater to make it easy.

schlep1967

Harrisburg, PA

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Posted: 10/05/20 07:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The only thing I can think of that would turn your water brown over time would be rust. And if it rusted once it will continue to rust. You need to find out if you have a steel fitting going into your water heater and get rid of it. If not that I would try contacting suburban with your information/serial number for your water heater and ask them what might be causing the problem. They may have had a run of bad stainless or wrong welding rods used when putting together the burner tube.


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BB_TX

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Posted: 10/05/20 08:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Brown water indicates rust, and that means a rusty tank. And usually because the anode rod wasn't doing it job of protecting the tank. How old is this water heater?

Don't understand the "hateful Suburban" bit. I have a Suburban in our 2007 5er and never any brown water. I have often left water in it between trips, sometimes as long as a couple months. But I do monitor the anode rod and change it yearly. Full timers keep water in them year round.

Powertour

Nevada

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Posted: 10/05/20 09:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I drain mine after each trip & we average about 1 weekend a month using the RV.

I have left the anode out between trips but now I put it back in after draining the tank as rust/sediment deposits made the threads a bit tricky to engage.


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Old-Biscuit

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Posted: 10/05/20 09:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2004 RV and 16+ yr old Suburban water heater that is RUSTING

IF...IF it is a 10 gal you CAN replace with a 10 gal ATWOOD

Conversion Kit


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ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 10/05/20 10:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You might can replace just the tank.
My first one had an anode rod, so I assume it was a steel tank. I never had issues. It is not raw steel, but going to be treated to not rust I would imagine.
I only drained it for winter, otherwise I left it full.
I think the anode only needs to be replaced when it is too dissolved. As long as it is intact then it should work, putting a new one won't do anything different as the rod is the same material all the way through. It would be like tossing your candy bar half way through and getting a new candy bar. Its the same chocolate.

Sometimes even stainless steel or galvanized steel will rust. You just got something that had a defect likely. You will not be owed anything, so I woudn't go trying to get a free replacement.

Look for a used tank also, that is super cheap. I have one but doubt you are local.

Rust is not going to hurt you, but you dont want the particles in your water system. Pipes in municipal systems all have rust. If water flows enough then the rust will be so diluted that you never see it. Or sometimes you see it in the toilet or sink bowl as rust stains.

You can't really drain the tank 100% unless you tip is sideways, so there will always be water in the bottom of the tank, which means the tank will be a very high humidity environment, so even the parts not under water will still be rusting. Just leave it full until u winterize it.

By leaving it full the anode can perform its function.

Eventually the tank will leak just like house tanks do. Generally your situation is rare, tanks just don't rust that often. Best to get it replaced sooner than later. You will want an aluminum tank this time...

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