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Old 09-12-2019, 12:31 AM   #1
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Flushing hot water heater

I have an Atwood hot water heater that works well. After one or more trips, I drain the heater, then with a water wand I will flush the tank vigorously several times to remove the hard water deposits. Since the drain plug is not at the bottom, it is not possible to remove all of the deposits, but when I am done only a few deposits remain. Because the tank is made of aluminum, an anode is not needed. Is there anything else I need to do, or will the few deposits that remain not be an issue so long as most are removed. I read that these deposits could gum up the check valve and prevent the flow of hot water.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:05 AM   #2
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Not being an expert, I would however think that what ever deposits are left will not harm the rest of the plumbing. I think the hot water enters the system from the top line and cold bottom line thus the deposits on the bottom should stay there. My other question if not on the bottom where is your drain plug?
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Old 09-12-2019, 06:47 PM   #3
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The drain plug is near the bottom. My guess is that after the tank is emptied, there is about an inch of water left. The wand scrubs the sides and should stir up the bottom so most of the sediment is flushed out. If the hot water is exiting from the top of thee tank, l hope that little if any sediment enters the system. I have heard that some fools have added vinegar to the tank to dissolve any remaining hard water deposits but that may not be necessary.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:31 AM   #4
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Not saying it would never happen, but I have flushed the tank yearly and yes there is stuff in that inch or so of water. I would not worry about it getting through the system. I think you will be sorry if you add vinegar, I would leave well enough alone.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:31 PM   #5
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Try a wet vac with a clear smaller hose connect to the larger vac hose and remove the sedimet and water.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:31 AM   #6
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Thanks. The wet vac is a good idea.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:24 PM   #7
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I flush mine once or twice a year with a wand & don't worry about what little is left in the bottom.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:07 PM   #8
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MIght consider going tankless!?
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:11 PM   #9
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In our Atwood WH I drain and flush it a couple times per year using a wand. I'll twist the wand around until I see little or no particles floating out. I place a bucket where the water pours out so any sediment will show up in the bottom.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:18 AM   #10
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I used to blast it out with air but found just turning the water back on and letting it run out for 5 minutes did the job. My water heater is 24 years old and I have replaced the control unit once.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ttowntoehead View Post
I used to blast it out with air but found just turning the water back on and letting it run out for 5 minutes did the job. My water heater is 24 years old and I have replaced the control unit once.
This is what I've done too -- run water through with the plug removed. But I'm only 10 years in on my current unit with no repairs.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:35 AM   #12
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water wand for rv use

my question is what wand do each of you use? those i have looked at have such a large spray head it would not fit into any removed drain plug and are barely practical for flushing/cleaning the toilet. Your ideas much appreciated.
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:20 AM   #13
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Check out the RV Geeks video on clean/flush for Atwood.

Simply shut off water pump or fresh water supply, TURN OFF gas/electricity to water heater, remove both the pressure relief valve and drain plug, drain, replace drain plug, add about 3-4 gallons of white vinegar through the pressure relief valve, and insert relief valve, then be sure to fill tank. Turn on electricity (or gas) and bring water heater to temp overnight. Next day, turn off electricity/gas, relieve pressure from valve, remove both (caution...hot water), then flush throughly with wand or tubing connected to hose. You'll be amazed at the amount of calcium and deposits that flow out of the drain valve. Our water supply filters with both a sediment and charcoal filters and, still, I'm amazed how much stuff is in there. Do this yearly before storage.
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:29 AM   #14
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You can purchase a wand at any rv supply store, or make one by using 1/2" tubing (about 2' long) attached to a brass 3/4" barbed female hose connection.
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Old 09-20-2019, 12:03 PM   #15
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Wand

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Originally Posted by rvbud View Post
You can purchase a wand at any rv supply store, or make one by using 1/2" tubing (about 2' long) attached to a brass 3/4" barbed female hose connection.
I made my wand the same way with 1/4 in copper tubing about 1.5 feet long. I purchased my motorhome used and I suspect that my 10 gal water heater had never been cleaned. I had a fresh water leak near the water heater and thought about replacing it. But the leak was before the water heater and it did not need to be replaced. At this time I drained and cleaned my water heater. There was so much sediment that came out of that tank. This is why I think it was never cleaned before. I did try the vinegar solution that the RV geeks recommended. I flushed the tank sever times and the hot water heater does work better. Now every six months I drain the water heater by removing the drain plug and then I insert my wand and turn the hose on full power. I still get sedimate to come out every time I flush the system, but it is not as much as the first time I did this.

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