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Old 11-22-2011, 11:00 PM   #1
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Question newbie and flushing water heater

I have a Suburban water heater and just purchased an anode rod (m

agnesium) and now comes the big part...properly flushing it.

I was told:
  1. Turn off water heater.
  2. Turn off cold water supply.
  3. Open a faucet in the RV. to relive pressure.
  4. Allow time for water to cool and Pull out handle of the Pressure Relief Valve and allow water to flow from the valve until it stops.
  5. Release handle on valve... it should snap shut.
  6. Close faucet and turn on cold water supply, as tank fills, the air pocket will be replenished.
Should I flush the tank to get rid of sediment and how is that done safely?

It was mentioned "Be careful not to burn out the heating elements....so should I assume when I open the faucet to let out the hot water (and heater has been turned off...all will be ok with the elements?

So many differing suggestions and I'm leery about ruining the water heater...the last thing I need to do, as I'm a full timer, which would create a quandry as my RV is home. Isn't like a regular house, where I can make a few calls and have a water heater ordered and installed by a local plumber.

Any tips? (appreciated!!)
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Old 11-23-2011, 12:21 AM   #2
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The instructions that you have are to re-establish the air pocket.

What you need to do is drain the heater and rinse it out with a flushing tool that goes on the end of a hose. They are available at any RV supply. I believe that most Suburban heaters remove the anode to drain but I'm not sure. I have an Attwood.

I rinse mine every season and am absolutely amazed at what comes out.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:29 AM   #3
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Question

oops you are correct.

I was told to turn off water heater, then run a faucet so all the hot water is gone.
Turn off water source.

To still give the water heater some time to cool down.

Open and remove the anode rod to let water drain out. Was told if water dribbled that means sediment or general gunk is blocking it and carefully use a wire coat hanger or some such thing to clear.
I was told just to use a water hose to flush it, but looking at the head of the anode rod, seems I'd need something smaller to get water in without it flooding and running back out for the most part, thus my question if there was an attachment needed. If so, means another online search and to order.

I'm still puzzled/concerned about the mention of the heating elements. As long as I let the water heater cool they should be ok shouldn't they?
I think I'll take a picture and post of my particular unit and highlight the areas I have questions about. Any Suburban owners out there..tips for flushing would be appreciated.
Perhaps I'm blowing a simple procedure out of proportion, but I get differing suggestions as I've said. (nope, no manual)
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:52 AM   #4
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i believe the element you are referring to, is the electric element for water heater, it should have a switch to turn off. never turn element on unless there is water in the tank, it will burn out quickly. the switch for my suburban is inside water heater cover behind a tube on the left side. not an easy location to find. dont know what make of rv you have, but its possible there may b an inside switch? as mentioned, use a wand to clean out the sludge. good luck
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:20 AM   #5
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Turning on the heater without water in the tank will ruin the element. Otherwise you probably will not damage the element. The anode is usually located at the bottom of the tank so most of the sluge that exists will drain with the water if you remove it when the tahk is full, Waiting for the water to cool will help with your comfort should you get any water spray from doing that, Why there is a need to use the pressure relief valve is questionable to me except to stop the spray when removing the anode, I have found that manually opening the relief valve sometimes damages it and when reclosed it will occasionally fail to reseal.
Flushing the sluge out with a flushing hose does make some sense, however I have owned RV's for many years and never have done that. What I do is drain the tank as I described, replace the anode, refill the tank and fill the RV"s water tank. I then add approximatly 1 and 1/2 cup of household bleach. You can let this sit for several hours or take the RV for a ride mixing and sloshing the mixture around. Turn on the pump and make sure this mixture gets pumped thru all the fixtures and the air is out of the heater. (do not turn on the heat element) Drain the water making sure the heater is empty as well. Refill and drain again to get the bleach out. Filling the tank and using a cup of white Vinegar will take out the bleach as well. Just be sure to drain the water containing the vinegar before refilling with fresh water. Before turning on the hot water element turn on the pump and open the water faucets to get rid of all the air. At that time it is now ready to turn on the heater and use!
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:39 PM   #6
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Question flushing water tank

Ok, think I've got it. Yes there is a black off/on switch on the left hand side..that takes care of the concern for the heating element.

What is the black rubber piece with two areas that look like one can press them for some reason or the other?

online photo at web site address below.

http://www.bing.com/images/searchq=p...AD59F8&first=0

I'll leave the relief valve alone..seems it is for releasing water if the heat/pressure builds beyond a certain point and it 'weeps' (never saw my heater do that.)

I'll get a flush wand, as using bleach, etc takes too long..would be without hot water for daily needs and I don't have a vehicle to pull the 5er. I'm just set up in it to live. My little S-10 Xtreme pick up is useless for that.

Thanks to you all for the input and help.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:28 PM   #7
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black piece is reset for heater if it shuts off for some reason.
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Old 11-24-2011, 10:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paty View Post
Ok, think I've got it. Yes there is a black off/on switch on the left hand side..that takes care of the concern for the heating element.

What is the black rubber piece with two areas that look like one can press them for some reason or the other?

online photo at web site address below.

http://www.bing.com/images/searchq=p...AD59F8&first=0

I'll leave the relief valve alone..seems it is for releasing water if the heat/pressure builds beyond a certain point and it 'weeps' (never saw my heater do that.)

I'll get a flush wand, as using bleach, etc takes too long..would be without hot water for daily needs and I don't have a vehicle to pull the 5er. I'm just set up in it to live. My little S-10 Xtreme pick up is useless for that.

Thanks to you all for the input and help.
I understand your reluctance in using the bleach. Remember my instructions as you will need to do this at some point if you continue to be an RV'r. The water "will" become rather stinky due to bacteria and the bleach solution will kill that. Flushing only may not kill the bacteria.
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Luckiest Dre View Post
I understand your reluctance in using the bleach. Remember my instructions as you will need to do this at some point if you continue to be an RV'r. The water "will" become rather stinky due to bacteria and the bleach solution will kill that. Flushing only may not kill the bacteria.
Understand. Will keep it in mind...don't want 'stinky water.
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