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Old 11-11-2015, 11:12 PM   #1
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Water System Cleaning

Hi, all. In going through our new-to-us 17B, it has come to my attention that some preventive maintenance may have been overlooked by the former owners. Of most immediate concern is the fresh water system. Upon receipt of the trailer, the taps discharged suspicious green matter, algae-like in appearance. I sanitized the system with bleach per the ETI instructions - twice; whereupon the suspicious green discharge was replaced by bleached-white algae-like bits. I flushed the system a bunch and think the algae is gone, but there's a second issue: Draining the hot water heater released a surprising quantity of white, solid chunks, ranging in size from sand to a child's finger. I suspect they are calcium deposits? But am still surprised at how much came out. Not sure if they are, in fact, all out, although I filled the water heater and dumped it through the drain hole repeatedly. It's impressive how forcefully it shoots out if you pull the plug on a full tank! Like a mini firehose. The high flow flushed a lot of the ick out.

So questions: How did this happen? What else can I do to clean it? Do I need to worry about permanent damage?

I always try to take good care of my things, and they usually last a long time because of it. It's a bit frustrating to inherit problems that are most likely due to someone else's lack of proper care.

Thanks in advance for any help!

-Scott
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:23 PM   #2
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I'm thinking flushing the tank with this might help.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

More experienced owners will chime in.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:58 PM   #3
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Can't speak to the green stuff but you have done just what I would have done in sanitizing. The hot water tank emits that white stuff every year during the flush. Not uncommon. Just make sure your anode rod has an adequate amount of sacrificial material left for the coming season of camping. And be sure to use Teflon tape around the threads when reinserting the rod/plug.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:26 AM   #4
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Did you find an anode rod like this? Or did it fall apart and leave pieces in the tank?
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:38 AM   #5
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If you compare a new anode rod with the one you took out you'll see how much of the anode became those white chunks.
no biggie, we all see the white chunks when we winterize the trailer.
I would and have done the same as you to clean a fresh water tank. And I would just repeat it after a good drive to slosh the bleach around. and then, for awhile just drink and cook with bottled water. Until it really seemed to be clean.
You might want to see if your water pump has a strainer, it has a glass window, to see if it is clean as well.
After that I only put city water into my fresh tank. I think because the city water has already been treated and there is a little something left in the water.
Our community has a well that we test every week and about every month we have to open the valves at the farthest ends of the system to flush stale water out. Or about after two or three months we get bad weekly readings.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
Hi, all. In going through our new-to-us 17B, it has come to my attention that some preventive maintenance may have been overlooked by the former owners. Of most immediate concern is the fresh water system. Upon receipt of the trailer, the taps discharged suspicious green matter, algae-like in appearance. I sanitized the system with bleach per the ETI instructions - twice; whereupon the suspicious green discharge was replaced by bleached-white algae-like bits. I flushed the system a bunch and think the algae is gone, but there's a second issue: Draining the hot water heater released a surprising quantity of white, solid chunks, ranging in size from sand to a child's finger. I suspect they are calcium deposits? But am still surprised at how much came out. Not sure if they are, in fact, all out, although I filled the water heater and dumped it through the drain hole repeatedly. It's impressive how forcefully it shoots out if you pull the plug on a full tank! Like a mini firehose. The high flow flushed a lot of the ick out.

So questions: How did this happen? What else can I do to clean it? Do I need to worry about permanent damage?

I always try to take good care of my things, and they usually last a long time because of it. It's a bit frustrating to inherit problems that are most likely due to someone else's lack of proper care.

Thanks in advance for any help!

-Scott
Hi:sclifrickson... The algae comes from leaving the water hose laying out in the sun while hooked up. This happens to us in Florida each year. Our well water supply at home contains no bleach so we must rely on park water systems for it.
The hard water minerals in the hot water heater do need flushing out regularly. I pull the anode rod/drain plug out slowly to let the pressure off, and then take my garden hose pistol and shoot water in thru the plug hole... then allow the water to flow out and repeat this till no more white crystals come out. It's still hard to get all the hard water deposits out even with repeated flushing. Then I replace the anode rod with a new one from my RV supply Tech. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:58 AM   #7
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Does it really matter that there is some anode material or other minerals in the bottom of the water heater tank?
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:01 AM   #8
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Does it really matter that there is some anode material or other minerals in the bottom of the water heater tank?
Hi: gbaglo... It's simply "Mind over matter". If you don't mind it doesn't matter!!! Alf
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:07 AM   #9
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I figure some stuff comes out when I remove the anode to winterize. The rest freezes its atoms off.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Klem View Post
Did you find an anode rod like this? Or did it fall apart and leave pieces in the tank?

Yes, the current anode rod is intact, I'd estimate it's about 90% of a new one.

Much appreciation to everyone for educating me. I'm relieved to learn that the white chunks are normal! I will check the pump as well to see if it has a screen to clean or not.

Cheers,
Scott
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