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Old 12-12-2011, 03:11 PM   #1
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Water Heater pressure relief valve- Ice

This weekend our overnight temps dipped into the low 20's.
I brought the Rogue home Saturday night to be ready for an early start Sunday to head for the game.
I noticed Sunday morning there was some ice on the ground under the water heater. Upon opening the exterior cover to the water heater controls I noticed the water came from the pressure relief valve.

Is this normal? It is my understanding a single overnight in freezing temps should not burst pipes or cause problems in an RV holding water.
It is not winterized because I store the Rogue in a heated warehouse.

This was just a single overnight occurrence.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:22 PM   #2
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Just flip the release lever on the valve a couple of times while the system is under pressure to clean the seat and it should seal again. The manual says you should do that and check them on a regular basis.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:43 PM   #3
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Yup............just burp it.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:02 PM   #4
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Freezing is freezing. You can get frozen pipes and such with one night ...depends on how low and for how long below freezing. I hope you did not damage anything with this "understanding".

In the low 20's is generally time to drain pipe and winterize.

Ken
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:23 PM   #5
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Would hate to winterize it for essentially one game.

Well unless Baltimore hosts a playoff game.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:10 AM   #6
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Yup............just burp it.
What does this help accomplish?
I'm guessing ice came out because the water expanded as it froze. I assume this is better than the pipes bursting.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:12 AM   #7
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Eric, was the water heater turned on? How cold was the temperature that night? It is possible that the valve has been leaking all along and the ice was just evidence. These valves do leak and burping them reseats them and fixes it.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:44 AM   #8
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No, I have never turned it on. Meaning, I have never turned either switch on to heat it. It is live though, meaning I do have water traveling through it.
It has never leaked before, I clean behind the cover whenever I wipe down the RV.
It got down into the low 20's that night.
I checked all the pipes that day and used the water and there were no drips on the pavement.
It also sat outside Sunday night after we got back from the game and did the same thing Monday morning.

Sorry for the mundane questions. I was just wondering if this was normal.

Lastly, the only thing we use water for is the toilet and to wash our hands. Is there anything I can pour into the fresh water tank and cycle through the entire system that would keep it from freezing yet still allow us to clean our hands?
I believe the RV anti-freeze is pretty gross and one would not want to clean their hands with it.

We never drink or use the water out of the RV for cooking purposes.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:57 AM   #9
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If you are just washing and flushing, I don't see where a little RV antifreeze in the system would hurt. It is not harmful to humans, but it does have a bit of color and taste/odor.

Your understanding that one cold night won't hurt things is incorrect. Several hours in the low 20's is enough to freeze exposed water lines. Next time, turn the water heater on for a few hours in the evening and let it heat the water in the tank - that should keep it above freezing the rest of the night.

If your water tank never dribbled water before, I would guess that it did in fact partially freeze. The PT relief valve may have saved you an expensive repair. Or maybe not.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:05 AM   #10
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Do not put Rv antifreeze in the water heater and turn the water heater on. It will cause the antifreeze 'flavor' to remain for a long time.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:10 AM   #11
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I was under the assumption that the water heater was turned on, sorry. I agree with Gary in that if it got into the low 20's then it most likely started to freeze or did freeze and expand. You should buy a bypass for your hot water heater then open it up and drain it. Or get an air fitting and blow out the whole water system with 45 psi air from a compressor. Just open up each faucet until you get nothing but air out of it also flush the toilet a couple of times and open the low point drain under the water pump and let all the water blow out.
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:59 AM   #12
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I do have a bypass valve on the water heater. I also have 2 drain lines in my water compartment.
So would shutting off the water from the fresh tank, opening the drain valves on the rest of the system and allowing the water to drain be enough to get me through the night?

Then open the main valve and close the drain valves the day of the game.
Then once I return home that night- fresh water shut off open all valves again.
I know this sounds a bit lazy, but I am merely looking for a single overnight remedy.

Thanks guys.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:02 AM   #13
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The Relief valve is called TPR (Temperature Pressure relief) If it's dripping then one of two conditions exist.. 1: Faulty, 2: High pressure.

High pressure can happen when you do not have enough air in the heater and it fills with very cold water, and is then heated. If you have not drained and flushed the heater in a while .. Do so.. You might want to find a warmer place to do it though.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricGT View Post
This weekend our overnight temps dipped into the low 20's.
I brought the Rogue home Saturday night to be ready for an early start Sunday to head for the game.
I noticed Sunday morning there was some ice on the ground under the water heater. Upon opening the exterior cover to the water heater controls I noticed the water came from the pressure relief valve.

Is this normal? It is my understanding a single overnight in freezing temps should not burst pipes or cause problems in an RV holding water.
It is not winterized because I store the Rogue in a heated warehouse.

This was just a single overnight occurrence.
The water is coming from a leaky relief valve seat. The water that is on the ground is in a colder environment that any of your plumbing. As suggested above, quickly flip the valve to clean it and go merrily on your way.
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