A good many RVs have water heaters made by Atwood with either 6 or 10 gallons tanks. Atwood water
heaters work just fine, but have no tolerance for freezing temperatures. Forget to drain the water heater during a freeze and you will end up having the existing tank welded, installing a new tank, or buying a entire water heater.
Naturally most dealerships would prefer to sell you an entire water heater. Since my business plan depends on trying to find ways to save my customers money and because I am fast at pulling and installing water heaters, I always try to have the existing tank repaired. Did you know you can have the tank welded, if it splits during a freeze? Most folks didn’t know and most dealers won’t tell you.
If you are lucky, as I was with the water heater in the graphics, I did not have to disassemble the water heater as the split was where the element screws into the tank. If the split is not readily visible, it will be necessary to take everything off the front (exterior side) of the water heater to completely expose the tank. On a good day, I can normally do that in 15 minutes or less and can put everything back together in about 20-30 minutes, after the tank is welded. You do have to install new clamp rings, which go over the burner tube on both ends. Not always easy the first time, but they basically are tapped into place until they fit tightly down on the burner tube clamping it to the pan.
A welded tank will last every bit as long as the new tank, but next time, try to remember to drain the water heater.
Questions or comments are welcome in the comment box. I will get back to you!
Steve (Mobility RV Service 423.341.8792)