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Replacing Water Heater Drain Plug


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#1 Peggy

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 01:01 PM

I have a 2001 24 1/2-foot Minnie Winnie. It has an LP-gas-fired water heater.

The water heater drain plug consists of the screw cap attached to a sacrificial anode, which was very worn through and corroded when I got the coach two years ago. This summer, the anode is worn even more and I need to replace the whole drain plug.

Where do I go to buy (online or ??) a replacement, and should I get another like this -- with the anode-- or not?

Thank you,

Peggy
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#2 wolfe10

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 01:47 PM

Peggy,

First, verify the brand of your water heater:

Suburban water heaters REQUIRE an anode, since the tanks are made of steel.

Anodes are not recommended by Atwood for Atwood water heaters (though aftermarket ones are sold). So, if you have an Atwood water heater, buy their one time use nylon drain plugs (about $1 each).

If a Suburban, any RV store will have the anode/drain plug.

Brett
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#3 Peggy

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 07:58 AM

This is an original part, so I will not switch it with another kind, then.

Thank you so much!

Peggy
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#4 wolfe10

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 08:05 AM

Peggy,

Anode life in your Suburban water heater depends on several factors, including mineral content of water, how much you use the water heater, etc.

It is a good idea to check it annually.
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#5 ClayL

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 12:53 PM

Winnebago usually uses Atwood water heaters which as Brett said do not require anode rods. Someone may have installed an anode rod before you got the motor home.
If so a nylon drain plug is what you want to use.

You can see a picture of an Atwood heater HERE
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#6 Peggy

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 09:30 AM

Winnebago usually uses Atwood water heaters which as Brett said do not require anode rods. Someone may have installed an anode rod before you got the motor home.
If so a nylon drain plug is what you want to use.

You can see a picture of an Atwood heater HERE


You are right. Turns out it was NOT the original part at all. Which is a relief, because every time I changed the water out of the heater, that plug flew out like a dangerous projectile! I am getting a plastic or nylon peacock plug. It should be a lot less exciting, in a good way.

Thanks for all the info, guys.
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#7 wolfe10

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 10:18 AM

You are right. Turns out it was NOT the original part at all. Which is a relief, because every time I changed the water out of the heater, that plug flew out like a dangerous projectile! I am getting a plastic or nylon peacock plug. It should be a lot less exciting, in a good way.

Thanks for all the info, guys.


Before removing the drain plug (Nylon on Atwood/Anode on Suburban) turn off shore water, turn off the on-board water pump AND OPEN A FAUCET TO DRAIN OFF ALL PRESSURE.

Removal of the drain plug will cause the stored water in the tank to come out, but should NOT be under real pressure.

Brett
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#8 dwilson787

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 10:23 AM

I just had and RV dealer replace my electric heater element in my Atwood, and he installed an anode road as drain plug. What will this do to an Atwood?
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#9 wolfe10

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 11:00 AM

I just had and RV dealer replace my electric heater element in my Atwood, and he installed an anode road as drain plug. What will this do to an Atwood?


As said above, Atwood neither recommends nor sells anodes for their water heaters, though as you discovered, there are aftermarket products offered.

Assuming the anode material is less noble than the aluminum tank, the primary negative is that many anodes use steel threads. Steel threads can easily damage the aluminum threads of the tank. Proper application of teflon tape or potable water pipe dope lessens the likelihood of damage.

Brett
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#10 phy0749

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 12:16 PM

While we are on subject, I attempted to replace mine. However no room to turn a wrench and to make matters worse it is in their tight. I do not have open end wrenches and I think it would take a 1". I was trying with an adjustable wrench and could not get a good grip. Even when I had somewhat of a grip I had no room to turn. Finally gave up as it was 95 outside. Will try and tackle this seemingly easy job another time. 2000 Beaver Patriot.
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#11 TBUTLER

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:17 PM

Find a friend with a good set of socket wrenches. If necessary you may need to use an extension to reach far enough into the compartment to allow turning the ratchet handle. I consider a good set of socket wrenches an absolute necessity for doing any mechanical work. You might take a look at those available at Sears/Home Depot/Lowe's or other hardware stores. You can get a size like a 1" socket individually to match the rest of your set. A 1/2 inch drive set would be you most useful set, longer handle, better leverage and easier to get to larger sizes. I have 1/4 inch drive, 3/8 inch drive and 1/2 inch drive sets to cover the whole range of applications. I consider buying the right tool for the job to be a money saver. It might cost me as much as taking the job to a shop the first time but after that everything I use them for is free!
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#12 TBUTLER

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 02:23 PM

You are right. Turns out it was NOT the original part at all. Which is a relief, because every time I changed the water out of the heater, that plug flew out like a dangerous projectile! I am getting a plastic or nylon peacock plug. It should be a lot less exciting, in a good way.

Thanks for all the info, guys.


The heat of the hot water will melt a plastic plug. You need a nylon plug to withstand the heat. For a melted plug you should get a removal tool which is basically an easy-out for pipe. You will find them in the irrigation section at Lowe's or Home Depot.
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Tom and Louise Butler
2004 Monaco Windsor, Cummins 400 ISL
Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Brakemaster, GMC Acadia, BikeE Recumbent Bicycles

After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#13 WayneTKeller

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 07:11 PM

Peggy,
You have gotten a lot of good information from members. I'll add something else. I took my nylon drain plug out of my heater in my Winnebago & replaced it with a flexible, metal mesh hose made to be used on any home sink faucet. You can match the thread size of your plug for an exact fit. They are made in several lengths. I bought one that would fit inside the heater compartment and added a hand shut off valve to the outer end of the hose. This allows me to drain the water heater easily and completely any time I want or NEED to, like if a smell develops in the hot water, and when cleaning the water system in every spring or after getting bad water of any kind while traveling, and to winterize the system each year. I installed this 11 yrs. ago and have helped friends install one in their motor homes several times.

Once this is installed, you don't need any tools to work on it. If you have ever filled your water tank while on the road and gotten water that is not good in any way, as I have, you will be glad to have this to help clean out the system.


TRY IT! YOU'LL LIKE IT!

Wayne
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