How To Flush & Clean an Atwood RV Water Heater

How To Flush & Clean an Atwood RV Water Heater
UPDATE – April 3, 2012: Regarding our use of an after-market anode rod. There are questions about which metal to use – magnesium, aluminum or zinc.

Check out more from this creator at the link below:


  1. 12:30 This is a great video,thank you but personally I wouldn't wait for the water to come out through the pressure relief valve, as it can cause problems if your tank is too full. It would be better to open up the hot water faucet in the bathroom and wait for the water to come out there, then close the faucet. Other than that, I really liked how you cleaned this out. Thank you,great vid.

  2. So I have a Atwood and running the water smells like rotten eggs. To put the vinegar in the water heater I dont believe I have a hose that will suck it from the container would I have to dump it from a funnel into the pressure valve? I have 2018 jayco jayflight slx 174bh. Thank you

  3. Thanks for the awesome videos! As an RV new guy I find them really helpful. Do you suggest/recommend a thread sealant on the drain tube once complete?

  4. Our RV doesn't pump RV antifreeze into the system. We pressurize lines with air and open drains. How does one get the vinegar in? Is there a way to put it in via the emergency valve? Great video.

  5. My God I watch so many people open the relief valve first no no no. Go ahead and take the plug out only a little bit of water will come out then open your relief valve and the the flood will happen.

  6. I wonder if you could elaborate on how to fill my 10 gallon ATWOOD hot water heater; it appears I do not have a by-pass system in place; Do I need to remove the relief valve/ if so how do I do this? this heater area is very restrictive; love your very informative video,s I watch and rewatch over and over; I have ordered a new diverter valve which is on backorder .I will have to install myself as the nearest rv dealer is some distance from me in very heavy congested traffic- "it,s nerve racking!! no labor pool; wish me luck and thanks again for the great video,s; HAPPY TRAVELING!! pattiboypatrick!

  7. Great video! I changed element, eco and thermostat and still only getting luke warm water. Any suggestions? Could it be some clog somewhere effecting pressure between hot and cold?

  8. With all that vinegar in the system, it would be a good time to put some baking soda and salt in the drains to clean them out. 🙂 The salt is just to give it a scrub.


  9. Thanks gents! I intend to do this task tomorrow but want to know aprox. timing…if I use gloves and DON'T wait for the water to cool before or after the vinegar, would you say I could do this job in about two hours? Three? Surely not longer than that…?

  10. you say atwood water heaters dont have anode rods but my friends 94 prowler has one and we changed it and the old one was almost gone. would they have used a metal tank in that year

  11. Wish I would have seen this Video  with my last trailer  (Suburban heater ) hot water smelled like rotten eggs   sometimes (Hydrogen Sulfide )   read in my new trailer manual 2017 Coachmen  with Atwood heater  and it recommends  the same  Process that you are using  with the Vinegar

  12. Thanks for the info on the brass fitting anode rod and upgrading to a better rod. We've had out Keystone Outback since 2011 and the plug/rod is a real pain in the ass every year to remove and we only ever get one season out of those rods. This will really help!

  13. Also in sunny drought stricken Calley-Forney have a two 5 gallon buckets handy to water the flowers with. The Vinegar will not hurt the lawn, nor will the white residue. So without that line how to get the 50-50 mix into the tank?? My trailer is very sealed up near the heater. Every 2 years I change the rod in my heater and it comes out looking like chewed up licorice. It does its job!!! Can the pressure relief valve be removed on a Surburban and then filled??

  14. I have a 6 month old Atwood Water Heater model 10-E and it looks similar right until I pull the drain plug. There is another plug inside the hole that has outer threads that the plug screws onto.

  15. Super helpful, thank you guys!! I love your step by step videos. You are a blessing to the RV community especially newbies!

    By the way, you may want to mention that no teflon tape should be applied to the anode threads. Someone did that in one of the blogs, and wondered why it was not working. The point where you talk about teflon thread on the brass rings – please mention it should not be on the anode rod threads, only brass sections. Seems obvious, but was not to me.

  16. Something I might mention. After purging your hot water system and opening the sink valves you might concider cleaning out the screens on the sinks. What happens is you can get scale into your water lines and it will clog your screens in the faucet. I had this happen to my kitchen sink once. I also had to clean out my shower head too due to poor water flow because of excessive scale in the water lines.

  17. Tip: screw a short section of old hose to pressure relief valve outlet so the vinegar flush is controlled to away from the components.
    Another tip: pause video's to save good info to Notes(Mac) app, write on user manual or add comment to Pdf file, that way you save time locating and re-viewing videos next time.

  18. Getting ready to install a new Atwood water heater and I don't think you should open the Pressure Relief valve! The manual states there should be an Air Gap and if through the season ; If you get a drip from the Valve to empty tank to restore the Air Gap…

  19. @charles lister: You're absolutely right that an anode rod that sacrifices itself and does not last as long is the right way to go. You may have missed it, but we added 3 updates about it… one in the video description, an annotation, and a whole new video addressing the topic. Here's the text from the video description:

    UPDATE – April 3, 2012: Regarding our use of an after-market anode rod. There are questions about which metal to use – magnesium, aluminum or zinc. As we mentioned in the video, we only chose this particular anode due to the extreme difficulty we had removing the original, despite the fact that it is a different material than the original rod. We've now inspected it after a year and are not happy that it did not decay as expected this year (did not decay at all), and are concerned it isn't protecting the tank properly. After hearing from two friends who also have Suburban units, who removed their anodes without much trouble, we're going back to the OEM rod with no drain, and will be updating the video when we do.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here