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Old 06-25-2017, 08:44 PM   #1
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Will vinegar knock loose mineral deposits in hot water heater?

Hi All,

I'm planning to sanitize my fresh water system via the generally recommended method of putting a bleach solution into the fresh tank and running hot/cold faucets until chlorine hits the taps, then waiting, then flushing.

The SMB manual specifies such a procedure including an optional vinegar-based step for getting rid of the chlorine taste/smell.

Note that the vinegar step (at link above) leaves vinegar to swish around the fresh tank for a while, but does not send the vinegar solution through the water heater and pipes to soak.

My questions:
- Would a vinegar solution be liable to set loose mineral deposits (inside the H2O heater) that would travel downstream and weasel into valves causing problems down the line? If so, would the vinegar have to sit in the H2O heater for a while to loosen deposits?
- Would it be safer to drain a vinegar solution directly from the freshie tank without sending it through the rest of the system?
- H2O Heater Maintenance: Does anybody here actually clean (w/vinegar) their H2O heater themselves (like I saw on a youtube video ;-)? and/or replace the anode routinely? It's the type of thing that likely hasn't been done for years and years (if at all) on this rig. (Haven't dug thru really old receipts yet.)

I know ... if it ain't broke, don't fix it ... but I want to be sure not to send a bunch of hard particles down the line into the kitchen faucet valve, while in the process of cleaning out the water system. And I would like to observe any maintenance (beyond drain yearly, which is the only SMB recommended step).

Thanks for any thoughts!
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:19 AM   #2
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Hey, allow me to throw one more welcome here at/to ya!!

>> I would highly suggest this particular thread to address quite a few of your questions.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...stem-2397.html

**It's both highly informative...and at points highly entertaining, lol...
In particular: the unconventional (yet effective!) route of simply using cheap vodka to disinfect a water system

In seriousness, a good thread.
Cheers -- and again welcome
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:37 AM   #3
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If you have a standard SMB hot water tank installation, there will be an anode in the tank to attract mineral deposits. I replace our anode every 7 years or so. The anode is accessible via the access door.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:07 AM   #4
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We uses to use white vinegar to clean on demand water heaters. We would make a 50/50 solution with distilled water, circulate the solution through the unit for 50 minutes and then flush with a box of baking soda mixed with 3 gallons of distilled water for 10 minutes.
We then started having issues with pin holes in the tank where the vinegar was eating away at rust that formed internally so we stopped using vinegar and started using a citrus based cleaner specifically designed for the on demand heaters. It is biodegradable and leaves a nice citrus smell in the hot system.
The anode rod is like a sacrificial zinc on boats. It should be replaced every other year and at the same time you flush the heater
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MountainBikeRoamer View Post
Hey, allow me to throw one more welcome here at/to ya!!

>> I would highly suggest this particular thread to address quite a few of your questions.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...stem-2397.html

**It's both highly informative...and at points highly entertaining, lol...
In particular: the unconventional (yet effective!) route of simply using cheap vodka to disinfect a water system

In seriousness, a good thread.
Cheers -- and again welcome
Hello back at you, and thanks for the welcome. Glad somebody pulled that thread in ;-) In fact, I had read and enjoyed it ... I must have gotten distracted last night to have forgotten to include a reference to home-made American Potato Vodka. ... I mean if it does knock loose mineral deposits into your straight-from-the-tap Martini... you just won't care.
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by yvrr View Post
If you have a standard SMB hot water tank installation, there will be an anode in the tank to attract mineral deposits. I replace our anode every 7 years or so. The anode is accessible via the access door.
Thanks! I do have a standard SMB hot water tank (AFAIK). I've actually been RTFM-ing this weekend, and I found it curious that the SMB manual said nothing about routine anode replacement but recommended only professional servicing (aside from annual drain/flush). So I'm glad to know anode replacement is a reasonable thing for me to do!
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogasm View Post
We uses to use white vinegar to clean on demand water heaters. We would make a 50/50 solution with distilled water, circulate the solution through the unit for 50 minutes and then flush with a box of baking soda mixed with 3 gallons of distilled water for 10 minutes.
We then started having issues with pin holes in the tank where the vinegar was eating away at rust that formed internally so we stopped using vinegar and started using a citrus based cleaner specifically designed for the on demand heaters. It is biodegradable and leaves a nice citrus smell in the hot system.
The anode rod is like a sacrificial zinc on boats. It should be replaced every other year and at the same time you flush the heater
Thanks so much for sharing that experience. Since a vinegar rinse isn't a requirement, it sounds like it would be best for me to avoid introducing it to the system at all.
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Old 06-28-2017, 08:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by achop View Post
Thanks! I do have a standard SMB hot water tank (AFAIK). I've actually been RTFM-ing this weekend, and I found it curious that the SMB manual said nothing about routine anode replacement but recommended only professional servicing (aside from annual drain/flush). So I'm glad to know anode replacement is a reasonable thing for me to do!
I purchased my replacement anode from Camping World. It is an Aluminum 3/4" MPT, 9-1/2" long Anode Rod.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogasm View Post
We uses to use white vinegar to clean on demand water heaters. We would make a 50/50 solution with distilled water, circulate the solution through the unit for 50 minutes and then flush with a box of baking soda mixed with 3 gallons of distilled water for 10 minutes.
We then started having issues with pin holes in the tank where the vinegar was eating away at rust that formed internally so we stopped using vinegar and started using a citrus based cleaner specifically designed for the on demand heaters. It is biodegradable and leaves a nice citrus smell in the hot system.
The anode rod is like a sacrificial zinc on boats. It should be replaced every other year and at the same time you flush the heater
Can you circulate the freshwater system liquid contents throughout the system without just running it out a tap/drain? I believe I can only pump my freshwater tank contents thru the heater once, and then down the drain.
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Old 06-28-2017, 01:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by yvrr View Post
I purchased my replacement anode from Camping World. It is an Aluminum 3/4" MPT, 9-1/2" long Anode Rod.
I ordered this suburban part #232767:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

after some user reviews said the faster deteriorating magnesium gave them a better sense it was doing its job than the aluminum anode that kept looking pristine when they checked it. That said, according to one source, Suburban cites its aluminum version (part #232768) as the "official" replacement anode for the part #231624 mentioned in the doc for my heater #SW6DEM (or all the SW6's maybe)
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