How to Drain an RV Water Heater (Quick Step-by-Step Guide)
Draining your RV water heater will come in handy whether you’re winterizing your RV, diagnosing a problem, or just storing your RV for an extended amount of time. Draining your water heater (and water system, in general) on a regular basis is essential to keep the water from becoming stale and perhaps freezing in the winter, therefore increasing the life of the heater. As a result, we’ve put together a fast step-by-step instruction on how to drain the water heater in your RV. Plus, some crucial pointers to keep in mind to avoid causing damage to your heater in the process!
Do You Have to Drain an RV Water Heater?
At the conclusion of each season and if your RV water heater is going to be stored for more than two weeks, it’s critical to drain the tank. If you leave the water out for any longer than that, it may become stale and/or polluted, which will give off a sulfur smell and may even be harmful if swallowed. An examination of the Dometic WH-6GEA RV Water Heater’s owner’s handbook reveals that it should be drained in the following ways:
- At regular intervals (at least once a year)
- On a regular basis Ideally, you should do this before storing your RV for the winter or whenever there is a chance of freezing.
Once or twice a year (at least once throughout the course of the year); The RV should be thoroughly cleaned before storing it for the winter or whenever there is a chance of freezing.
How to Drain an RV Water Heater Step-by-Step
We spoke about how important it is to drain your RV water heater, and actually the entire water system, in order to avoid problems with stale and tainted water. Associated: How to Drain the Fresh Water Tank of an RV But, before we can achieve that, we must first complete the following three tasks:
- Make sure you turn off the propane gas feed to your hot water heater. Check to see that the power has been switched off on your RV water heater if it has an electric mode before draining the water from the tank. I prefer to go a step further and switch off the breaker for the water heater as well as the power to the house. If an electric water heater is turned on when there is no water in the tank, the electric heating element will be quickly depleted. Shut off the water supply to the RV, including the water pump, and alleviate the water pressure in the system by opening both the cold and hot water faucets. Allowing the water in the water heater tank to cool before emptying it is recommended.
Once these have been completed, we may begin emptying the water heater system. IMPORTANT: For detailed instructions on how to empty your tank, always consult your water heater’s owner’s handbook.
Step 1: Remove the Drain Plug
Your water heater, which is normally located in an exterior compartment of your RV, should be identified. The drain plug for the water heater should be located in the bottom left-hand corner. Remove the plug from your water heater in a manner appropriate for the model you have. Using a Dometic (Atwood) RV Water Heater to Drain It Dometic RV water heaters (formerly known as Atwood water heaters) are commonly equipped with a 1/2′′ nylon drain plug that can be removed with a screwdriver. If the plug is removed with care, it is quite easy to round or break the corners.
Draining the water heater of a Suburban recreational vehicle When it comes to draining a suburban water heater, the anode rod must be removed, which is commonly accomplished with a 1-1/16th inch socket.
When you drain your tank, check to see that the heater anode rod is in good working order.
Step 2: Open Pressure Relief Valve
Once the plug has been removed and the water has begun to drain, you may release the pressure relief valve, which is situated on the top of the unit, to assist with the draining process. When the water stops pouring out of the drain hole, you have virtually drained your water tank of all its contents.
Keep in mind that the drain plug in a tank is higher than the bottom of the tank, which might result in minerals and silt gathering and blocking the drain stop over time. As a result, we recommend that you clean your water heater tank at least once or twice a year.
Step 3: Flush the Water Heater (Optional)
Connect a water hose to the tank rinser of an RV water heater and turn on the water supply. The tool should be inserted into the water heater drain and its valve should be opened in order to flush any dirt from the tank’s bottom. Continue flushing for several minutes, or until the water coming out is clean and clear, depending on how much time you have. If you’re in the process of winterizing your rig, be sure to read our article on how to winterize a camper for more information.
Your RV water heater should be drained at the end of every season, whenever it’s going to be stored for more than two weeks, or if there’s a chance it’ll freeze.
Does the Low Point Drain Empty the Water Heater?
It all relies on how your recreational vehicle’s plumbing system is constructed. Some water heater manufacturers and types enable you to empty the water heater through a low-point drain, while others do not. The easiest approach to determine whether or not the low point will deplete your water heater is to put it to the test. Just keep in mind that you’ll still need to remove the drain valve or plug if you wish to winterize your system, flush your hot water heater, and/or inspect your anode rod (if necessary) while doing so.
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How to Drain an RV Water Heater
Rv,rving image courtesy ofFotolia.com photographer Greg Pickens. There are a variety of reasons why you might want to empty your RV water heater. This is normal maintenance that should be carried out at least once a year, if not more frequently. Winterizing the RV, troubleshooting, and removing the RV from a winterized state are some of the other reasons for stopping. It is a straightforward activity that does not require much time to do. After you have completely drained the water heater, you may want to try flushing it before refilling it with fresh water.
Image courtesy ofFotolia.com and Greg Pickens. Rv,rving Draining an RV water heater can be done for a variety of reasons. At the very least once a year, you should undertake this type of maintenance as part of your normal routine. Winterizing the RV, troubleshooting, and removing the RV from a winterized condition are all other possible causes for stopping. It is a straightforward activity that takes little time to do. It is possible that once you have emptied the water heater, you will want to flush it before refilling it.
Fill the RV with hot water and let it run until it becomes chilly.
A safe and usable temperature for the water within the water heater must be maintained at all times. To access the water heater, go to the outside of the RV and remove the panel that covers it.
Open the pressure valve on the water heater’s top, which is located on the back of the unit. To remove the drain plug from the bottom of the water heater, use an adjustable wrench to loosen it. Typically, this plug is made of plastic. When it comes to Suburban brand water heaters, the plug is made of anodized rod as well. Remove the drain stopper or rod from the drain. The water supply will begin to run out. Wait until the hot water heater is completely depleted of its supply of hot water. When the tank is completely empty, remove the plug and replace it with a new anodized rod.
Using a garden hose, thoroughly rinse the area to remove any debris that may have escaped from the RV water heater.
- RV Repair and Maintenance Manual, Fourth Edition
- ” “Trailer Life’s RV Repair and Maintenance Manual, Fourth Edition
- ” How to flush an RV hot water heater, written by Bob Livingston in 2002.
- It is recommended that you turn on your city water and flush your water heater for several minutes before replacing the drain plug. This will help to extend the life of your water heater by cleaning away more dirt and scale.
It is recommended that you turn on your city water and cleanse your water heater for several minutes before reinstalling the drain plug. This will help to extend the life of your water heater by cleaning away more debris and scale;
- 1 garden hose
- 1 new anodized rod (for Suburban hit water heaters)
- 1 city water supply connection
- 1 adjustable wrench
- 1 garden hose
- 1 new anodized rod
- The water in the water heater is under pressure and may be quite hot at the time of use. Draining the RV water heater should be done with caution and after the water has cooled to a safe temperature.
Bio of the AuthorLynda Altman began writing professionally in 2001, focusing in genealogy, homeschooling, gardening, animals, and crafts. She has won several awards for her work. In addition to “Family Chronicle Magazine,” her writing has also appeared in the “Chihuahua Magazine.” The B.A. in marketing from Mercy College, as well as a black belt in taekwondo, master gardener certification, a certificate in graphic arts, and a diploma in genealogy, are all among Altman’s accomplishments.
What everyone should know about their recreational vehicle’s water heater! Especially for first-time RVers! Maintaining your safety on the road while keeping your water running clean and fresh is essential. Since we’ve been in business for a long time, water heaters have been one of the most common items we’ve had to repair every year in the spring. (They are read one by one) If you don’t want to be one of the rookies who makes the major yet easy error of changing your water heater and ends up spending hundreds of dollars on a new one, you’ll want to read the remainder of this article.
- In order to park RVs next to rivers, the rivers must not be running into the RVs themselves.
- Unless you plan on letting the RV sit for more than two weeks before your next vacation, I would recommend emptying it every time you are through camping.
- If you let the water to stay in the hot water heater tank or the fresh water tank for an extended period of time, it will begin to smell awfully!
- It’s a scent that everyone who has ever visited a hot spring is familiar with!
- This is a tragic, but real, tale of something that occurred to one of our clients.
- He utilized his trailer for some enjoyable camping trips during the summer, but not us.
- He made the decision to connect up his recreational vehicle and prepare it for camping this spring.
He brought it to us so that we could look at it for him before he took it home.
Even his water pipes were leaking, according to him.
The downside is that it all came at a cost, and after spending more than $8,000.00 to have it all leak free, he will now always remember to drain and winterize his recreational vehicle.
Check out the following website for a list of some area dealers: In order to spare yourself some serious troubles and money, make it a practice to drain your tanks on a regular basis.
I’m going to teach you how to empty your water heater in a video at the very bottom of this blog post.
Additionally, as previously said, you will want to empty the fresh water tank as well as the water pipes.
Sometimes they are controlled by a simple valve system that you can operate.
Occasionally, if you’re lucky, you’ll come across a sign on the outside of the building that reads “low point drains,” as you can see in the photo below.
You can get an idea of what you are searching for by taking a look at the photographs below: Keep in mind that not all recreational vehicles are the similar, and the values to open may be located higher up in a compartment or even inside beneath certain cupboards.
Please watch the video below to learn how to empty your water heater and avoid having to replace it in the future.
I hope you found this information useful. If you have any more queries, please do not hesitate to contact us using our website’s contact page. I’ve included a link to it below: Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you have a good day! Onward and upward with the camp.
How to Winterize Your Camper or RV
Every RV owner should be familiar with their water heater! For new RVers in particular! Maintaining your safety on the road as well as keeping your water running clean and fresh is essential knowledge. The water heaters that we service every year during the spring season are one of the most common issues that we encounter in our many years in business. (They are read one by one.) The remainder of this article is essential reading if you don’t want to be one of the rookies who makes the major yet easy error of changing a water heater and ends up spending hundreds of dollars on a new one.
- In order to park RVs next to rivers, the rivers must not be running into the RVs.
- Unless you plan on letting the RV sit for more than two weeks until your next vacation, I would recommend emptying it every time you are through with it.
- You will notice a strong odor if you leave water sitting in the hot water heater tank or the fresh water tank for an extended period of time.
- It’s a scent that anybody who has ever visited a hot spring would recognize.
- This is a tragic, but real, tale of something that happened to one of our clients.
- The trailer was utilized by him for various enjoyable camping excursions during the summer.
- It was this spring that he made the decision to hook up his recreational vehicle and prepare it for camping.
We accepted his gift in order to inspect it for him, and he thanked us for our assistance.
It was even spilling from his water lines.
The downside is that it all came at a cost, and after spending more than $8,000.00 to restore everything back to normal, he will now always remember to drain and winterize his recreational vehicle.
Check out the following link for some nearby dealers: In order to spare yourself some serious problems and money, make it a practice to drain your tanks on a consistent basis.
You may see a video demonstration of how to empty your water heater at the bottom of this blog post.
Additionally, as previously said, you will want to empty the fresh water tank as well as the water supply pipes.
Sometimes they are controlled by a simple valve system that you may operate manually.
Occasionally, if you’re lucky, you’ll come across a sign on the outside of the building that states “low point drains,” as shown in the photo below.
You can get an idea of what you are searching for by taking a look at the photographs below.
The majority of the time, they’ll be around your freshwater tank or water pump.
Thanks for reading and please return for more helpful hints.
For any more queries, please do not hesitate to contact us through our website’s contact page. The following is the link: I’d want to thank you again for taking the time to read this and I hope you have a good day. Continuing the camp tradition.
|1.||Disconnect the outside water source.|
|2.||Drain the water system. There should be up to three low-point drains. One for the cold water lines, one for the hot water lines and one for the fresh water tank. Open the petcocks to drain as much water from your pipes as possible. Open the water taps at all the faucets, showers and flush the toilet to drain any remaining water from the system.|
|3.||Drain Water Heater. On the outside of your water heater either remove the drain plug in the lower left had corner or open the drain valve in the same location. By leaving a faucet open on the hot water side, air will equalize pressure and easily drain the tank. You may want to use a bendable straw to put into the drain hole while water is coming out to create a siphon which will drain all the water to the bottom of the rounded tank.|
|4.||By-pass your water heater.|
|By-passing the water heater can save you money by not having to fill the water heater tank with anti-freeze, saving as much as 6 to 10 gallons of anti-freeze. Some RVs come with a by-pass system pre-installed but many do not.|
|Before you start:|
|– Make sure to turn off all power to the water heater (the electric water heaters usually have their own power on-off switch).|
|– Make sure the water heater gas pilot is NOT lit.|
Bypassing the water heater can be accomplished in three different ways:
|A.||Seasonal By-Pass Kit. This temporary by-pass allows you to hook up for winterizing and remove in the spring for reconnecting the system. If your water heater does not have a by-pass kit installed you will need to use a temporary kit that has two male-to-male connections and a short length of hose to bypass the water heater.|
|B.||Permanent By-Pass Kit. This is a simple and permanent installation of an elbow by-pass kit that allows you to quickly disconnect the hater heater by turning two valves at both the cold water entry and the hot water exit of the water heater.|
|C.||Permanent Quick-Turn By-Pass Kit. The easiest system to use is a permanent installation of a single valve and a back-flow preventer. The valve is located on the cold water entry and diverts water to a hose and past the water heater. A back-flow preventer is installed to prevent water from flowing into the water heater through the hot water exit.|
|5.||Blow out the lines. After draining as much water as possible, it is recommended that a blow out plug be attached to the City Water Intake. Apply air pressure from an air compressor (not to exceed 45 PSI) to drain the remaining water. Although blowing out the remaining water is not required, the remaining water will dilute your anti-freeze. Close all faucets and petcocks when complete.|
|6.||Add Anti-Freeze. You can add anti-freeze either from the inside using a Water Pump Conversion Kit or from the outside using a hand pump. Be sure to check your progress by opening up one faucet at a time, starting from the highest and working to the lowest point in the fresh water system. Begin with the kitchen faucet. Open the HOT side of the kitchen faucet ONLY. Pump anti-freeze until flow from the faucet becomes very pink. This will indicate that all water has been flushed from your system. Close the faucet. Repeat on the COLD side. Continue to the next lower fixture. This is normally the bathroom sink, then the shower and finally the toilet. Don’t forget your outside shower if so equipped. Also, open the two low point lines for the HOT and COLD water lines to make sure anti-freeze gets to the valves and that no water is trapped. Finally, close all faucets and the low point valves.** Note: If you use the hand pump from the outside method, remember to manually add antifreeze to your water pump OR if you use the water pump conversion kit method, remember to manually add antifreeze to the water line and the city water intake check valve (this is done by turning off the pump, removing pressure from the system by opening a faucet; then from the outside remove the screen at the city water intake and push in slightly on the check valve to purge any water from the line until pink anti-freeze comes out). **|
|7.||Pour at least 2 pints of anti-freeze into all sink and shower drains. The ice maker, washing machine and external shower will also need to be winterized. Look for this information in your appliance manuals.|
|8.||Drain and dump your gray and black water tanks. Remove battery, charge and store in a safe location.|
|9.||You are done winterizing. There are two options at this point.|
|Option 1. Leave the anti-freeze in the system until spring and then summerize. You should reinsert the water heater drain plug to keep dirt, debris and insects out of the water heater.Option 2. Drain the anti-freeze out of the system by opening the low points in the lines and letting gravity drain the anti-freeze. When the anti-freeze is removed you can prepare your camper for summer use by closing the low points, putting the water heater drain plug back in and removing the water heater by-pass. There will either be nothing but air in your water system or some anti-freeze where it cannot drain from. Either way, your water system will be protected for the winter and your camper will be ready to go in the summer. All you will need to do in the spring is run water into the system and flush the remaining anti-freeze from your water lines. DO NOT ADD WATER UNTIL SPRING WHEN THERE IS NO CHANCE OF FREEZING.|
Keep in mind the following as well:
|–||Remove any food that can spoil or attract mice from your RV.|
|–||Clean storage areas, oven, range, refrigerator and areas around dinette.|
|–||Examine seals around exterior doors and windows. Caulk if necessary.|
|–||Check the roof for small leaks or other damage. Make repairs if necessary.|
|–||Check plumbing vents, roof vents and air conditioner shroud.|
|–||Disconnect your 120 volt line cord and store away.|
|–||Clean and store your sewer hose.|
|–||Replace bumper caps.|
|–||Park with emergency brake on and use wheel chocks.|
|–||Stabilize your RV. Make sure it does not rock when you walk inside it.|
|–||Keep RV out of direct sunlight if possible.|
|–||Now is a good time to wash and wax.|
|–||Clean the awning. Do not use a dish detergent. They contain de-greasers which can cause your awning to dry out andcrack. Use an awning cleaner that will clean, moisturize and remove mildew.|
Also accessible to you is the option of having us winterize your camper on your behalf. You may read our fee schedule and get in touch with us through our Service page, which you can access by clicking here.
How to Drain RV Water Heater?Quick Guide
Having a recreational vehicle (often referred to as an RV) is a wonderful experience. With its assistance, you may go whenever and wherever you want, and this practical house on wheels lets you to go wherever you want – the distance you travel is only limited by your available time. In contrast, many recreational vehicle owners frequently have difficulties when it comes to keeping their recreational vehicles in good condition. They are particularly interested in how it is feasible to maintain the RV’s water heater working correctly and how to clean it without breaking or damaging anything.
You will learn a lot of helpful information about your recreational vehicle (RV) today.
In addition, we will make every effort to explain why this cleaning and draining is necessary in the first place.
How to Drain an RV Water Heater?
The ability to travel in a recreational vehicle (commonly known as an RV) is a wonderful luxury. Because of its assistance, you may go whenever and wherever you want, and this practical house on wheels allows you to go wherever you want – the distance you travel is only limited by your available free time. In contrast, many recreational vehicle owners frequently have difficulties when it comes to keeping their recreational vehicles in good working order. They are particularly curious in how it is feasible to keep the RV’s water heater operating correctly and how to clean it without breaking or damaging anything.
You will discover a lot of helpful information about your recreational vehicle today.
As an added bonus, we will make every effort to explain why this cleaning and draining is necessary.
- To begin, turn off the propane gas supply to the water heater in your RV. If your recreational vehicle is equipped with an electric mode, you must also ensure that the electricity is switched off before proceeding. This step must always be completed before you begin to drain the water heater and the water system. Next, you must turn off the water supply to the trailer
- This may be accomplished by turning off the water valve. It will also require shutting down your water pump’s water supply lines. Additional steps must be taken to reduce the water pressure. You may accomplish this by turning on both the hot and cold water faucets
- After that, simply let the water in your RV water heater tank to cool before draining it.
And only after you have done all of these processes will you be able to proceed with emptying your RV water heater. We will go through the entire procedure in depth below, and we will provide you with step-by-step instructions. You will be certain that you will not make any mistakes if you do this. Credits: welcomia, obtained from Crello.com
Remove the Drain Plug First
This is the first step that you need to complete. First and foremost, you must determine the location of your water heater. Typically, it will be located in an outside compartment of your trailer, unless otherwise specified. The water heater drain plug should be located at the bottom left-hand corner of the water heater. A tool may be required to remove the drain plug from a Dometic RV water heater.
But proceed with caution! Breaking off or rounding the edges is a simple process when removing it. In order to be prepared in case something occurs while you are traveling, we recommend that you always keep a spare drain plug on hand. Images courtesy of Canva.com (undefined undefined).
Open Pressure Relief Valve
- After you have finished removing the plug, you may go on to the next stage in the process. After removing the plug and allowing the water to drain, you can release the pressure relief valve to relieve the pressure. It is usually found at the very top of the device, near the power outlet. As soon as you observe that the water is no longer running out of the drain hole, it is safe to assume that you have completely emptied your RV water tank. However, there is one important consideration to bear in mind when doing this step: the drain stopper is typically positioned higher than the bottom of the tank itself. It results in the accumulation of silt and minerals, which eventually block the system. This is why you should consider cleaning your RV’s water heater tank at least once or twice a year to ensure that it is clear of buildup. Instructions on how to properly clean an RV water heater A related article is How to Correctly Dewinterize a House in Order to Keep All of the Systems Working
Flush the Water Heater
First and foremost, we would like to point you that this step is mostly optional. The following steps must be followed if you wish to incorporate it into your water heater draining operation. Activate the water heater rinser in your RV by connecting it to a water hose and turning on the water. In order to flush out all of the junk from the water tank, you must first put the tool into the water heater drain and then open the valve on the tool to release the debris. Continue flushing for at least a few minutes, or until you notice that the water that is coming out is clear and free of debris.
If you carefully follow the directions provided, you will be able to complete the task by yourself, without the need for assistance, even if this is your first time draining the water system of your recreational vehicle.
How Do I Flush My Suburban RV’s Water Heater?
As you are well aware, flushing the water heater is one of the suggested tasks that should be completed throughout the water heater draining process to ensure proper operation. Although this step is optional and will have no negative consequences if skipped, we nevertheless encourage that you follow through with it. You can extend the life of your water heater by cleaning it often and ensuring that it is clean and clear of dirt or accumulation. This will also help the water heater to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Images courtesy of ronstik, through Canva.com
Drain Your Water Heater First
For those who are unfamiliar with the procedure, flushing the water heater is one of the suggested stages that should be completed as part of the water heater draining process. Although this step is optional and would have no negative consequences if skipped, we nevertheless encourage that you follow through with the procedure. You can extend the life of your water heater by cleaning it often and ensuring that it is clean and clear of dirt or buildup. This will also help your water heater to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Thanks to ronstik and Canva.com for their contributions.
- Examine to see if your water heater bypass is in the “normal” setting. Turn off the city water and the water pump to ensure that the water heater remains empty while you are emptying it
- And Make sure that all of the gas and/or electrical elements in the water heater are turned off. As soon as the water is emptied, it will prevent them from catching fire. After that, remove the water heater’s access cover from the outside. Make sure that the pressure release valve is open. Removing the drain cap with an 11/16″ socket and allowing all of the water to flow out are the next steps.
After you have completed this step, you may continue on to the following step, which is to cleanse your RV water heater to remove any debris and/or buildup that may have accumulated through the years of use. Credits: skhoward, courtesy of Canva.
Flush Your RV Water Heater
To flush your RV water heater, carefully follow the steps outlined below:
- Flushing the tank for a few minutes at a time with a specific water heater rinser and a standard garden hose should be sufficient. Install a plastic drain stopper with a 1 1/18″ socket and a ratchet
- Then, disconnect the inlet hose from the water pump and connect it to the water pump’s inlet using a vinyl hose. Put the vinyl hose in a bottle of vinegar and shake it up. Start the water pump by pressing the button. It should begin sucking in vinegar immediately. This procedure should be repeated for all six gallons of vinegar. Your water heater should be around half filled at this stage. Shut off the water pump and disconnect the hose, reconnecting the water input pipe to the water pump after that. Turn on the municipal water to allow it to fill the remaining space in the water heater tank. As soon as it is full and water begins to flow out of the pressure release valve, shut it off. Turn on the water heater bypass valve once again to prevent vinegar water from entering the remainder of the system. Turn on the heating element and leave it on all night to keep the house warm. It will help to expedite the cleaning procedure. Turn off the city water and heating components the next morning. Make the same adjustment for the water pump. Remove the plastic drain plug from the pressure relief valve and open the pressure relief valve. Using a rinse wand, thoroughly rinse the drain after draining the water and vinegar combination. Pipe tape the end of the new anode rod in place. Turn on the city water and the normal mode on your water heater bypass to restore regular operation. Close the pressure relief valve and turn on all of the faucets when the tank is completely filled and you can see water pouring out of it. Continue to run them until all of the air has been sucked out of the system.
Of course, it may appear that you will be spending a significant amount of time on all of this, but at the absolute least, it will allow you to do the task correctly and avoid causing any harm to the water system of your recreational vehicle. Images courtesy of LPETTET and Canva.com.
Why Do You Have to Drain Your RV Water Heater?
Water heater draining should be done at the conclusion of each season and whenever your RV is going to be stored for more than two weeks, as a general rule. The water will get stale or even tainted if left untreated for an extended period of time. This will not only cause a terrible sulfur smell, but it may also be harmful if ingested as a result. In order to avoid this, we highly advise you to consider servicing your RV water heater on a regular basis and draining it as directed:
- At regular intervals, at least once a year
- On a regular basis
- When preparing to store the RV for the winter or when there is a chance of freezing temperatures
Images courtesy of JupiterImages, which was found on Canva.com.
How to Clean Your RV Water Heater Correctly?
Aside from routine draining and flushing, your RV water heater will also require cleaning on a regular basis. Keep it clean and it will last longer, and it will be more efficient, which means you will save money and time by not having to spend it fixing or replacing it as frequently. Credits: Welcome, courtesy of Canva.com Fortunately, the cleaning procedure is not overly difficult!
- Before you begin, switch off the electricity to your water heater to allow it to cool down. Once the temperature has reached a comfortable level, cut off any water pouring into the RV tanks. Open the water heater access door on the outside of your trailer at this point. As soon as this is completed, raise the lever on the pressure relief valve to release any remaining pressure in the water heater. Clear the burner tube and chamber of any remaining material by blowing it out with an air compressor
- Water heater should be drained and properly cleaned. It is possible to reconnect the plug once the heater has been entirely drained. The final step is to clean your RV water heater with any all-purpose cleanser and an old clean towel.
All of these ideas and advice will assist you in maintaining and keeping your RV water heater clean and properly maintained in a reasonably simple and cost-effective manner, hence extending the life of your water heater.
Frequently Asked Questions
It should be done at the conclusion of every season or if it has been in storage for more than two weeks.
⭐ Does the low point drain empty my rV water heater?
It is dependent on the architecture of the plumbing system in your recreational vehicle (RV). Some water heater types allow you to empty the water heater through a low-point drain, while others do not allow you to do so. The easiest approach to determine whether or not the low point will deplete your water heater is to put it to the test.
Drain the hot water heater?
|09-03-2012, 02:47 PM||1|
|Junior MemberJoin Date: Sep 2012Posts: 5||Drain the hot water heater?
We are new to anything besides a tent and have no idea what we are doing. When we did our walk through, the guy told us that after each use we should drain the water from the hot water heater. He then pointed to this spot and we figured it would be pretty simple from there. After our first trip, we went to drain it and realized the spot where he pointed to was a bolt with thread sealer on it (that looks like it should not be removed). I am wondering if there was something else we were supposed to do, or if it is really necessary to drain it after each trip.Thanks
|09-03-2012, 02:54 PM||2|
|Moderator EmeritusJoin Date: Sep 2008Location: Shenandoah Valley of VirginiaPosts: 9,280||If you choose to drain the water heater, and you have a Suburban, it takes a 1 1/16th inch socket to fit that plug. Release the pressure on the system by opening a faucet. The 1st time removing the drain plug and attached anode rod, it might be hard to do.they screw that puppy on like it should never be removed.Beware, you will probably get wet!Many people (myself included) only empty the water heater once a year when we winterize._Chap, DW Joy, and Fur Baby Sango2017 F350 Lariat CCSB, SRW, 4×4, 6.7 PS2017 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS|
|09-03-2012, 03:20 PM||3|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jun 2011Location: Hattiesburg, MSPosts: 1,658||Let me suggest doing this in the driveway or the yard. That tank holds 6 gallons of water. If you pull the pressure release valve water will drain quicker. Check the anode rod and replace if nessecary. Wrap the threads of the rod with plumbers tape before reinstalling. Make sure you get the threads aligned in the hole properly before screwing in or you may get a cross threaded situation you don’t want!After 1 1/2 years of ownership, I just did this procedure. The anode rod still has at least half a life.Be sure to refill the tank before turning on the heating element!|
|09-03-2012, 03:34 PM||4|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jul 2007Location: Jefferson County, MOPosts: 5,413||I only drain mine at the end of each season. Just be sure to release the pressure in the tank with the pressure relief valve and that the water in the tank is cool or cold before draining._Bob and Joyce2013 CC Silverback 29RL2010 Ford F250 XL Crew Cab 6.4 liter dieselATU Local 788|
|09-03-2012, 03:44 PM||5|
|MemberJoin Date: Jul 2012Posts: 67||I too only drain mine at the end of each season. Inspect the anode rod and replace it if it’s heavily corroded. But before you drain it, be sure to flip the three valves so the hot water heater is isolated from the rest of the water supply.|
|09-03-2012, 04:58 PM||6|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Mar 2012Location: Chatham, ILPosts: 215||We also only do it at the end of the season-and yes you will get wet!|
|09-03-2012, 05:01 PM||7|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Mar 2010Posts: 394||If you don’t drain it you can’t turn the element on with no water in the tank and burn it out – don’t ask me how I know!_|
|09-03-2012, 06:11 PM||8|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jan 2012Location: Keller, TexasPosts: 6,090||Quote:Originally Posted byDon WillsI too only drain mine at the end of each season. Inspect the anode rod and replace it if it’s heavily corroded. But before you drain it, be sure to flip the three valves so the hot water heater is isolated from the rest of the water supply.Am I correct in asumming that you only have to “flip the three valves” if you are going to winterize the unit? Otherwise, what is the point?|
|09-03-2012, 06:14 PM||9|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jan 2012Location: Keller, TexasPosts: 6,090||Quote:Originally Posted bybackin15If you don’t drain it you can’t turn the element on with no water in the tank and burn it out – don’t ask me how I know!OK I won’t ask. But I would be intersted in knowing if you are saying not to turn the electric element on with no water in the tank or something else.|
|09-03-2012, 07:09 PM||10|
|Phat Phrog Stunt CrewJoin Date: May 2012Location: Upper Penisula Michigan / ArizonaPosts: 2,756||If the element doesn’t have water around it (full tank), it will burn up if you put power to it. If you drain at the end of the season, it could freeze like a frozen soda can and destroy it. The plan should be at the end off the season, turn off the breaker to the water heater, drain it, turn the three bypass valves and the pump RV anti-freeze through the rest of the system._EdRuthann / Toby and Tucker 2014 GMC Sierra Crewcab 2500 Duramax2014 Wildcat 327ck|
|09-03-2012, 07:28 PM||11|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jan 2012Location: Keller, TexasPosts: 6,090||Quote:Originally Posted byelindIf the element doesn’t have water around it (full tank), it will burn up if you put power to it. If you drain at the end of the season, it could freeze like a frozen soda can and destroy it. The plan should be at the end off the season, turn off the breaker to the water heater, drain it, turn the three bypass valves and the pump RV anti-freeze through the rest of the system.Understand the need to have water in the tank before switching on the electric.But for some people (myself included) pumping RV anti-freeze though the water system as part of a winterizing program isn’t always necessary weather permitting, of course. And even if you live in a cold climate, you can always install the kit that allows you to blow compressed air though the lines instead of adding anti-freeze.And maybe it does or could happen, but has anyone heard of an empty RV water heater tank freezeing?|
|09-03-2012, 07:34 PM||12|
|Moderator EmeritusJoin Date: Sep 2008Location: Shenandoah Valley of VirginiaPosts: 9,280||Quote:Originally Posted byB47And maybe it does or could happen, but has anyone heard of an empty RV water heater tank freezeing?I have never heard of an empty water heater freezing. What is there to freeze? Even if there we still just a couple of tablespoons of water in there, I don’t see where that would cause damage. That little bit of water would ride up the sides as it freezes, and shouldn’t cause any damage.I even get out the last little bit of water out of the tank by putting a rolled up paper towel in the tank and letting it hang over the side of the camper. The residual water will “wick” down the paper towel from the wettest to the driest, lowest point._Chap, DW Joy, and Fur Baby Sango2017 F350 Lariat CCSB, SRW, 4×4, 6.7 PS2017 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS|
|09-03-2012, 07:37 PM||13|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jul 2011Location: SDPosts: 441||I drain ours every single time out. I’m not even sure why you wouldn’t as it takes little time or effort. Sometimes the available water is less than desirable and it’ll get funky if it gets left in there._2015 Sierra 357TRIP2012 Ram 2500 CCSB 6.7CTD|
|09-03-2012, 07:42 PM||14|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Oct 2011Location: NEPAPosts: 1,471||I’m with Murray. It’s easy to drain, it allows you to frequently inspect your anode rod, it keeps water in the tank from getting funky (if there’s no water in there, it can’t get funky,) and why carry around an extra 50 pounds of water if you don’t have to? Fuel isn’t getting any cheaper. Just release the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank, MAKE SURE the electric element is off, and unscrew that plug. After a few times of practice, you’ll learn where to stand so you don’t get wet.On the flip side, I actually allow my water heater to fill up when I leave the house prior to dry camping-that gives me an extra 6 gallons over the 42 that fits in the fresh tank-so in that case, it’s worth the fuel mileage penalty to have 48 gallons of water on board instead of 42. But I still always drain out before heading home. Good luck!_2015 XLR Hyperlite 30HFS5 (mods being performed regularly)2009 Salem LA 292fkds (gone) Nights- (’12)23 (’13)23 (’14)15 (’15)31 (’16)27 (’17) 20 (�18)21 (�19)232019 Honda CRV (camping support vehicle)2014 Harley Davidson FLHX (XLR cargo)2011 Ram 2500 CC 4X4 CTD, B W Companion (toy hauler hauler)|
|09-03-2012, 07:59 PM||15|
|MemberJoin Date: Feb 2012Location: MichiganPosts: 342||If my trailer is going to sit over 2 weeks before its next use I will drain it.I went to auto zone and bought a ratchet, extender, and socket that fits the drain plug. I leave it in my storage compartment of the trailer. With that in my hand and a roll of teflon tape its a breeze to take on and off._Philip, DW, 3 DD, 1 DS, and Ginger our Dog2017 Wildwood 30QBSS2003 Ford Expedition 5.4 Liter with 3.73 AxleEqualizer 4-Point Sway 12000 Tekonsha P3|
|09-03-2012, 08:09 PM||16|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jul 2011Location: SDPosts: 441||Quote:Originally Posted byTaranwandererOn the flip side, I actually allow my water heater to fill up when I leave the house prior to dry camping-that gives me an extra 6 gallons over the 42 that fits in the fresh tank-so in that case, it’s worth the fuel mileage penalty to have 48 gallons of water on board instead of 42. But I still always drain out before heading home. Good luck!I also fill the lines and the water heater before leaving home so I don’t hold up the water fill area at the campground. Drives me nuts watching some guy that waits until he’s at the campground trying to remember how his water system works._2015 Sierra 357TRIP2012 Ram 2500 CCSB 6.7CTD|
|09-03-2012, 08:30 PM||17|
|Site Team – LouJoin Date: Oct 2009Location: South Eastern PAPosts: 23,205||Might as well cover anode inspection:The anode is a sacrificial piece of metal that is designed to “rust” FIRST so your water tank does not. Only IRON hot water heaters have them (like Suburban). Aluminum boiler hot water heaters (like Atwood) do not.You only need to replace them when there is less than 25% of the material left on the rod. Many do not wait that long and change around 50%.I am going on 4 years now on my original anode. Others go through an anode a year. It all depends on the kind of water you have.
_Lou, Laura,Freya the wonder dog 2008 GMC Sierra 3000HD Crewcab SB Allison Duramax2019 Flagstaff 8529FLS – Pullrite 3300HAM CALLSIGN – KC3FFW
|09-03-2012, 09:17 PM||18|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jan 2012Location: Smyrna, TennesseePosts: 445||Good instructions Lew.I replaced mine just after we bought the trailer used. I thought, boy this thing is all corroded, now I know. I pulled mine last week and drained my hw heater just to clean things out. And yes, you need to bleed the pressure on it.I forgot.good thing I had my shorts and flip flops on. I filled my tank back up and used the gas and ac to check it out.it did take awhile to get all the air out. Now ready to head out on Saturday morning.Oh.I used my adjustable wrench and a screwdriver to turn the wrench.still haven’t bought a socket._2009 Palomino Puma 25RS2007 Chevrolet SilveradoProdigy P2 Brake Controller|
|09-03-2012, 09:29 PM||19|
|Site Team – LouJoin Date: Oct 2009Location: South Eastern PAPosts: 23,205||It is false economy (IMO) to jury rig something to get the anode out. If you round off the ears on the anode bolt you will have a heck of a time getting it out. Spend a few dollars and get a proper wrench.Camco 9883 Element Wrench – Amazon.com_Lou, Laura,Freya the wonder dog 2008 GMC Sierra 3000HD Crewcab SB Allison Duramax2019 Flagstaff 8529FLS – Pullrite 3300HAM CALLSIGN – KC3FFW|
|09-03-2012, 11:17 PM||20|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jul 2012Posts: 1,258||Quote:Originally Posted byherk7769It is false economy (IMO) to jury rig something to get the anode out. If you round off the ears on the anode bolt you will have a heck of a time getting it out. Spend a few dollars and get a proper wrench.X2 on that bit of advice! And we drain our tank after every trip. One time when we didn’t, something in the water reacted with the anode rod and created a white “snot” that grew on the rod, and it stank to high heaven. It took a lot of effort to clean the tank. So for the 15 seconds it takes to remove the rod, and the minute to replace, why wouldn’t you take it out?|
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Draining an RV Water System
When you return from a trip and aren’t planning on using the RV for a while, you should empty the entire water system to avoid it becoming stale and musty in the meanwhile. Draining the water heater is a good place to start. Check to ensure that the water heater’s electric mode is in the “off” position before you begin to empty the water heater tank. In order to prevent the switch from mistakenly turning on when there is no water in the tank, you should turn off the breaker for the water heater before starting the project.
The drain stopper, also known as the petcock, is often found in the lower left-hand corner of the cabinet.
Remove the plug.
The anode rod is intended to aid in the prevention of corrosion and the protection of the steel lining of the tank.
Every time you remove the anode rod to drain the tank, check it for damage and replace it after 3/4 of the rod has been eaten away.
Instead, a nylon drain plug is used.
Reduce the amount of water flowing into the RV, including the water pump, and open a hot and cold faucet to relieve the pressure created by the water pump.
A major harm can happen from attempting to drain a tank that is hot and/or pressurized.
It may take some time to track them down.
This is the lowest point in the water system’s hierarchy of elevations.
Locate the drain for the fresh water holding tank and drain all of the water out of it at this point, if necessary.
Once the water has stopped draining, do not allow the pump to continue to operate.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that this is the proper way to winterize your RV’s drinking water system.
So far, the only thing we’ve managed is to remove the vast bulk of the water from the system.
It is just necessary to sterilize the water distribution system.
To disinfect your fresh water tank, use a quarter cup of household bleach for every fifteen gallons of fresh water it holds.
Fill the fresh water tank with water until it is entirely filled.
Let it rest for about twelve hours after turning off the faucets.
Open all of the faucets and let the water flow until there is no longer any bleach odor left.
Once this is completed, you may begin using your water system without fear of contamination.
A water filter should be used in campgrounds, and bottled water should be kept on hand for drinking purposes as a precaution. Mark Polk wishes you a successful RV learning experience. RV Online Training 101RV Education 101RV Online Training