If you're a new RV owner, it's important that you understand the differences in the hot water system of your RV as compared to your home. Although you might be used to the standard hot water heaters that you'd find in a home, the unit you'll find in the RV is different. Not only is an RV hot water heater much smaller, but they also require specialized care to avoid damaging the aluminum liner. Here are some tips to help you protect your RV's hot water system.
Drain the Tank Before a Freeze
When you prepare your RV for the winter, it's important that you remember to drain the hot water tank. Some first-time RV owners will drain the primary water tank and the lines, but forget to drain the heater tank. Forgetting to drain the tank will cause the water inside to freeze. Since water expands when it freezes, you risk the pressure from that expansion cracking the aluminum liner.
Fill the Tank in the Spring
Once you've drained the tank for the winter, you'll have to make sure that you refill it before you head out for your first spring trip. Some RV hot water tanks have a bypass valve that keeps water out of the heater when there's no active gas fueling the system. Open that valve before you light the hot water tank burner, otherwise you risk having the burner heat an empty tank. The rapid heat accumulation inside the empty tank can melt the aluminum liner.
Check the Anode Rod
If you have hard water, or you frequent campgrounds that have hard water, your aluminum tank liner is going to suffer wear and tear from the minerals over time. The persistent mineral exposure in the water can lead to corrosion, cracks and leaking tanks. The best way to manage hard water damage is by installing an anode rod in your hot water tank. Check the condition of the rod at the start of every season and replace it if it appears corroded or worn. Most of the RV water tanks have anode rods that attach to the tank's drain plug, making it easy to access for inspection and replacement.
Although you can replace the aluminum liner, it requires extensive labor to disassemble the entire hot water tank. You might find that you can get a new tank for nearly the same cost. With the tips presented here, you can protect the condition of your tank and save on the costs of water damage repair and tank replacement. To learn more, talk to a company that specializes in RV repair, such as Auto-Truck Services Inc.