Thursday, September 12, 2013


HWT = HOT WATER TANK (for anybody that doesn’t know).

This ‘little job’ took me THREE DAYS !!

I’m going to try to detail this ‘Saga’ as much as possible for a number of reasons:

1.  You can get a good laugh at my expense.

2.  You will wonder how on earth I manage to get out of bed and dress myself !!

3.  Possibly – just the remotest possibility – someone may learn something from all my MISTAKES !!

4.  It is Sassy’s (mis) adventures after all !!

I sanitized my Fresh Water Tank awhile back and in that Video they talked about NOT wanting to get the bleach in your HWT. Well “my mind” (‘da poor old thing) heard “You don’t have to do anything with your HWT”.

The other day Rita & Pat came by to visit again and somehow the flushing of an RV’s HWT came into the conversation.  I just love talking to other RV’ers because I almost always learn something new.

Prior to doing this I could open the door to the HWT and nothing in there meant anything to me.


So I got the required 5 Gallons of Vinegar and the proper wand to flush out the tank.


You can buy this wand at Camping World for $5.99. You can even get it on Amazon for $8.05. How much did I have to pay for it here in Canada ?? $17.95 plus tax of course !!! Only in Canada eh !

I already had this from my Class C – this was used to fill my fresh water tank in that rig.


And that probably would have been just fine – but OH NO – little MISS PERFECT here had to have the exact right gizmo.

I proceeded to watch the YouTube video – a gazillion times to ensure I had everything needed and had a general, basic idea of what I was about to do.

I released the Pressure and drained the tank as instructed.  As you can see the water coming out was quite clear.  I was surprised as this is the first time I’ve done this and I’ve had the RV over two years now.  And it is very unlikely that the previous Owner ever did it !!

So now the next step is to get the vinegar into the HWT.

There are three valves inside where the actual tank is and although there was no mention on the video that I had to touch any of these, MISS NEUROTIC here had to go on one of the RV Forum with this pic to verity FOR SURE that I didn’t have to alter any of those.


All I had to do was adjust these two levers.


But were those instructions good enough for me ?  Oh NO !!  MISS PARANOID here had to go on the RV Website AGAIN with this picture to confirm.


FINALLY I’m ready to begin and the first problem I encountered was that is sucked up 4 of the gallons and then stopped ??  It wouldn’t suck up that last gallon.  I was to discover the reason why later.


So I turned on the valve that fills the fresh water tank and it sucked up the last gallon lickiety split !  It made sense at the time !!!!  BUT where was that gallon of vinegar going ???

BTW, Throughout this whole process I had a Supervisor watching my every move:


And Bennie was front and centre helping out in any way he could:


OK, So now the vinegar is into the system (although gawd knows where that last gallon went ??) and I’m ready to turn on the city water to fill up the tank.

You’re supposed to wait until you see water coming out of the over-flow valve.


And I waited and waited and waited – NOTHING was coming out.  E-mails went flying back and forth to Rita/Pat again.  Where was the water going ?????

After at least an hour or more I finally gave up and figured the damn tank HAD to be full.  When I went to close the over-flow valve I saw my MISTAKE.  The little handle on this valve is supposed to be straight out and NOT all the way back.  We figured that because it was all the way back was also the reason for not taking that last gallon of vinegar.

I continued following the instructions on the Video and FINALLY I’m done…….or so I thought.

PROBLEM ONE: I’m running and running the water through all the taps and I’m still smelling vinegar and the water is still coming out foamy.

PROBLEM TWO:  NO HOT WATER.  I turn on the switch to heat up the water so I can do the dishes and it wouldn’t heat up.  I had it on for a LONG time.  Usually the water is scalding hot within 10 or 20 minutes at the most.

PROBLEM THREE:  Trying the propane switch – that didn’t work either !!  You can hear the propane cutting in but it cut out almost immediately.


The following day I drained, rinsed and re-filled AGAIN to get more of the vinegar out of the system. But still no Hot Water. 



‘Cause when it comes to problems with Sassy’s rig Super-Joe gets mean !!

So Joe comes by the following day to check on another matter for me and I tell him about the NO HOT WATER.

He explains that it would take MUCH longer to heat up because the tank had been totally emptied and filled with COLD water.  OK, So that makes sense and sure enough eventually the water did heat up by the following day.  But it didn’t explain why the propane kept going out ??  And no, it wasn’t because the water had reached the proper temperature which would make it cut out – the water wasn’t even lukewarm.

Actually it was only today (Wednesday) did the propane finally stay on – and I tried it numerous times over the last days.  I guess that’s one mystery that may never be solved.

Now Joe goes to check out what he originally came by to look at for me.  Two problems actually:

1.  My fresh water tank takes a L O N G time to fill up – and it’s getting worse.  It’s taking HOURS now.  I had a pressure regulator on it (like I was told to do) and I thought that was the reason.  But when I took that off the hose wouldn’t stay attached.

2.  Why wouldn’t the hose stay attached ?


One part was an easy solution.  The thread on the hose is not that great (I need a new hose) and with some effort Joe was able to get it screwed on whereby it stayed on.

But now he’s really puzzled about the length of time it takes to fill the fresh water tank.  And when there’s a mystery to be solved SUPER-JOE doesn’t give up and gets all riled up until he figures it out.


First of all he asks why I have the water pump on when I’m filling my fresh water tank.  Ahhhh – Hmmmm – Errrrr -  Heck I dunno – someone must have told me I needed to have it on ?  My Class C needed it on ??  The tank wouldn’t fill unless I had it on ??

Joe tells me DEFINITELY I do not need the water pump on.  So we try a couple of different things whereby I have to turn the city water on and off as instructed.  One time I was supposed to turn it off and obviously turned it in the wrong direction.

OOOOOPPPSSSSS  SUPER-JOE got an unasked for shower…..

You can’t really tell by this pic – but he’s drenched from head to foot.


Here’s a pic after it’s all done….


Now he’s REALLY getting pissed of because he can’t figure out why my fresh water tank takes so long to fill….


He eventually asks me when was the last time I changed the water filter ?


Ahhhh – Hmmmm – Errrrr  NEVER !!!  Why do I need to change the water filter if I don’t drink the water from the tap ?  He explains to me that ALL water going into the tank goes through this filter FIRST.  Once he removed the water filter he saw that it was almost completely clogged – hence water going into the tank S L O W L Y !!!

There was even a brand new (which I knew was there) water filter sitting right next to it unopened.  Once he put the new filter on VABOOOOM water flows in quickly.

And here all I wanted to do was flush out my HWT !!

Time to publish this post as I’ve been drafting it now for several days as I keep forgetting things.  And I’m sure there are still parts to this story that I’ve forgotten !!


  1. When the Certified RV tech flushed my HWH last year, he just removed the anode rod and the water flowed out. He then put that nozzle thing on the end of the hose and kept flushing it out until it ran out clear. He didn't use, or even mention, vinegar. I'm not going to use vinegar when I flush out mine, that's not in the directions of my HWH manual.

    But what concerns me about your photos, is that I think you have the wrong anode rod. There should be wear on that rod after two years, and I'm thinking it's not magnesium, which it should be. Otherwise, the chemicals in the water tank are eating away at your tank, instead of the anode rod. Please check your documents for the HWH and see what kind they recommend, and then get that one and replace your current one. Your HWH looks different than mine, so you might have a different Suburban number, but my understanding is that it should be magnesium. It wouldn't have that cross thing on the end, just a screw top.

    Now... if I could just get my generator working!!! :(

    1. Barbara, Mine is the Atwood water heater and they do not have an anode rod. The Suburban does though. Perhaps that's why you don't flush out the Suburban hot water tank with vinegar because the anode rod collects the gunk ??

      The RVGEEKS have a video on YouTube about flushiing out a Suburban hot water tank but I haven't watched it.

      What's wrong with your generator ?? I'll have to go check your Blog to see what the problem is.

  2. Oh, okay, good! I did watch their video - you put the link for us - but I only watched the one for Suburban HWH. Sorry - I was getting worried that you were ruining your tank. LOL.

    The clutch on my generator keeps pointing in the wrong direction and I have to manually move it over when I start it. From the outside of the rig. PAIN IN THE A**! At least that's one thing. I just paid $230 for a "Level II" service at an Onan facility in Albuquerque. I don't know what they did, but it's been a problem ever since. Never had this problem before. But not worth spending the time and money driving back there. :(

  3. Glad you found out why your water fill was so slow. Mine is a pressure regulator stuck on too low a setting. May need to buy a new regulator. Did you buy a new filter refill so as to be ready to change it next time? I need to do that, too. Guess I'd better get shopping.

    1. Linda, I'll be waiting until I'm SOUTH of the border to get a new filter - EVERYTHING is cheaper than it is here !!

  4. We have the same kind of HWH that Barbara does so no vinegar for us. So glad Super Joe was able to determine the problem was a clogged filter. It's a good thing he likes you after that shower. Jim got one today here in the campground when he accidentally turned the sprinklers on.

  5. I sounded like a crime novel to me! Lots of tension - what will the outcome be? Murder? But as a real good novel in the end everything turns out to be fine! Great reading. :))

  6. Replies
    1. Ya, But it will be soooo much easier the next time....right ???

  7. got me thinking....does my 5th wheel have one of these filter things.....if you are on city water you normally are bi-passing your holding tank and as this is constant pressure don't require your pump......