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Posted 10/07/2023 in RV Inspection by My RV Inspection

The Importance of Using the Right Water Heater Plug for Your RV

The Importance of Using the Right Water Heater Plug for Your RV

When it comes to maintaining your RV, there are numerous aspects to consider, and one often overlooked component is the water heater drain plug. This small but crucial piece plays a significant role in preventing potential damage to your RV's water heater. In this article, we'll dive into a specific issue: the use of the wrong water heater plug, its consequences, and how you can avoid this problem to ensure your RV's longevity and functionality.

The Wrong Water Heater Plug

An Overlooked Culprit:

RV enthusiasts are known for their meticulous care and attention to detail when it comes to their homes on wheels. However, there's a common mistake that even the most seasoned RV owners might not be aware of: using the wrong water heater plug. Jason from myrvresource.com sheds light on this issue, highlighting that many RVers are unknowingly putting their water heaters at risk by using incorrect plugs.

The Corrosion Conundrum: 

Aluminum vs. Dissimilar Metals

One of the key points Jason brings up is the type of metal used in the water heater tank. Many RV water heater tanks are constructed from aluminum due to its lightweight and corrosion-resistant properties. However, when a different metal, such as brass or copper, is used as the drain plug, a corrosive reaction can occur. This reaction is due to the electrical potential difference between the dissimilar metals, leading to galvanic corrosion. This phenomenon can cause severe damage to the water heater over time. 

Plastic and Nylon: Jason underscores the importance of using the right materials for the plug. Plastic or nylon drain plugs are recommended for use in aluminum tanks. These materials are non-reactive with aluminum, ensuring that no corrosive reaction takes place. By swapping out the metal plug for a plastic or nylon alternative, RV owners can prevent galvanic corrosion and extend the lifespan of their water heaters.

Spotting the Issue: 

Signs of Corrosion

Identifying whether your RV's water heater has the wrong plug isn't always straightforward, but Jason offers some tips: 

  • Visual Inspection: Check the type of plug currently in use. If it's brass, copper, or another metal, and your water heater tank is aluminum, there's a potential problem. 
  • Seizing or Difficult Removal: If you notice that the plug is difficult to remove, it might be an early sign of corrosion. A plastic or nylon plug is easier to remove and replace.
  • Visible Corrosion: If you see signs of corrosion around the plug area or notice a deterioration in the plug itself, it's time to take action.


Choose Wisely: The Right Plug for Your RV Water Heater

When shopping for a replacement plug, keep these factors in mind:

  • Material Compatibility: Opt for a plug made from plastic or nylon to avoid galvanic corrosion when the plug comes in contact with the aluminum water heater tank.
  • Size and Fit: Ensure the replacement plug is the correct size and fit for your water heater's drain opening.
  • Regular Inspections: Incorporate a routine inspection of your water heater plug as part of your RV maintenance schedule.


Conclusion: Prioritize Proper Plug Usage

In the grand scheme of RV maintenance, the water heater drain plug might seem insignificant. However, as Jason from myrvresource.com stresses, using the wrong plug can lead to severe corrosion issues and potentially costly repairs. By selecting the appropriate plug material and regularly checking for signs of corrosion, RV owners can ensure their water heaters function optimally and remain free from damage.



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