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Old 05-19-2024, 10:25 AM   #1
PlaneCrashLaw
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Water Heater Leaks: Connections Good?

2021 3120 with Suburban SW12DELC. Developed a sudden dripping leak appearing from the bottom front of the water heater location. Drips are falling onto the I beam and straight down to the open sheet metal base below, roughly between the furnace and the water heater and puddling on the ground. The floor under the heater as viewed from the pantry access panel is damp, but not wet.

The red and blue connections are on the back are dry and tight. The connections from the convenience center, including those to the bypass valve and to the inlet are dry and tight. Shutting off the bypass stops the leak.

In short, every visible connection appears correct. I suspect an internal crack or failure internal to the heater itself, when pressurized. But am I missing any other possible leak locations, like hidden connections in other locations, or any other step in the troubleshooting tree I should try?

Am about to pull the trigger on a new water heater today to replace over Memorial Day. Any advice is appreciated.
 
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Old 05-19-2024, 10:48 AM   #2
Carl n Susan
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Is there a steady drip or does it come and go (like when the WH is recovering from use)? The Over Pressure Valve does have a tendency to leak but the water normally flows out under the access door. If the seal at the bottom of the tank which isolates the WH from the floor of the RV is broken, I can see how it might drip out onto the frame.
Are there any pictures for us to look at?
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Old 05-19-2024, 11:12 AM   #3
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The area on the outside, where the relief valve is located, is completely dry. The door frame is completely sealed. The arrows indicate the drips, which are coming from the inside and are not on the external surface.

The leak is minimal when on internal water with the pump not feeding. It is highest on City Water. It looks like pressure impacts it more than anything else. If fact, this is our third trip this season without incident, but perhaps the pressure of being on City Water for the first time pushed things over the edge.
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Old 05-19-2024, 12:04 PM   #4
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Well if everything is dry inside the cover, as in the picture below, and the fittings around the In/Out pipes are dry, then a crack seems to be only other possible source of a leak.

But it seems the floor under the WH would be a lot wetter given the drip in the picture.
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Old 05-19-2024, 12:48 PM   #5
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I had to replace our water heater in 2016 due to a crack in the tank. It appears to have been leaking from a bad weld where the gas burner tube was welded to the body of the tank. This is a photo of the failed tank.
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Old 05-20-2024, 05:41 PM   #6
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Just brace yourself if you have to replace the heater. I talked to my dealer a few weeks ago about doing this. He said it is pretty easy to do - maybe 2 hours. HOWEVER, he said the price of the heater is crazy these days - in the area of $2000! I agree - crazy.
Hope you can find a fix.
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Old 05-20-2024, 05:45 PM   #7
mhs4771
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I just did a quick web search, 12 gal suburban gas/electric $500 to $700 at numerous places.
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Old 05-20-2024, 06:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhs4771 View Post
I just did a quick web search, 12 gal suburban gas/electric $500 to $700 at numerous places.
This is what I am getting seeing on Amazon. Appears to be the lowest price.

Suburban Water Heater, 12 Gal, w/Inside 12v Relay, SW12DEL, Single Pack 5248A
Brand: SUBURBAN MFG

$598.99

Still sucks to have to replace a 3 year old unit. Might be able to do tankless for the same or less. Considering it.
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Old 05-20-2024, 08:04 PM   #9
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Apparently my dealer has a HIGH markup!
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Old 05-20-2024, 08:29 PM   #10
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Hopefully he was thinking installed price. But still …….
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Old 05-26-2024, 01:24 PM   #11
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I have a 2022 Montana with the same water heater. I had water coming out around the furnace when the rig was new. After much investigation, I found that the shower wasn't sealed at the factory, my point being; does it happen after a shower? Might be worth taking a look at since it's so intermittent.
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Old 05-26-2024, 02:12 PM   #12
PlaneCrashLaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeis48 View Post
I have a 2022 Montana with the same water heater. I had water coming out around the furnace when the rig was new. After much investigation, I found that the shower wasn't sealed at the factory, my point being; does it happen after a shower? Might be worth taking a look at since it's so intermittent.
Thanks for the hint. But the only thing that matters is whether or not the water heater bypass valve is on. Set to bypass, it doesnít leak. And otherwise, it holds water. But the second you turn the valve to allow cold water to go to the heater, it rains. Line pressure is enough.

Iím going to pull it and see if there is a crack high up. Maybe Iíll get lucky and the pressure relief valve connection to the tank is loose?
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Old 05-26-2024, 03:09 PM   #13
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I have a 2018 3701LK with same water heater and had to replace it twice because of the seams leaking. The last one was in the fire tube and dripping outside. The first one leaked both inside behind the fireplace and outside. The leak was at the seam where the 2 Halves were welded together.
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Old 05-26-2024, 03:10 PM   #14
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Make sure you replace the anode rods. I do mine ever 4 months now
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Old 06-07-2024, 05:18 PM   #15
cumminalong
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Water heater

We had a leaking water heater also rusted out in a 2013 when it was only 4yrs old ,replaced it with a Dometic aluminum 10 gal ,no more android plugs to change with rusty threads that won't tighten up,no more rusty water ,heats up quicker
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