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rutherford.ms

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Joined
Aug 19, 2006
Posts
64
Location
Montpelier or Surf City - it just depends!
??? Okay, so I'm running around getting everything ready for winter and added to the list is the RV this year. Just as a note it's a '90 Pace Arrow. I am thinking that one of the things I want to do is dump out the water tank to prevent freezing along with the hot water heater although I do keep shore power plugged up, so maybe I don't need too? Now, the problem that has me a bit disturbed is that I only see two drain lines and valves. One that is marked "Water Bypass" and the other "Hot water tank". The water tank itself is about 30% full, but when I opened ( and just for a few seconds ) the bypass valve thinking that it would drain the water tank, this mess that looked more like something regurgitated came out. Disgusting! The hot water valve did drain hot water so I know that one is right. So the questions are, what is this bypass valve, why would it contain this nasty mess and where do I find the actual drain valve for the water tank? I would have thought directly near or under it. Thanks much, the adventure continues.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,969
Location
At my Silver Springs FL home
What make and model is your water heater ? Perhaps we can be more specific...

The water heater drain is usually right on the side of the tank itself. The basic technique is to unscrew a plug (not a valve) and open a hot spigot in the coach to let the water drain. Flushing the tank with a hose to remove mineral residue is also a good idea.

The water heater bypass valve is to let you pump antifreeze into the plumbing system without having to fill the tank with antifreeze. It normally just "bypasses" the line that lets water into the tank. I haven't seen one that could be opened to let water actually run out of the lines or tank, but I am never suprised to see/hear of a different design in an RV system.  If you got crud out when this valve was opened, it was probably that mineral residue I mentioned above. Hard water tends to deposit mineal salts in the tank wen water is heated and it helps to be flushed out from time to time.
 

rutherford.ms

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2006
Posts
64
Location
Montpelier or Surf City - it just depends!
Not sure on the make of the hot water heater, I will have to check. These valves are located in the outside compartment with a mini-sink, the water pump and are next to the filler opening for the fresh water tank. When I said that the mess coming out looked nasty, I meant it looked like regurgitated food particles, it's not just crud coming from a tank. I just can't figure out why something like that would be in the piping. Since buying this unit, we have only had it sitting in the driveway and have not used any of the facilities, water supply or anything else related to water use. Looking underneath the RV in the area of the fresh water tank, there are only two drain pipes, one is the one for the hot water tank, the other is connected to this bypass valve. I have looked through the manuals that came with the RV, but don't see any reference to this bypass valve.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,969
Location
At my Silver Springs FL home
It's not unusual for the mineral salts to be thick granules or even lumpy. Usually they are in the bottom of the tank, though.  Clearly you need to flush both the tank and the water lines and sanitize them  with a household bleach solution as well.

Odds are your heater is an Atwood - most Fleetwood (Pace Arrow) coaches have them. Could be a Suburban, though.  But the wate rlines to/from the heater and associated valving is strictly from Fleetwood/Pace, not the heater manufacturer. The heater itself will almost surely have the drain plug I described, right on the front behind the heater cover door on the outside of the coach. You want to open that up and drain, then stick a hose up to the opening and flush the innards as much as possible.

It sounds as though your low point drains are tied in with the heater bypass valve, which has te "bypass" function I mentioned above. There should be a low point drain in the hot line and the cold, for draining the lines in winter.
 
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