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Old 05-31-2013, 11:52 PM   #1
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Air in water lines

Haven't had this TT very long so I am probably doing something wrong - but you folks are so kind and helpful, I thought it might help. The dealer we bought from was great and they did a good run through for us, but my husband was very into the electrical system on board and we spent a lot of time going over that and towing and not much on water. Surprise - it's the water system that is causing us fits. We have had it out twice and both times there is a lot of air when we run water through the faucet. We have now learned to make sure the drain plug is in place on the water heater before we turn on the water pump. Haven't even used the water heater yet. Should we turn on the water pump when filling the tank to ensure the water heater gets filled? Also, what could be causing so much sputtering and air in the water line? Thanks in advance.

Mrs Klein
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:39 AM   #2
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Air in lines is normal when you first set up camp. You just need to let the taps and toilet run until cleared. May spit back at you a bit but let it go until it runs normally.

If it persists and you are using water from the fresh water tank, then there's something else going on related to the pump.

Not sure why you'd be taking the plug out of the heater? I assume you mean the anode rod? You should not have to touch the water heater except to check for corrosion of the anode rod maybe once or twice a year, depending on how much you camp and how bad the water is.

Also, have you got the water system in the non-winterized mode? There should be valves at the water heater set to let water circulate in and out of the WH tank. There's also a valve(s) at the water pump that you use when sucking anti-freeze into the system for winterizing. If left in the wrong position, the pump will be sucking air.

Hope this helps and happy camping.
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:38 PM   #3
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And.. if you have a water heater with electric as well as gas, NEVER turn on the electric element if the is NO water in the heater. The element will burn out. There is a switch in the lower left corner on my heater. I leave it OFF until I have water, and am plugged in to 110v source. When I return home, I turn OFF the switch, because I plug in, to keep batteries charged, and there is no need to pay for electric to heat the water that I will not be using.
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:05 PM   #4
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Air

If you have a Suburban water heater it has a pop-off valve at the high point of the tank. You'll find the valve above the anode rod. Simply lift the lever and allow it to spit out air until it spits a solid stream of water water.

Keep a spare electrical heater element on hand. They cost about $15 to $20 and most hardware stores have them. The element is under the plastic cover where the wires go in on the same side as the anode. Takes about 15 minutes to put one in, only because you may have to remove the mixing tube and burner assembly.

If you have an Attwood like I do now the element is on the back of the WH and is a little more of a PITA to change. But it won't have an anode rod. Doesn't need one.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:44 AM   #5
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Smile

Great ideas for stuff to check. Thank you all. the water heater plug I mentioned is a drain plug. We are not full-timers so drain the water heater before leaving. The valves to the water heater are open. We made that mistake the first time. Wasn't aware of the valve on the water pump - gotta search for that one.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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Suggest you do NOT let all the air out of water heater tank. Just flip the valve lever a little. The tank MUST have an air CUSHION, for expansion of heated water, or else the pressure could cause leaks in the lines.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:12 AM   #7
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IMHO draining the hw tank during the camping season is not necessary. Only if you are in freezing conditions and or you are winterizing the rv.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:30 AM   #8
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Air in lines

Now I am really confused. I thought it was important to drain the water before hitting the road to reduce weight. Our AR-ONE has a limited cargo capacity (built to be light weight and to be towed by a non-truck). And we are already at that limit.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:48 AM   #9
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Looking at the Starcraft website, you either have the 16 gal or 26 gal system--including the water heater volume--and the heater is a 6 gal one.
You are causing most of the problem by draining the water each trip. Such a small system would have a problem purging the trapped air each time relative to how long you can let it run. If hooked up to a water source, you should be able to just let it run til the trapped air is out. I suggest that if you can hook up to the city water when at home, that you just hook the hose and let it fill the tank--leave a hot water faucet open and it will eventually quit spitting air. Then, leave the water tank full for traveling and you shouldn't have the problem each trip. If you have a weight limit in which 26 gal water (215lbs) is a problem, you are overmatched for the tow vehicle. If the only way you can tow is without water, you will have the air problem every time. If you normally are dry-camped, then this is going to waste water getting rid of the air...
Water heaters need an air pocket at the top in order for the water to expand slightly when heated--if no expansion room, the popoff will leak to let pressure off. And the air pocket forms normally when the tank is filled from either city water or the water pump.
I have a 12 gal tank----EVERY time after draining, the air has to be purged by running all the hot water faucets til it is gone. And, I never drain the tank except for expectations of extended freezing weather. But I also don't have a weight concern as you have.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:14 AM   #10
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Your dealer should have told you that, anytime the hot water heater has been drained,to always open a hot water faucet and run the water until you get a steady stream of water from the faucet. That is six gallons of air in the HWH anytime it is drained of water. That is a lot of air to contend with.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:12 AM   #11
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I knew this forum would answer my questions - thank you all. Makes sense - 6 gallon capacity in the WH means 6 gallons of air has to leave. Seems so simple but if you have never dealt with this before it can be a real puzzle. Thanks again!
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:45 PM   #12
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Wingnut 60 explained this very well I think. Sooo if you still feel the need to drain the fresh water storage tank, if it were me I would leave the hot water tank alone.
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