Atwood Water heater question.

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LarsMac

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Nov 15, 2015
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1,637
Location
Colorado Plains
So, lesson learned. The petcock, apparently had become clogged from sediment in the tank, and had never drained. (that split was in the top of the tank, BTW)
Putting a petcock in the drain plug proved to be a really bad idea, and relying on it for draining the tank was even a "more bad" idea.
And, No, I did not put that petcock in the tank. It was there when I bought the rig. looking back, I should have realized that was going to end up being a problem. But that is hindsight for you.
The tank actually had a lot of sediment. Probably years of poor maintenance and improper draining from using that petcock, instead of pulling the plug. But if the thing lasts another 20 years, I won't have much to complain about. Hell, by then, I probably won't even remember where I parked it.
 

Great Horned Owl

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Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Posts
1,664
Location
Lake County, Illinois
Shortly after I got my new 5th wheel, I filled the fresh water tank. A few weeks I tried to get some water, and found that the tank was empty. I thought that either there was a leak, or my memory was bad, and I hadn't really filled it.

I filled the tank, and crawled underneath to inspect for a leak. All looked good, so I crawled out. About 3 weeks later, the rank was dry again. I noticed that the drain petcock was open, but nothing was coming out, I unscrewed it, and after drying myself of from my sudden shower, I found that the petcock was completely packed with sawdust.

I wasn't surprised to find sawdust in several cabinets, or even in most of the light fixtures, but I can't imagine how they managed to get all that sawdust into the fresh water tank.

Joel
 

Rene T

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May 20, 2011
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17,930
Location
Farmington NH
Joel was it sawdust or white plastic shavings from when they may have drilled and taped holes in the tank for threaded fittings.
 

mynorac

New member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Posts
2
Location
Montana
So, remember the thread I posted about racing the nasty weather and getting the RV winterized just before the cold front rolled in, back on October?
Well, it seems that I missed a very important step.
When I finally got time to look at de-winterizing, which came after I got the new Gravel/rock pad set up, I started with a gallon of water with half a cup of Bleach in the tank, turned the pump on, and began flushing the pipes of antifreeze.
All was going very well, until I decided to open up the water heater. I flipped the by-pass, and water started flowing into the heater tank. ... and then began flowing right back out, again, on to the floor underneath.
After mopping up the water, and trying to get a look at where it was coming from, it seems that the problem was that I failed to open the drain, so a small amount of water at the bottom, probably in the drain are froze, and split the weld.
Well, fine. Lesson learned. Don't forget that drain valve, ever again.

So, I get to buy a new water heater.

There seems to be a couple of options. Replace the whole unit. But WAIT, the Atwood WH that is original equipment is discontinued. I can find a couple of them online, for the wonderful bargain of just a few bucks shy of $1000.
I can find a tank for around 200-300 bucks. That looks like an adventure.
Or, a new Dometic equivalent replacement can be had for a tad under 500.

So the question? Has anyone here actually replaced a tank on a water heater? Preferably the same model? ID this actually a logical notion, or should I just by the Dometic Equivalent model, and slap it in? I've done those "Just by the parts and rebuild the thing, and save a bunch of money." things before. They usually end up costing a lit more time than the money I saved was worth.
Am I just over thinking this?
LarsMac,

I had the exact same thing happen to me on my Atwood but the drain valve was open! I live in Montana and it gets pretty cold so I try to be careful when winterizing my MH. I can't explain what happened but when I pulled the Atwood out it was damaged just as yours was. I bought my MH in 2016 but it was built in 2005. However, the name plate on the Atwood heater reported that the heater was manufactured in 2016 so the original heater had just been replaced by the dealer prior to my purchase. A few questions started to roll around in my head but no answers.

What I don't understand is that the drain valves on the broken heater and the new heater are several inches above the bottom of the tanks. So there is no way that all the fresh water can be drained during the winterization process. I know that others have said that this OK and I hope they are correct because it would be very difficult to get a syphon hose in to the tank every time you needed to winterize.

I will read more on this thread and see if this has happened to others and what they did. I know that I could simply add anti-freeze into the tank but there are warnings in my manual about possible damage to the anode. However my manual covers many models of "Whale" water heaters. Does anybody out there know if a Whale Model F600 has an anode that needs to be removed if I add anti-freeze to the tank??

Thank You
Mynorac
 

CharlesinGA

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Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Posts
394
Location
50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
If you haven't ditched the old water heater, save it or give it to someone who wants to fix it. The tank is easily weldable and the circuit board and other stuff would still be good. With the old style water heaters become scarce, people can use them, rather than buying an expensive one that don't fit. Makes me want to go into business stamping out a mounting pan that slides over the back of the new one and a new wider door and fills the space and LOOKS GOOD rather than the ugly adapter plates and all the sealer you have to do to make a new one fit. The only advantage to the new heaters is that they have moved the electric element to the outside so replacement is easy.

Charles
 

mynorac

New member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Posts
2
Location
Montana
If you haven't ditched the old water heater, save it or give it to someone who wants to fix it. The tank is easily weldable and the circuit board and other stuff would still be good. With the old style water heaters become scarce, people can use them, rather than buying an expensive one that don't fit. Makes me want to go into business stamping out a mounting pan that slides over the back of the new one and a new wider door and fills the space and LOOKS GOOD rather than the ugly adapter plates and all the sealer you have to do to make a new one fit. The only advantage to the new heaters is that they have moved the electric element to the outside so replacement is easy.

Charles
Charles:
Sorry but I threw it away. This heater did not have and circuit boards and the split was pretty massive but I'm sure someone that had the right welding skills could have fixed it. I do have a little welder but it was beyond my skills.

Neil (mynorac)
 

Tiercel

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Joined
Jul 20, 2021
Posts
154
Location
Pennsylvania
I just got a 6 gal replacement tank and HOPE to install it tomorrow along with a Hott Rod. I had the same nightmare of turning the water on and flooding the carpet. Here is a great step-by-step video on the process. Hopefully, it is idiot-proof enough that I can work through it.
 

Pgh_AL

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Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Posts
124
Location
Pittsburgh
That's probably what happened to my tank . I got my MH about a month ago and when i tried to fill tank i bout flooded the bathroom. Water was coming from everywhere .

Well i decided to replace just the tank . So im about to under take that task . Im figuring it should take a day to complete. That way everything should go back the same way without any modifications. Hopefully
 
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