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Old 08-26-2012, 08:00 AM   #1
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draining hot water tank after returning home.

Well here is yet another foolish question that I just have to ask. While we were hooked up to the CG's water & electric we used the hot water to do the dishes. Please set me straight here. Upon returning home do I need to pull the plug on the hot water heater to drain the water out of it? Should I do that anyway just so there is no stale water in there? IS there water still in there because we used it?
Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:05 AM   #2
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Interesting question. I've never drained down my water heater after use except when winterizing. Let's see what the other folks say.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:05 AM   #3
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Yes to both questions - there is water in the tank and IMO you should drain it unless you're going out again within a week or two. Hot water tanks have a way of picking up bad odors if not drained for long periods of time. Drain the fresh water tank as well.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:20 AM   #4
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Yes to both questions - there is water in the tank and IMO you should drain it unless you're going out again within a week or two. Hot water tanks have a way of picking up bad odors if not drained for long periods of time. Drain the fresh water tank as well.
Will do. Question: If we used only city water does that mean that we didn't fill the fresh water tank? Does the city water bypass the fresh water tank as we use it? If I wanted to fill the fresh water tank that is a separate undertaking, correct?
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:23 AM   #5
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Sitting for a couple weeks in high temps makes stinky water! Will make ya gag!. Drain if setting for long.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:26 AM   #6
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Question: If we used only city water does that mean that we didn't fill the fresh water tank? Does the city water bypass the fresh water tank as we use it? If I wanted to fill the fresh water tank that is a separate undertaking, correct?
You are correct. The city water fill bypasses your onboard white tank.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:43 AM   #7
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Thanks all. Really appreciated the replies. I think I'll go outside right now and drain the hot water tank. It's been a couple of weeks since we have returned home from Maine.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:37 AM   #8
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When we return home we drain ALL water from the MH and leave the drains open overnight to allow some drying out. Also, don't forget to check the zinc which is normally located in the bottom of the water heater. Removing the zinc is also another way of draining the water heater. The zinc needs to be replaced usually every 1-2 years.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:40 AM   #9
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I think you add a lot of work to your camping experience if you drain your tanks after every trip. Plus....you waste water. You need to know the water you're using. I know some people are filling their tanks from wells where the water may not be treated as much as city water. I also know that if I ever had to fill my tanks with some of the water we've found in Arizona, I would dump it.

If you use treated city water and it tastes good to you at home, there is no need to come back from a trip and dump the tanks. It will keep until the next trip unless your trips are 6-8 months apart.

When you're connected to the water at the campground, it's running through your lines, not your tank. Afer a couple of showers you will have completely exchanged the water in your water heater, but you generally don't drink that water and it will get heated and exchanged again on the next trip.

Unless you think/know you got some terrible water, I wouldn't come home and dump all the tanks on every trip. We live in Southern California and the water tastes pretty good and is treated. In 38 years of camping, we never routinely dumped our water. Our current coach is 7 years old and has never had the tank flushed. Just no need to unless you know it was contaminated.
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:55 PM   #10
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Good heavens! Drain the water heater every time? I only do it once a year, when I flush it out to get rid of any accumulated salts (happens in some areas with certain types of hard water) and sanitize the water system. As Diplomat Don, says, the water is being replaced as you run more hot water, and any water from a city supply or public well will have adequate chlorine to prevent the smelly (but not harmful) hot water bacteria.

If you ever used your fresh water tank there is probably still 2-3 gallons of "old" water in it - Rv tanks often don't drain completely. That's one of the reasons it's a good idea to sanitize the RV water system once in awhile, e.g. at the beginning of your season.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:01 PM   #11
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I used to drain the hot water heater only to winterize, but this summer our second trip the water from the hot water heater stunk until I flushed/ ran thru with fresh water. I drained it when I got home and left the drain open.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:14 PM   #12
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When we return home we drain ALL water from the MH and leave the drains open overnight to allow some drying out. Also, don't forget to check the zinc which is normally located in the bottom of the water heater. Removing the zinc is also another way of draining the water heater. The zinc needs to be replaced usually every 1-2 years.
I don't get this. What am I supposed to be looking for? You mean I need to add Zinc to my tank every 1-2 years? I'm confused. Sorry!
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:30 PM   #13
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On the exterior of your hot water tank is what looks like a huge head of a bolt. That is your zinc rod. When you empty your hot water tank at the end of the season you remove the zinc rod, inspect it. It will have some deterioration on it. As you've never seen one take it to a RV dealer and show it to a tech and he will tell you if it needs replacing. I leave my rod out during the winter, replacing it when I start in the speing
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Diplomat Don View Post
I think you add a lot of work to your camping experience if you drain your tanks after every trip. Plus....you waste water. You need to know the water you're using. I know some people are filling their tanks from wells where the water may not be treated as much as city water. I also know that if I ever had to fill my tanks with some of the water we've found in Arizona, I would dump it.

If you use treated city water and it tastes good to you at home, there is no need to come back from a trip and dump the tanks. It will keep until the next trip unless your trips are 6-8 months apart.

When you're connected to the water at the campground, it's running through your lines, not your tank. Afer a couple of showers you will have completely exchanged the water in your water heater, but you generally don't drink that water and it will get heated and exchanged again on the next trip.

Unless you think/know you got some terrible water, I wouldn't come home and dump all the tanks on every trip. We live in Southern California and the water tastes pretty good and is treated. In 38 years of camping, we never routinely dumped our water. Our current coach is 7 years old and has never had the tank flushed. Just no need to unless you know it was contaminated.
Good advice here! Everything RV depends on where you go and your lifestyle. I usually have city water in the tank and then I use whatever is available in campgrounds. If there is smelly water somewhere, I don't worry about the water heater because it's only a few gallons. I empty and rinse my water heater annually when I winterize. Been doing it this way for 30 years in various campers.
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