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This past Thursday was a typical day for us, until about 8pm. I had used the kitchen sink to wash my hands and noticed the water pressure wasn’t great for the hot water side. The cold side was GREAT though. In our two years of full-timing we had never had any issues with water pressure before so this was new territory for me. I checked all sinks and discovered that the issue was affecting the entire rig.
I contacted two other full-time families here in this park (we also happen to all have the same RV, Jayco Northpoint 375BHFS, just varying years). One of them have been full-time for five years now. He came over to help me troubleshoot. He walked over to the far side of the rig and flipped the pressure release valve and pressure was great AT the water heater tank itself. We both agreed the issue had to be between the tank and the faucets. Since all faucets had the same issue we also determined the issue had to be as close as possible to the water heater. It was getting late and cold (nearly 34 degrees at this point) so we thought to reconvene the next day.
After more thought and research we decided it HAD to be the check valve. I ran to the nearest RV supply store (luckily 5 minutes down the road) and grabbed a brass check valve (you can grab one here) and headed back.
Time to take it apart!
In order to replace the valve, we had to shut off the water to the rig and drain the tank. Instead of draining it completely, we simply let some water out at the pressure release lever. (You may want to eyeball yours to make sure you’re releasing enough water.) The check valve on our heater is pretty high so any water we released was enough.
Once we removed everything out of the basement (NOT FUN!) we then had to remove the inner walls (also NOT FUN) to gain access to the backside of the water heater.
Now the fun part! He removed the hose from the check valve and as soon as he popped that off, he found the issue! The little plunger was broken! It was just sitting right there. It shouldn’t have been “right there.”
He removed the check valve (which was plastic, btw? Why use plastic? It’s for a hot water system? I don’t get it. But once we removed the check valve, we could see that the entire system inside was broken. As you can see in the pictures, the brass piece is what it should look like.
The white plunger was so worn down that it no longer was being stopped by the little circular white piece. Because of that the spring was loose, the plunger was getting stuck in the valve allowing just a minimal amount of water through and the little white circular piece? He could see it in the tank but couldn’t quite reach it. I then had to slowly add water back to the tank to get that piece to come to the surface so he could grab at it.
Once the entire old check valve was removed we simply attached the new brass check valve in it’s place. It was very simple to be honest. We filled the tank, let water run for a few minutes to make sure there weren’t any leaks and moved on with putting EVERYTHING back in the basement.
I was so worried there was something drastically wrong but it ended up being a simple $23 fix. I do need to go get another check valve, just in case. You don’t want to be without hot water for too long, especially with a family.
Hope you learned something today! I sure did and if there’s a next time, I’ll know how to easily fix it!
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