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Old 12-29-2013, 04:21 PM   #1
Zach Woods
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Default YG Archive: Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Archived from YG:

The hot water heater is a 3 gallon Suburban (very unusual size, as
typically American campers use the 6 gallon Suburban).

The European James Cook Sprinter uses what they call a "boiler" which
is located in the passenger side, upper rear roof area (on photos of
the James Cook Sprinter, you'll see a small little oval shaped door
on the back right of the fiberglass top where the "boiler" is.)

For those who haven't maintained an RV hot water heater, here's what
I did (but follow at your own risk). Instructions are posted in the
Westfalia Owner's Manual and on the stickers on the hot water
heater.

Relief Valve

You're supposed to test the pressure relief valve at least once a
year (it's behind the hot water heater door, upper left corner).
Just lift up on the valve (looks just like a typical house hot water
heater relief valve) and make sure water comes flying out (obviousy
don't do if water is super hot). I read somewhere that apparently
it's okay if it leaks--means it's working (contrary to a household
pressure valve where a leak would be really annoying).

Anode Rod

At a minimum (according to Westfalia manual and anode rod package),
you're supposed to change the anode rod once a year (or more often as
necessary). The anode rod is a sacrificial rod which allows
corrosion of the rod rather than the tank itself. (Interestingly,
some Atwood hot water heaters don't need an anode rod.) It's
probably a good idea to do this, not only to keep warranty in effect
but also to make sure anode rod does not become corroded to tank
permanently (my anode rod was only partially corroded but it was a
pain to unscrew even after several applications of WD-40). Luckily,
the Westfalia 3 gallon Suburban hot water heater uses the standard
size 9' long anode rod.

Replacing Anode Rod

Materials:

1 The replacement anode rod is a standard 9" long or so, 3/4"
thread, anode rod (from Suburban or other RV supplier, like Camco;
can get at CampingWorld for about $9-10).
2. Plumber's tape (white tape stuff)
3. Liquid wrench or WD-40

Tools:

1. 1-1/16" socket size (typically sized for a 1/2" drive wrench
although you can use a smaller 3/8" drive with an adapter). I used a
short extender to squeeze past the little propane lines (so probably
don't want to buy a long 1-1/16" socket but a regular/short one with
extender).
2. Hot water tank flusher (basically a small plastic flexible tube
attached to the end of the hose; so you can squirt water inside the
water tank)

Instructions:

Instructions are typically on the replacement anode rod package.
Basically,

(i) turn off water pump,

(ii) empty the hot water tank (valve is behind rear doors, behind the
botton door with electrical outlets, put valve in vertical position),

(iii) unscrew the old anode rod (after use of Liquid Wrench or WD-40
if corroded--careful not to overspray; the anode rod is located
behind the hot water heater door, at the bottom--it's a six
sided "nut" surrounded by a circular black piece of felt or something-
-matches the replacement anode rod),

(iv) use this time to flush the tank using a hose with the plastic
tube adapter to stick inside the tank through the anode rod opening
(white scaly flakes inside will flush out),

(v) wrap plumber's tape counterclockwise around new anode rod
threads,

(vi) screw in new anode rod--don't overtighten (package says 7-8
lbs/feet of torque), and

(vii) turn on water pump to refill hot water heater (while faucets
are open to let air in lines out).

Hint: RV.net board or other forum suggested pouring vinegar into
fresh water tank to get at scaly mineral deposits in hot water
heater. Don't know if that works or not.
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Old 12-29-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
Zach Woods
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Default Re: YG Archive: Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Archived from YG:

Don't forget to turn off propane gas (main valve on tank and small
valve in closet area).
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