Water Heater Fixed

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Malcolm stayed home from work this morning to fix the leaking backflow valve on the hot water heater. Last night, after opening the basement wall and trying to unscrew the valve from the hot water tank, it broke off. Between it being dark and too late to run to the hardware store, he left it as it was and turned off the water to the trailer. We kept a container of water next to the toilet overnight to flush with.

The broken piece. The piece to the left needed to be extracted from the hot water outlet.

The broken piece. The piece to the left needed to be extracted from the hot water outlet.

This morning, Malcolm got up and went to Lowes to grab the necessary plumbing fixtures – a brass backflow valve and a couple of couplers. He also picked up a PVC nipple extractor to use for removing the remaining plastic from the water tank. Then it was back to the trailer. The extractor just wasn’t doing the job. Having searched the Heartland Owners’ Club forum on the issue, Malcolm found that some people had luck getting the piece out by heating it up with a torch.

Dampness from the hot water heater leaking.

Dampness from the hot water heater leaking.

So, it was off to Lowes again (fortunately only about 5 miles away) to get a small butane torch. Malcolm also picked up a replacement plug for the hot water tank drain, since the original nylon one had gotten cross-threaded. Then, back to work on the stubborn part. Heating it up didn’t help, either. The biggest problem is that there is only so much force one can apply reaching up into the basement from the storage area.

Pulled the hot water heater out.

Pulled the hot water heater out.

Malcolm decided that pulling the hot water heater out would help with the required leverage needed to extract the plastic part and he was right. After pulling the unit and tipping it down onto a couple of the basement totes, he had the plastic piece out in about 2 minutes (this, after working on it for a couple hours).



With the plastic piece out, the threads were clean, so it was in with the new brass pieces.

New brass fittings and backflow valve.

New brass fittings and backflow valve.

One more trip, this time to WalMart to get some RV sealant (didn’t find any, so general purpose beige outdoor silicone sealant was used instead) and the water heater was re-installed. The water lines were hooked up and water flowed back into the system. Air was purged from the lines by running all the faucets in turn.

The output had one small drop of water formed after a couple of minutes, so there is a very, very minute leak. Malcolm will get back in there in a couple days (when we’re not so busy) and tighten the fitting down a little more.

Malcolm turned on both the electric and gas heaters to warm up the water and everything seemed to be fine. He took a shower and we headed to lunch at Taco Bell before Malcolm went on to work for the rest of the day.

This evening, we took our son to Springhouse Restaurant to celebrate his birthday and Mother’s Day. Excellent meal, as always. Fairly pricey, so we only go there for special occasions.



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