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Old 05-07-2020, 05:55 PM   #1
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Water heater drain rusted and leaking

I have a 12 gallon Suburban water heater that is original to the 12 year old RV and is beginning to leak where the steel drain flange meets the tank. It's not leaking from the drain plug. It almost appears as if the flange is weeping water very very slowly. Here are my questions...
1. How long should a rv water heater be expected to last before replacement is required?
2. What would one expect to pay on the labor side for removal of the existing heater and installation of a new one. It appears that the exact unit itself is approximately $500.
3. Has anyone replaced a standard 12 gallon water heater with an on demand unit? If so, is the exterior opening on the rv the same size?
Thank you!
Phil
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:38 PM   #2
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Twelve years is pretty early. It would seem that the anode rod was not checked and replaced as needed.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:08 PM   #3
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Twelve years is pretty early. It would seem that the anode rod was not checked and replaced as needed.
RV was new to me last year. There was no anode. It had plastic plug.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:52 PM   #4
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RV was new to me last year. There was no anode. It had plastic plug.
And now you know why the tank rusted through. Previous owner was a cheapo and didn't want to spend the $15.00 a year to protect the water heater.
Now you get to pay for his ignorance.

Bummer.

Anodes are cheap folks!


Oh and damn lucky the plastic plug didnt blow out.
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:58 PM   #5
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Definitely frustrating having to replace the heater due to the absence of the anode. The local dealer/repair shop hasn't replied to my covid induced online request for a quote. I always like to have an idea as to what repairs might cost before committing to service. I just joined the forum today, so I was hoping to search for other posts since I'm pretty sure others have had the same unfortunate experience with needing to replace the heater.
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:13 PM   #6
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Definitely frustrating having to replace the heater due to the absence of the anode. The local dealer/repair shop hasn't replied to my covid induced online request for a quote. I always like to have an idea as to what repairs might cost before committing to service. I just joined the forum today, so I was hoping to search for other posts since I'm pretty sure others have had the same unfortunate experience with needing to replace the heater.
You may(or may not) be able to save a few bucks by buying online and having a mobile mechanic install it. Or save a whole bunch and do it yourself.

A Truma instant continuous heater will be quite a bit more money and who knows how much modification. Most of the other brands are problematic, especially for boondocking.
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:38 PM   #7
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You may(or may not) be able to save a few bucks by buying online and having a mobile mechanic install it. Or save a whole bunch and do it yourself.

A Truma instant continuous heater will be quite a bit more money and who knows how much modification. Most of the other brands are problematic, especially for boondocking.
Thanks for the product suggestion. I'll check it out. I hear a lot of people are purchasing RVs since air travel will be limited this summer for vacations. That means the dealers and repair centers will be busy. I'm not sure if they've been closed the past month or so either. If I had an idea of labor costs I could decide on whether or not to pursue purchase and install myself.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:35 AM   #8
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Thanks for the product suggestion. I'll check it out. I hear a lot of people are purchasing RVs since air travel will be limited this summer for vacations. That means the dealers and repair centers will be busy. I'm not sure if they've been closed the past month or so either. If I had an idea of labor costs I could decide on whether or not to pursue purchase and install myself.

I would think that you can safely figure $80 - $100 an hour labor charge. I would not think it would be to hard to replace especially if you can access the plumbing at the back before pulling out the unit.
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Old 05-08-2020, 03:03 PM   #9
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Twelve years is pretty early. It would seem that the anode rod was not checked and replaced as needed.
Why would an rv water heater last longer than one for houses?
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Old 05-08-2020, 03:30 PM   #10
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Before you go to a Truma heater I suggest you search this web site for similar comment threads...
I remember reading a thread that talked about how a continuous flow heater didn't work out.. and why.

Mike
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:50 PM   #11
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Why would an rv water heater last longer than one for houses?
Depends on use. I'd guess most RV water heaters are not used continuously year-round. Those times when not in use, they are often drained, especially in winterizing climates, so there can be no electrolysis. Even in mild climates, with water, if they are not heated the rate of corrosion is reduced. All that, plus regular flushing and anode replacement, should get a RV water heater through many years of service beyond a typical house water heater.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:04 PM   #12
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Why would an rv water heater last longer than one for houses?
My gas only 6 gallon Suburban is 20 years old. I flush it out and vacuum it every year, along with checking the condition of the magnesium anode rod.

The builder's grade electric water heater at the s&b is 22 years old.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:05 PM   #13
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Depends on use. I'd guess most RV water heaters are not used continuously year-round. Those times when not in use, they are often drained, especially in winterizing climates, so there can be no electrolysis. Even in mild climates, with water, if they are not heated the rate of corrosion is reduced. All that, plus regular flushing and anode replacement, should get a RV water heater through many years of service beyond a typical house water heater.

Exactly^^^^^^^


How often does any homeowner drain/flush their residential water heater let alone replace the anode rod.....


Suburban water heaters are just like residential water heaters.....steel tank that is glass-lined and have an anode rod.
6 yr, 10 yr, 12 yr 'warranties'.....that is based on size and number of anode rods used.




Suburban 10 gal, 12 gal and 16 gal all use the same cutout opening......only difference is DEPTH

Height: 16.21875"
Width: 16.21875"
Depth: 10g/20.5" 12g/22.25" 16g/27"




Couple of hours to remove/replace.


Here is an article on R/R of a 6gal.....same steps/procedure regardless of tank size
https://www.loveyourrv.com/leaking-r...r-replacement/
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:22 PM   #14
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As a repair option, can you clean and dry the flange and use JB Weld to seal the leak? Then install a anode rod and hopefully get a couple of additional years use out of the water heater. Meanwhile, keep your eye open for a salvage RV that may supply a good water heater.
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