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Author Topic: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.  (Read 1215 times)

Foto-n-T

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Currently I'm based down in Lake Havasu City for the winter where the water isn't fit for human consumption. Total dissolved solids coming out of the faucet down here range from 700 to 900 parts per million. I do have a water softener resin tank which I rent from Rayne Soft Water but the water still plays havoc with my water heater over time requiring at least a yearly clean out and here is where my cautionary tale begins...

For several weeks i was noticing a less than pleasant smell in my hot water, especially when I turned on the shower. This is a good indication that it's time to flush out my hot water heater with vinegar and use the clean out wand to get as much of the crud cleaned out as possible. As is my practice I cooled off the water heater then pulled the plug to drain it. Since I'm one of those people who refuses to open the over pressure valve to release the vacuum while draining the tank for fear of boogering up the valve I've developed a little trick to get the water heater to drain efficiently. In the past I've used the flush wand for the water heater disconnected from the hose. I just insert it into the water heater drain and it allows air to pass through the flush wand and release the vacuum. This time for some reason known only to people who should wear a helmet every time they go outdoors I decided to use one of those bendy drinking straws. As it turns out the bendy drinking straws works even better. That is until I decided to take my eyes off of it for five seconds to reach for my coffee cup sitting on the steps. When I turned back I was horrified to see that the vacuum inside the water heater had actually sucked the drinking straw right into the tank!!

I can't print here most of the thoughts that were going through my mind when I saw what had happened and after mentally flogging myself for my own stupidity I began to imagine what was going to happen to that straw should it remain in its new environment forever. Things like melting onto the electric heating element (unlikely by the way) to finding its way to the hot water outlet and plugging up the check valve (more likely) and causing me to execute a surgery on my plumbing that I'd rather avoid.

After resigning myself to whatever fate awaited me and my bendy drinking straw as well as concluding that I really should start wearing a helmet when outdoors I proceeded with flushing out the tank. Each cycle of flushing yielded the expected flotsam that one would expect with continually heating water of extremely poor quality yet alas no bendy drinking straw appeared with the grayish chunks exiting the drain. Finally as the crud leaving the tank was diminishing I had given up all hope of ever seeing that stupid bendy straw again I stuck the wand back in and gave the tank one good final rinse. This time to my total surprise and amazement when I pulled the flush wand back out what should poke its head out of the drain but that evil bendy straw which had elevated my anxiety and blood pressure beyond its reasonable limits for the last thirty minutes!!

Yes ladies and gentlemen there is someone up there looking out for us occasionally when we do stupid things. I'm still not totally convinced that it's okay for me to wander about in public without my helmet and I'm quite sure that my beautiful wife up in Heaven is shaking her head and smiling down upon me but I will NEVER use a bendy straw while draining the water heater again.

Please take this little tale for what it is, nothing more than a humorous tale of an old RV'r who learns things the hard way once in a while. Have a great day,..

Joe H.
Joe

2008 Victory Lane
1998 Freightliner FL50
Cody, WY when it's not covered in ice.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 10:46:34 AM »
Uh, why not just open one of the hot water faucets when draining the tank?  No suction at all...
Gary
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Foto-n-T

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 11:09:01 AM »
If the back flow valve on the hot water outlet works (mine does) that won't work.
Joe

2008 Victory Lane
1998 Freightliner FL50
Cody, WY when it's not covered in ice.

Frank B

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 04:16:53 PM »
If opening the pressure release valve manually would 'booger it up', is not the valve already defective?
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Debra17

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 04:30:14 PM »
Joe, your story was hilarious 😆. Thanks for giving me a good laugh
Debra
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John From Detroit

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 05:31:20 PM »
You will not bugger the TPR valve if you open it, and if you do I have a spare :)
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Rene T

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 05:56:51 PM »
If the back flow valve on the hot water outlet works (mine does) that won't work.

Opening a cold water faucet should accomplish the same thing as what Gary said. 
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 09:05:46 PM by Rene T »
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grashley

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 07:24:21 PM »
I LOVE the story!  One little bone to pick:  I hope HE is watching over me ALL the time, not occasionally!  Yes, He does answer calls for help (prayers).
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Lou Schneider

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2018, 09:54:50 PM »
You will not bugger the TPR valve if you open it

I wouldn't be too sure of that with 700-900 PPM dissolved solids in tbe water.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 10:07:42 PM by Lou Schneider »

Foto-n-T

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2018, 10:59:57 AM »
Exactly, better safe than sorry. The concrete beside the rig looked like a sleet storm had passed right by there with all the scale I flushed out of the tank when I was done. By the way, I did a vinegar soak and flush on it last winter on the way down to Arizona so the water heater had only about five months of use in between cleanings. I joke that if you drink the water in Havasu you won't be able to pass through an airport metal detector for about six months. I installed a reverse osmosis system in the rig about five years ago simply because I was tired of buying bottled water. I'm pretty sure that the cost is about the same but I like the convenience.

Although I wrote the post simply as an attempt at humor and to maybe save the one other person stupid enough to try what I did I have taken something away from the comments. I've tried opening both hot and cold faucets to facilitate draining and neither made any difference. The hot because of the check valve but the cold I think doesn't work because there's just not enough vacuum to evacuate the plumbing. The next time I do this I think I'll try opening the cold low point drain as well as the faucets and see what happens.
Joe

2008 Victory Lane
1998 Freightliner FL50
Cody, WY when it's not covered in ice.

Frank B

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2018, 11:06:13 AM »
We have hard water where we live, but nowhere near the amount of dissolved minerals that you are facing. Our hot water tank has a sacrificial anode in it, so I've never thought of the need to flush the tank. However, your experience makes me think that that probably wouldn't be a bad idea. We do our water distiller at home with vinegar on a regular basis to keep it clean. I should try the same thing with the hot water tank.


I'll make sure not to use a bendy straw. :-)
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RGP

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2018, 11:11:12 AM »
The straw is just one more dissolved or in this case, undissolved, solid in the tank.

RVs remind us, we are mere mortals.  :)

Good Luck 

Foto-n-T

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2018, 11:30:35 AM »
Unfortunately your anode rod has no effect on dissolved solids.

What I do is pump ten gallons of vinegar into the tank via my winterization plumbing. I then fire up the water heater and let it sit at running temperature for at least 18 hours. I then drain and flush vigorously until the crud diminishes and that's it. Should the crud build up to a level where it actually touches your electric element it can cause it to fail. Although it's unlikely that you'd collect that much.

When refilling the tank you might want to pull the aerators out of your faucets because you will be sending solids down the lines no matter how well you get the tank flushed.
Joe

2008 Victory Lane
1998 Freightliner FL50
Cody, WY when it's not covered in ice.

BigLarry

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2018, 04:48:33 PM »
I drain our Hot water heater at least once a year and am amazed at the volume of solids that I can flush out with the wand.  The anode rod is almost gone every time.  I've always been curious as to how much of the solids came from the anode rod and how much was due to the hard water we sometimes encounter.
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John From Detroit

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2018, 05:28:53 PM »
When my water heater tank failed last summer I was amazed at the amunt of "Crud" the new tank has a easy drain valve.> i'll be using it  do not yet know how easy it will be to flush but.. Wel we have ways to do that too.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

grooving grandpa

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2018, 06:06:58 PM »
Hi Joe,
So funny, I let my wife read your story and now she thinks you and I must be related. I take a small size helmet.

Lou
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grashley

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2018, 07:26:47 PM »
Hi Joe,
So funny, I let my wife read your story and now she thinks you and I must be related. I take a small size helmet.

Lou
;D  ;D
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
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cadee2c

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2018, 07:50:53 PM »
Thanks for the laughter. :D
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keymastr

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Re: God Looks Out For Little Children And Fools, I Guess I'm The Latter.
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2018, 12:55:21 AM »
I drained my parents heater in their new to them MH last summer and got a half gallon of calcium chips out along with a few pieces of anode. All that came out with the plug was a wire the size of a coat hanger. No anode left at all. They should be replaced when they look like swiss cheese. Once they are half dissolved they are not working. Only cost $7 even at the dealers expensive parts dept.