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Old 12-10-2012, 04:35 PM   #1
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Water Heater Issue

DH and I started full timing at the end of September. Until recently we have stayed in campgrounds and used the bath houses for showers. We weren't using the water heater. At the beginning of November, we hit the road. The first time we used the water heater everything was great. We each took a nice shower and we washed the dishes, etc. We had done our "homework" on these forums, and so we turned off the water heater when not in use to save propane. The next time we turned it on, we waited for over an hour and the water was still not hot. DH finally gave up and decided to go for a shower at the CG bath house. When he opened the door he discovered a large pool of water...water was pouring out of the pressure relief valve on the water heater. After we got to a relatives house, we replaced the valve and all was good again. Our relatives were going on vacation and asked us the house sit. So, for about 2 weeks we lived in their house. Today, after the return of the relatives, I turned on the water heater to do some dishes. The first thing I noticed was a faint odor of sulpher, not over powering. Then I noticed that the water in the sink was black!
I immediately sat down at the computer to research what was happening. For the first time, I didn't find an answer.
Has anyone ever experienced this? What causes it? How can I fix it and most importantly how can I keep it from happening again?
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:29 PM   #2
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Unhappy Maybe!

If the rv water heater is like the one in our homes I believe there is a plastic liner inside the reservoir! If this ruptures their is normally an infiltration of rust that will turn the water a dark brown! Is the water really black or a chocolate brown? One thing you may do if you don't get a good answer on the forums is to call the manufacturer of the water heater and tell them about your problem. They'll be able to tell you what the problem is!

Good luck.

Eric
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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Sounds like the leaking valve ran the tank empty - and the still running burner cooked the tank...
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
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Water is black, almost purple. In fact, when I took DH a cup of the water to show it to him he asked "where did you get grape kool aid?" DH is color blind, but it did look like kool aid.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary - K7GLD View Post
Sounds like the leaking valve ran the tank empty - and the still running burner cooked the tank...
Not possible. The TPR valve is at the TOP of the tank, for it to run the tank empty the RV woudl have to be parked...er.. "Wheels UP" (as in Shiny side down or if you like UPSIDE down (on it's roof)).

However some of the other ideas are good.

If the water heater was not used for an extended period of time it is likely a biological has taken hold inside the tank (Bacteria) and is growing out of control. The heater needs to be flushed and sanatized, You do this the same as the rest of the system only open the TPR valve manually so as to get as much water in the tank as possible.

When you are done again drain the water heater. (TPR VALVE STILL OPEN) then close the TPR and then replace the drain plug.


If the water heater is a surburban you may need a new anode rod, Black water is a sign of the anode rode haveing gone into solution (Among other things) the black is actually zinc oxide
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:50 PM   #6
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Wink Only the hot water!

It really sounds like the liner is ruptured...if there's a liner! I'm still not sure there is but this is what I would do.
Turn off the water heater. Go outside and remove the drain plug. Let the water empty into a pail and check for rust, plastic or other junk that may flow out with the water.
Let me know what you find!
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:24 PM   #7
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We drained the tank, no chunks came out. Flushed it really good and now water is clear and no longer smells. I think the biological idea may be spot on. We will sanitize it tomorrow and see what happens.

I read somewhere that the aluminum tank and anode can cause a chemical reaction and cause the water to turn black. No details on the web site where I found that information, and now I can't find the website that mentioned it. The water was clear when it was black with no floaties.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:18 AM   #8
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Sanitizing water tank

Agree that problem is probably bacteria. Just a reminder that water source can affect the bacteria problem. If you have city water in tank, the chlorine will help prevent a bacteria bloom. But if on well water, like I am where I park my MH, then you might have to sanitize more often. Hope this helps.

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