Did I destroy my hot water heater?

Sep 22, 2019
80
South Central PA
So we just got to the campsite and it’s the first colder weekend we’ve camped this year. I’ve never used the propane hot water heater in our camper before. I figured out how to turn on the heat to the water heater and let it run for a minute( prob no more than 3 minutes), then turned it off. I remembered that I never turned the valves to in bypass the water heater. I go inside and the whole tank is gushing water. I quickly turned it off and cleaned up the water but now I’m wondering if the 3 minutes I had the heat turned on low with no water in it burned a hole in it. Any opinions or could someone tell me how to check? 2015 Jayco Jay series 1007UD
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,243
Nj
You could remove it, but thats not exactly easy. It could be broke or a broken line, or shut off. No way to tell unless you fill it. You could maybe try compressed air? But that will be harder to acess.
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,737
Northern Virginia
Personally I don’t think it’s something you did since you never used it before until now. The hard part is identifying where the leak is. I’m leaning towards a loose waterline to the tank or something wasn’t winterized properly. That’s assuming the leak is generalized in where the tank is sitting. Good luck.
 
Sep 22, 2019
80
South Central PA
I have a full hookup site and the camper is currently hooked up to a spigot and no leaks once the hot water heater bypass valve is engaged. I made sure all the connections were tight to and from the water heater. My guess is that it’s underneath??? Not sure what that would be unless there’s a crack in the tank
 

tzmartin

Not here for a long time but here for a good time!
Sep 9, 2015
1,408
Clayton, Georgia
Turn the water on a 1/4 turn from the bypass and see where the leak is coming from. I'm betting on a broken fitting to the tank.
 
Sep 22, 2019
80
South Central PA
Yes it is the first time using it since winterizing last year. Was planning on using it a lot more this year but Covid has other plans. It was winterized by blowing it out with an air compressor set at a low PSI then running Rv antifreeze though the lines. I’ll take a look for a cracked fitting since they are all definitely tight
 

stierheim

Member
Apr 22, 2013
58
Yes it is the first time using it since winterizing last year. Was planning on using it a lot more this year but Covid has other plans. It was winterized by blowing it out with an air compressor set at a low PSI then running Rv antifreeze though the lines. I’ll take a look for a cracked fitting since they are all definitely tight

If only left on heating for a few minutes it is highly unlikely that damaged it.

It is possible that it was not winterized properly. You state that it was winterized by using air to blow it out. You can't winterized a hot water tank using air pressure. If the tank is plumbed correctly, the lower fitting will be the cold inlet and the upper fitting will be the hot water outlet. If you use air to drain it, then it can only drain down to the upper fitting, leaving most of the water in the tank. It would take a lot of RV antifreeze to protect that amount of water. Unfortunately, if this was the case, then the tank may have split due to freezing.

To drain the hot water tank you have to bypass it and then remove or open the drain plug. If the tank uses an anode rod, then removing the rod is how they are drained. You add the RV antifreeze after the tank is bypassed since no antifreeze is needed in a drained tank.
 
Sep 22, 2019
80
South Central PA
If only left on heating for a few minutes it is highly unlikely that damaged it.

It is possible that it was not winterized properly. You state that it was winterized by using air to blow it out. You can't winterized a hot water tank using air pressure. If the tank is plumbed correctly, the lower fitting will be the cold inlet and the upper fitting will be the hot water outlet. If you use air to drain it, then it can only drain down to the upper fitting, leaving most of the water in the tank. It would take a lot of RV antifreeze to protect that amount of water. Unfortunately, if this was the case, then the tank may have split due to freezing.

To drain the hot water tank you have to bypass it and then remove or open the drain plug. If the tank uses an anode rod, then removing the rod is how they are drained. You add the RV antifreeze after the tank is bypassed since no antifreeze is needed in a drained tank.

I drained the hot water heater using the external drain plug before winterizing last year.
 
Sep 22, 2019
80
South Central PA
Well I ran air through it and it appears that the fittings are still good and aren’t leaking. It looks like the water is coming from an area of the tank that we can’t see or reach so we are now going to remove the hot water heater and see what we find.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,243
Nj
So when you fill it with air it leaks and dosent build up pressure? Not much to the tank, inlet, outlet, and the presure relief valve and the anode, other then that the tank is the only thing left? Thats not good news.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,243
Nj
That would be my guess also, i dont think you broke it. That looks like a giant split. Time to look for replacement options. I feel for you.
 




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