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Author Topic: I need to patch pin hole leak in water heater  (Read 5049 times)
John Z
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« on: May 28, 2007, 08:27:59 PM »

Fired up my Atwood water heater heater, and noticed a pin hole weeping water. Am wondering what materials you have used with success to patch this kind of leak. My first thought is to try JB Weld, but thought you may have a better product to try. TIA
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2007, 04:46:58 AM »

   A friend repaired his water heater, but I do not remember what he used. The reason I am posting this to to tell you that less than a year later, he had another leak. This time he replaced the water heater.  If the pinhole leak developed from the inside, there must be other areas that are almost ready to start leaking. How long before you have to repair another leak? Where will you be when it starts leaking again?
   If it is obvious the leak occurred from outside, such as something rubbing against the tank, please ignore what I wrote above.  Jack
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2007, 05:04:40 AM »

Aluminum water heater tanks don't last long with the wrong kind of water. The easiest emergency repair is a sheet metal screw with a piece of rubber under the head.
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2007, 05:39:16 AM »

I know that you don't want to hear this, But
If you already have a leak, Just replace the water heater.

The metal is already very thin due to the way the tanks are made,
any attempts at patching will probably not hold for long due to internal
corrosion. Welding, Glueing or inserting screws will be futile because some other
weak place will spring a leak probably just from handling the tank to fix the first
leak. It is paper thin when new, a little corrosion just makes it thinner.

Your tank is probably old and either the anode rod is gone or never was installed.
These help prevent corrosion if they are in place. The raw aluminum inside the tank
will degrade faster if you have chlorinated water.

3 to 5 years is about average for replacement, some last longer but only a few of the
older designs with the heavier metal tanks. Besides the new water heaters are more
energy efficient than the old ones. Time to change.

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John Z
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2007, 05:57:23 AM »

Thanks guys for the reality check. I think i will just put a screw into it for this weekend, as we are planning a trip to a charity bicycle event. It should hopd up for the weekend anyway. I don't expect there to be electric available to use the elec heater.

Then i will get on the net and do some shopping for a new one. Do you guys have any info on how good the combination gas/elec ones work? I would love to free up the space in the basement by getting rid of the home style elec unit.

Any preference for brand, Suburban vs Atwood, or any others?

Any thing else i should be looking at while shopping, or tips on where to buy?

I appreciate the good advice and am sure you have saved me much frustration.
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Dale MC8
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2007, 08:35:13 AM »

John, while you are searching the net for a replacement water heater, check out the "on-demand" style. These units have no tank and heat water as it is needed, as long as it is needed. The last time I looked there was one available that would fit right into the space needed for a 10 gallon unit. Kinda pricey, but the name of the game is neat stuff for your bus! Wink
HTH. Dale MC8
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2007, 06:34:19 PM »

There was a post on here about an instant water heater and it got rave reviews (Tiny Titan I think) so when I saw one at Lowes I stopped to look at it.

While looking I also looked for replacement heating elements and couldn't find any, So I asked an employee and his answer was that "they don't carry the replacement elements".

Well there went that idea, I don't want anything I can't find repair parts for.

So before you buy you might want to look at availability of heating elements.

Ed.
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2007, 07:34:33 PM »

Fired up my Atwood water heater heater, and noticed a pin hole weeping water. Am wondering what materials you have used with success to patch this kind of leak. My first thought is to try JB Weld, but thought you may have a better product to try. TIA

Thanks guys for the reality check. I think i will just put a screw into it for this weekend, as we are planning a trip to a charity bicycle event. It should hopd up for the weekend anyway. I don't expect there to be electric available to use the elec heater.

Then i will get on the net and do some shopping for a new one. Do you guys have any info on how good the combination gas/elec ones work? I would love to free up the space in the basement by getting rid of the home style elec unit.
Any preference for brand, Suburban vs Atwood, or any others?

Any thing else i should be looking at while shopping, or tips on where to buy?

I appreciate the good advice and am sure you have saved me much frustration.
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John Z
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2007, 08:22:45 PM »

Nope, i have an Atwood propane heater (the one with the leak) and also a home elec unit in the basement.
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Sam 4106
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2007, 05:30:38 PM »

Hi John Z,
While visiting my sister, she asked me to fix the leak in her Atwood water heater. I removed it, took the cardboard cover and thin blanket of insulation off and found the leak. I took the tank to a welding shop that welds aluminum, had them roll a patch that came about a third of the way up the sides and the length of the tank, and weld it on. It lasted as long as she had that motorhome. If you do that, be sure to test for leaks with compressed air before puting water back in it. It is very hard to fix a leak once water is between the tank and the patch. On another occassion we had a leak in our Atwood water heater at the inlet pipe, which cracked from a faulty factory weld. I had it welded and it is still in use two years later. On our own heater I threw away the cardboard cover and the thin fiberglass insulation and made a new enclosure from aluminum foil covered 1" urathane foam and aluminum tape. I now have a much better insulated enclosure than came from the factory. That wouldn't work if your heater is built in but mine is in the bay with nothing too near it so it worked for me. In both cases the welding repair was $20, but a new water heater was over $350. The new enclosure was about $18 with a lot of both foam and tape left over. I know that some of you believe in trowing things away and buying new but I like to try to fix things first. But then, along with being cheap, I enjoy the challenge of diagnosing and fixing things.
Good luck, Sam 4106
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2007, 07:00:58 PM »

Ed, I just saw your comment about the availability of replacement parts for the Titan.  I may be all wet (so to speak in a water heater thread), but we have a plumbing specialty shop here that carries all types of weird/specialty stuff that the mass merchandisers won't carry.  If it's not available at Lowes/Home Depot, might replacement parts be available through the manufacturer or some specialty shop?

If you want, call Beeco Plumbing Supply - I'm not sure if they're physically in Dallas, Farmers Branch, or Carrollton TX (if an internet search doesn't yield the phone number, I can look it up).  I suspect that if they don't have it or know a source, it doesn't exist.

By the way, the water heater that came with our 4107 has a loop for engine coolant - run all day and have nice warm shower the next morning, with no electricity.  When I have a problem with the current unit, I'd lean toward replacing it in kind.  I believe they're called Marine water heaters, but I've been wrong before (probably even within the last five minutes).

Arthur
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2007, 07:53:18 PM »

There are many items that are used in a conversion that the dealer selling the product does not carry the spare parts for it. Even at Sears you have to order parts. I really do not see that that would be a reason to not buy a desired product. If it fails you order a repacement part and usually get it in a couple of days.
Richard
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2007, 08:42:04 PM »

Ed I too just read your comments on the Titan water Heater and it's parts availability. I look at it this way. I have had mine in use and ON full time even though the bus has been parked more than run for the last 3 years and it hasn't failed me yet, so I figure I have already gotten my monies worth from it at the cost of I believe $149.00 or there abouts IF that much, and IF and when the time comes for a repair, I think I could just buy a new one and do it all over again instead of stressing over who has the parts and who doesn't! I mean, the thing works great, takes up little space, has a plastic exterior (don't know what's inside) and kind of attractive over the normal water heaters. For the few bucks they cost, they are well worth it and it got tested this past weekend and it recouped almost instantly if not!

Ace

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Dale MC8
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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2007, 09:17:09 PM »

The unit I was thinking about (I just Googled it) is a propane fired water heater - Precision Temp RV 500. It has no elements that need replacing.

There are very efficent water heaters that have both an electric element AND a propane burner. You can use either or both. There is not a lot, if any, differance in performance between brands.

If your water heater is new enough to think about repair, pressure testing is not always enough of a test, hook it up and get it up to operating temp while testing. I remember testing a brand new unit for (it seems) days without finding the pinhole leak. When I fired it up there was a leak in one of the weld joints.

Just more stuff to think about.

Dale MC8

ps what happened to the spell check? I know I need it, but can't find it. I used it in the past I'm sure
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2007, 05:42:29 AM »

Quote
what happened to the spell check? I know I need it, but can't find it. I used it in the past I'm sure
Just to the right of the post button. I just tried it and it works. It shows that you have four mis-spelled words. LOL
Richard



 
The unit I was thinking about (I just Googled it) is a propane fired water heater - Precision Temp RV 500. It has no elements that need replacing.

There are very efficent water heaters that have both an electric element AND a propane burner. You can use either or both. There is not a lot, if any, differance in performance between brands.

If your water heater is new enough to think about repair, pressure testing is not always enough of a test, hook it up and get it up to operating temp while testing. I remember testing a brand new unit for (it seems) days without finding the pinhole leak. When I fired it up there was a leak in one of the weld joints.

Just more stuff to think about.

Dale MC8

ps what happened to the spell check? I know I need it, but can't find it. I used it in the past I'm sure
« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 05:52:32 AM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged

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