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Anode rod "tailings"(revisit)

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About a year or so ago, I posted some questions about anode rod tailings plugging up the screen/strainers in the system.  This always happened after an extended stay with full hookups, and then the first time we used the pump and tank water.  It confused some posters on this site, as they couldn't understand how the tailings got into the fresh water system.  I tried to explain that this HW tank, (Suburban SW10DE),  does not have a check valve, and therefor I thought it was acting like an accumulator tank.  I did install a check valve on the inlet side of the tank, and that did solve the problem, but now the pop-off valve does weep some---long story.  Now the question, has anyone installed an in-line filter in a water line backwards??  I would like to remove the check valve so the pop-off would not weep, and I wonder if an in-line filter would "catch" the tailings, and then return them to the tank when the pressure balances out from the pump pressure.  It has been working fine with the check valve installed, but I'm not crazy about the lime buildup on the paint of the RV.  Thanks in advance for any comments.   Dick T     Used to be "oletimer" on this site.

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I wonder, rather than re-engineer a system if it would be to your advantage to get a water conditioner (softner) to ease the flaking of the anode.

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I had the same problem with our WH pressure relief valve weeping. I replaced it and a couple of weeks later and  the valve began to  weep again. I believe the issue was I had lost the air pocket in the WH tank that had acted as a accumulator for the water pressure. The relief valve would weep during the heating cycle which must have been spiking the tank pressure. It might be worth while to get some air back into the WH tank by doing a partial drain to see if this helps the weep issue.

Also, how about a aluminum anode rod? That's what I have used for 4 years now, no flakes.

Greg

Edited by gjhunter01

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Well this explains where my flakes have been coming from. Thanks I have been puzzled as I filter incoming city water and have the mesh strainer on the water pump. So following. Is aluminum the answer as Greg suggests? Any downside?

 

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Two ways to solve the weeping pressure relief valve problem ... without opening the valve, which can worsen the leak if a piece of debris gets caught in the valve as you close it.

1) Drain your water hose, i.e. make it full of air.  Connect it between the shore water spigot and the RV and turn on the water. Go inside the RV and turn on a HOT water spigot.  The air in the hose will be drawn into the water heater tank and replenish the air pocket.  Sputtering at the hot water spigot while you are doing this confirms the air pocket has been restored and the excess air is coming out of the spigot.

2) Install an accumulator tank on the cold water side of the plumbing.  This gives the heating water a place to expand into, eliminating the need for the air pocket in the hot water tank, which does the same thing.  Plus the accumulator tank eliminates short cycling of the pump.  Make sure you don't have a check valve on the inlet of the water heater so the expanding water can backfeed slightly into the cold water line..

Edited by Lou Schneider

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3 hours ago, Daveh said:

 Is aluminum the answer as Greg suggests? Any downside?

 

The downside of an aluminum anode rod is that they offer less protection than magnesium. Suburban recommends them only when the magnesium rods are being consumed in less than one year, which would indicate particularly aggressive corrosion. So there is a trade-off. Less cast-off, but less protection of the tank as well. 

I change my magnesium anode rod every year and thoroughly flush my water heater at that time with a flushing "wand". I am  amazed at the amount of junk that gets flushed out, but if I do it thoroughly I don't have any issues with flakes or particles clogging my fixtures. 

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3 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

Two ways to solve the weeping pressure relief valve problem ... without opening the valve, which can worsen the leak if a piece of debris gets caught in the valve as you close it.

1) Drain your water hose, i.e. make it full of air.  Connect it between the shore water spigot and the RV and turn on the water. Go inside the RV and turn on a HOT water spigot.  The air in the hose will be drawn into the water heater tank and replenish the air pocket.  Sputtering at the hot water spigot while you are doing this confirms the air pocket has been restored and the excess air is coming out of the spigot.

2) Install an accumulator tank on the cold water side of the plumbing.  This gives the heating water a place to expand into, eliminating the need for the air pocket in the hot water tank, which does the same thing.  Plus the accumulator tank eliminates short cycling of the pump.  Make sure you don't have a check valve on the inlet of the water heater so the expanding water can backfeed slightly into the cold water line..

You seem to have forgotten the 3rd and probably best way to solve the problem :

Install an aluminum tank and be done with all the rigmarole and hack & patch ...

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1 hour ago, Pat & Pete said:

You seem to have forgotten the 3rd and probably best way to solve the problem :

Install an aluminum tank and be done with all the rigmarole and hack & patch ...

Our previous trailer had an Atwood water heater, which I did prefer as it eliminated the anode rod. It does not, however, eliminate the occasional weeping pressure valve or need to maintain the air space in the tank. An aluminum tank only eliminates the anode rod. 

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10 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

Our previous trailer had an Atwood water heater, which I did prefer as it eliminated the anode rod. It does not, however, eliminate the occasional weeping pressure valve or need to maintain the air space in the tank. An aluminum tank only eliminates the anode rod. 

That's enough of a reason for me . ;)

As for the rest , it normal routine . The supposed weeping valve should stop by simply fully opening the valve , letting enough water gush out to rinse the seat/seal and then snapping the valve shut . We haven't had a weeping valve in about 7 years .

And , I don't worry about that proverbial air space . It seems to take care of itself .

I have to ask , do you use a water pressure control valve ? 

Edited by Pat & Pete

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As I said earlier, I prefer the aluminum tanked Atwood as it is one less thing to deal with. But that is seldom a choice as manufacturers tend to utilize one brand or the other and you get what you get!

The weeping valve isn't much of an issue for us either, with it occurring maybe 3 -4 times in the past 20 years. My point was that aluminum vs. steel tanks has nothing to do with weeping pressure valves. 

1 hour ago, Pat & Pete said:

I have to ask , do you use a water pressure control valve ? 

We use a water pressure regulator if that is what you are referring to. Why?

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An aluminum tank sounds good, but I think I will just wait until the current WH tank starts going bad from all the supposed corrosion. The WH is now 10 years old with 4 years on the aluminum anode rod.

I only use a pressure regulator if the CG recommends it, which is about 1/4 of our stays.

 

Greg

Edited by gjhunter01

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10 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

As I said earlier, I prefer the aluminum tanked Atwood as it is one less thing to deal with. But that is seldom a choice as manufacturers tend to utilize one brand or the other and you get what you get!

The weeping valve isn't much of an issue for us either, with it occurring maybe 3 -4 times in the past 20 years. My point was that aluminum vs. steel tanks has nothing to do with weeping pressure valves. 

We use a water pressure regulator if that is what you are referring to. Why?

Because , excessive pressure 'could' cause a weeping relief valve .

We always use a regulator . No matter where . Cheap insurance . 

And , yes , I got your point . My point was that with no anode rod , there would be no flaking of anything to mung things up .

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13 minutes ago, gjhunter01 said:

An aluminum tank sounds good, but I think I will just wait until the current WH tank starts going bad from all the supposed corrosion. The WH is now 10 years old with 4 years on the aluminum anode rod.

I only use a pressure regulator if the CG recommends it, which is about 1/4 of our stays.

 

Greg

I can see using what you have , until it's time for something better . 

True , manufactures install whatever for whatever reason . That doesn't mean whatever has to stay that way .

I'll repeat : We always use a water pressure regulator . No matter where . Cheap insurance . 

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6 minutes ago, Pat & Pete said:

We always use a regulator . No matter where . Cheap insurance . 

Good practice and one that we also follow.

 

7 minutes ago, Pat & Pete said:

Because , excessive pressure 'could' cause a weeping relief valve .

"Could", but highly unlikely as the pressure relief valves in water heaters are set for around 150 psi. Weeping valves are usually caused by over-pressure in tanks because of a lack of expansion space either in the tank, in an accumulator, or in the plumbing itself. 

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1 hour ago, mptjelgin said:

"Could", but highly unlikely as the pressure relief valves in water heaters are set for around 150 psi. Weeping valves are usually caused by over-pressure in tanks because of a lack of expansion space either in the tank, in an accumulator, or in the plumbing itself. 

Just as an FYI, plumbing codes require a pressure regulator when the supply pressure is 80 PSI or above to keep things like a relief valve from leaking. That kind of pressure happens a lot more than you think. Yes, I used to be a licensed plumber.

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Quote

 

I wonder if plumbing codes or any building codes for that matter, apply to a RV? I could see codes being applied to a house being built in a zoned township, but would that apply to a portable RV?

Greg

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Yep. Believe it or not, the National Electric Code has a section that applies to your RV. Also, with regard to the pressure and the T&P valve leaking, when you are using water, it starts moving water all the way back to the source so that when you shut your faucet off all that water doesn't stop all at once so you can and do get a pressure spike that can be more than be enough to hammer the T&P valve and go over the 125PSI rating on it.

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On ‎11‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 11:24 AM, Lou Schneider said:

Two ways to solve the weeping pressure relief valve problem ... without opening the valve, which can worsen the leak if a piece of debris gets caught in the valve as you close it.

1) Drain your water hose, i.e. make it full of air.  Connect it between the shore water spigot and the RV and turn on the water. Go inside the RV and turn on a HOT water spigot.  The air in the hose will be drawn into the water heater tank and replenish the air pocket.  Sputtering at the hot water spigot while you are doing this confirms the air pocket has been restored and the excess air is coming out of the spigot.

2) Install an accumulator tank on the cold water side of the plumbing.  This gives the heating water a place to expand into, eliminating the need for the air pocket in the hot water tank, which does the same thing.  Plus the accumulator tank eliminates short cycling of the pump.  Make sure you don't have a check valve on the inlet of the water heater so the expanding water can backfeed slightly into the cold water line..

I did try #2, and it did help SOME.  It was only a 24 oz. tank, and was in the way of under sink storage so I removed the tank.  That is why I was wondering about a line strainer on the inlet side of the hot water tank. Your comment did however help confirm my thought of the HW tank acting as a accumulator tank though.  Thanks!  Now, I have 3 options I think.

1) A larger accumulator tank some where else in the system?

2) The inline strainer installed backwards on the inlet side of the HW tank.

3) Just remove the check valve I installed and the anode rod.

BTW, I have at times made more important decisions than this, so I'll try to live through this one. 

      THANKS for all thoughts folks.      Dick T

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On 11/6/2017 at 5:03 PM, mptjelgin said:

"Could", but highly unlikely as the pressure relief valves in water heaters are set for around 150 psi. Weeping valves are usually caused by over-pressure in tanks because of a lack of expansion space either in the tank, in an accumulator, or in the plumbing itself. 

The problem is the one way check valve at the RV's cold water inlet.

A house doesn't have this, so the expanding water is free to push back against the incoming cold water as the tank is heated.  In an RV, the check valve blocks the push back, so the expanding water either compresses the air in the tank's air pocket, or if there's no room there the system pressure rises until something gives to relieve it.  Hopefully this is the release valve and not something else in the plumbing system.

Oletimer, I used a one gallon expansion tank I got at the hardware store.  It wasn't much more expensive than the one liter tank sold for RVs and it solved the weeping problem.

Pat and Pete, if you think the anode rod is the only source of tank flakes, I guess you haven't spent much time in the southwest deserts?  Filtering the incoming water only keeps out sand and other large particles, to stop deposits forming from the dissolved minerals in the water you need a full house active water softener or RO system.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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31 minutes ago, Lou Schneider said:

As far as the anode being the only source of tank contamination, I guess you haven't spent much time in the southwest deserts?

Agreed! There is so much calcium in some places that (unless you are running a water softener) you are going to get precipitate in your water heater pretty quickly.  In some areas of Central Texas even a few melted ice cubes will leave calcium residue in a glass. It is the reason that I don't mind opening up my water heater once a year to change the anode rod. Allows me to give it a thorough rinse and get all of the "junk" out. 

OLETIMER - From Lou's post near the top:

1) Drain your water hose, i.e. make it full of air.  Connect it between the shore water spigot and the RV and turn on the water. Go inside the RV and turn on a HOT water spigot.  The air in the hose will be drawn into the water heater tank and replenish the air pocket.  Sputtering at the hot water spigot while you are doing this confirms the air pocket has been restored and the excess air is coming out of the spigot.

This works very well, and it simple to do. The air pocket in a hot water heater is absorbed over time. Do the empty hose thing a couple of times, until you get the sputtering at a hot water faucet. It costs nothing and adds a useful volume for expansion. I haven't added an accumulator but now make certain to "bubble" air into my water heater occasionally. It works!

Edited by mptjelgin
Can't spell "thorough"...

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1 hour ago, Lou Schneider said:

The problem is the one way check valve at the RV's cold water inlet.

A house doesn't have this, so the expanding water is free to push back against the incoming cold water as the tank is heated.  In an RV, the check valve blocks the push back, so the expanding water either compresses the air in the tank's air pocket, or if there's no room there the system pressure rises until something gives to relieve it.  Hopefully this is the release valve and not something else in the plumbing system.

Oletimer, I used a one gallon expansion tank I got at the hardware store.  It wasn't much more expensive than the one liter tank sold for RVs and it solved the weeping problem.

Pat and Pete, if you think the anode rod is the only source of tank flakes, I guess you haven't spent much time in the southwest deserts?  Filtering the incoming water only keeps out sand and other large particles, to stop deposits forming from the dissolved minerals in the water you need a full house active water softener or RO system.

I know better than to think things are absolute . 

I was simply addressing the rod as it was basically the only concern . ;)

I've looked at softeners and that sounds like the best way to go . We are on the road in the morning with a SW heading . So , I suspect we'll find out pretty soon just how accurate your water description is . ;)

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I just ordered and received THIS WATER SOFTENER and I just put it in operation yesterday. What a difference!! I was quite surprised when I pulled the anode out of my six month old trailer. It was pitted a lot and one part was almost 1/3 gone! Anyhow, the shower this morning felt just great. Even the coffee tastes better!

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11 hours ago, Mntom said:

I just ordered and received THIS WATER SOFTENER and I just put it in operation yesterday. What a difference!! I was quite surprised when I pulled the anode out of my six month old trailer. It was pitted a lot and one part was almost 1/3 gone! Anyhow, the shower this morning felt just great. Even the coffee tastes better!

Can you drain this softener for freeze protection?

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1 hour ago, noteven said:

Can you drain this softener for freeze protection?

I believe you can turn it upside down to drain it. No resin comes out during shipping and I am sure that it was turned every way you can imagine then. The instructions tell you to dump some water out before you add the salt so I am sure you can drain it.

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