Thursday, February 28, 2019

Removing and Replacing Our Water Heater - Part 3…


With the water leak fixed (more on that in a future blog) I slid the water heater into the bin opening until the front edge was flush with the exterior of our RV. Then I re-used the four framing screws that I removed earlier to secure the water heater to the RV.


Next I needed to drill two pilot holes in the bottom front edge of the water heater so I could further secure the water heater to our RV.  I needed make sure to recess the screws far enough in from the front edge of the water heater (at least 1 1/2") so the screw heads wouldn’t keep the outer water heater trim flange of the door frame from properly fitting inside the water heater. Also it was important to not over tighten the screws to prevent warping the water heater’s outer frame.


With all of the screws in all that was left was putting on the outer trim flange. I got my Water Proof Silicone Caulk and caulk gun ready and applied some caulk around all of the screw heads ensuring a water tight seal. Before attaching the outer trim flange I applied some grey butyl tape to the back side of the flange all the way around it and then stuck in in place.


Next I caulked around the framed opening and door frame using 2 beads of silicone caulking (one to seal the inside housing and one around outside of frame to seal to the RV). Finally I made sure to caulk where the gas line comes in and where the other two wires come into the front of the water heater. Doing so ensures that no gas can leak inside the RV through the bin that the water heater is housed in.


To secure the door in place I placed two holes in the bottom of the door over the bottom pins on the frame and finally latched it shut. Now I can finally get back to enjoying life on the Road of Retirement…

NOTE: We are still at our winter site until March 1st in Bonita Springs, Florida and then we will move north to Little Manatee River State Park for a few days…

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Removing and Replacing Our Water Heater - Part 2…


After removing the old water heater from the bay I salvaged all the good usable parts from the old one should we need them some day. I purchased the new water heater on-line and as soon as it arrived, I unpacked it and readied for the install. First I needed to re-plumb the back of the unit as the new water heater didn’t include any elbows needed to attach my existing plumbing to the new water heater.

After a quick trip to Lowe’s for plumbing parts I was now ready to install the new plumbing. Since I had to cut the Pex water pipes I bought new Sharkbite fittings to reattach the parts I needed to cut. Next I needed to re-wire the water heater, slide it in, attach the hot and cold lines then it should be all set. Easy as pie… or so I thought.



1. I slid the water heater about 1/4 of the way into opening opening

2. Next I connected the module board wiring as I connected the two red wires together, as well as the two blue ones and the three green ones. I used crimp-on write nuts to secure the wires together and then applied some black electrical tape to the ends to ensure they would stay together.

3. The module board and all associated wiring to it must be protected. I used Gorilla Tape to secure the module board and wiring to the Styrofoam casing of the water heater and also taped the wiring to the casing as well.


4. Then I attached the AC wiring which was fastening the white wires together and then the black wires together as I did in step 2. Next I screwed in the green wire to a solid ground.

5. After completing the wiring I slid the water heater in a little more than halfway inside so as to attach the hot and cold water lines to the 1/2" female pipe fitting on rear of water heater tank. I trimmed the Pex with a Pex Cutter and then used the new Pex pipe fittings to connect the hot and cold water lines. It is important to make sure to connect to the right water lines!!!

6. With water lines connected I needed to connect the Propane back up by connecting the 3/8" gas supply line to the 3/8 flare fitting at gas valve located on the front of the water heater. When making this connection I held the gas fitting on the valve with a crescent wrench (in order to not damage the fitting) and then tightened the flare nut.


7. Next I turned on the gas and checked all gas connections for leaks, using a soap and water solution. I didn’t see any bubbles forming around any of the connections so I had good connections. Immediate correction would be needed to any connections even with the slightest leak.

8. I then turned the water back on to the RV. With everything connected I filled the water heater tank with water. I opened both hot and cold water faucets inside the RV to expel air from tank. I knew the tank was filled when water flowed from the faucets. Then I closed the faucets and crawled back under the RV to check all water connections for leaks. (Unfortunately I had a leak during my first attempt and had to disconnect and reconnect an elbow joint requiring me to disconnect all water lines,the gas connection nd the electrical connections and pull out the water heater to tighten the elbow further. Using Teflon Tape on these connections is required but I simply didn’t get the elbow tightened enough so make sure you check this before putting your water heater in the bay and filling it up).


Afterward I reattached everything and rechecked for any leaks. Seeing none I was pretty happy. I quit for the day and decided it best to wait 24 hours and recheck for water leaks before fully installing the water heater.

The next day I checked once again for leaks and found none, however the bottom of the bay was wet. I assumed this might be from all the water that I had to dump out of the water heater the day before. But as I was rechecking my water connections in the back of the water heater I suddenly noticed water pouring from above the water heater.

Holy #@$%$%… I realized we have a water leak coming from above the water heater…. More on this saga in a future blog…

NOTE: We are at our winter site until March 1st in Bonita Springs, Florida…

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Removing and Replacing Our Water Heater - Part 1…

Sitting outside one evening I noticed some water marks between our water heater frame and the encasement it was in. This was not a good sign as I had already replaced all the electrical components a while back. I opened the front of the water heater and noticed that my high limit thermostat was already rusting after only being a few months old (photo below left). Also, not a good sign.

MVIMG_20190210_101258Image may contain: outdoor

Well the next morning after breakfast when I inspected the water heater I could see water was dripping out of the compartment. I decided it was time to replace our water heater. Online research verified it especially given the fact our water heater is 12 years old. The water heater in our Tiffin Allegro Bay 37QDB is the standard Suburban SW10DE model found in many RV’s so there happened to be a lot of online info. However, there was no information on how to remove one from a closed in compartment like ours. There are NO panels allowing access to the rear of the water heater.


Below is how I removed it…

Removing the Water Heater

1. First I made sure to shut off gas supply, turn off the water and turn off the electricity by turning off the appropriate circuit breaker. CAUTION! 120 Volts AC kills a lot of people make sure power is off!!!

2. I made sure I turned off both switches inside the motorhome that control gas and electrical current to the water heater (mine are in our bathroom).

3. With electrical power, water and gas off, I then removed the four retaining Philips screws found in each corner of the inside of the water heater.

4. There are also two or more screws in the bottom or top of the basing (I had two in the bottom) which needed to be removed.

5. Using a plastic putty knife I slowly worked my way around the outer flange of the water heater to separate the outer flange from the actual water heater itself. ( I had to be very careful here as this flange is the panted part that shows on the outside. Any damage to it would require purchasing a new outer flange and have it painted to match the RV colors). Photo above left.

6. Next I disconnected the gas supply line from water heater by removing the 3/8" gas supply line to the 3/8 flare fitting.

7. With the water shut off we now needed drain all of the water from the tank

  • I made sure the water pump was off.
  • I opened both hot and cold water faucets.
  • I removed anode rod from tank as can be seen in photo above right.


8. I then disconnected the hot and cold water lines from water heater. In my case, since I have no access to the back of the water heater, I had to pull the water heater out as far as I could (about 6 inches) and using a Pex Cutter I cut both the cold and hot water lines in the back of the water heater.

9. I disconnected all of the wiring going to the circuit board. This amounts to four wires (one red, one black, two green in my case). I also was able to unplug the water heater from an electrical outlet in the compartment it is housed in. You may have to remove the white and black wire inside of the electrical box on the left side of the water heater


10. I slid out the old water heater and set aside. I later salvaged all the good electrical components off of the old unit before discarding it. Now after inspecting my old unit it was obviously rusted all over the bottom insinuating a leak somewhere – more about this later).


It was a bear getting that dang water heater out without any access to the back. So once I got it out I marked a 18”x18” square in the back of the galvanized steel compartment my water heater was in. I drilled a small hole using a steel cutting drill bit along the edge of the marked square. I kept re-drilling the hole gradually increasing the bit size until the hole was large enough to put a jig saw metal blade into it to cut out the square. A tedious but worthy task as now I have an access panel to the back of the water heater compartment should I ever need access again.

I was now ready to replace the water heater but that will have to wait till the next blog…

NOTE: We are at our winter site until March 1st in Bonita Springs, Florida…

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Magnificent Everglades National Park


All good times must come to an end as happened with our stay in Key West, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t have some fun on the way home. It would be a five hour drive back to Bonita Springs but luckily for us Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park happened to be  a little more than halfway home. For anyone like us who enjoys seeing lots of birds and alligators, this is a wonderful place to visit …

Below is the photographic proof of the great day we had…

DSCN0434DSCN0438DSCN0445DSCN0439DSCN0436DSCN0449DSCN0451DSCN0466DSCN0479DSCN0486DSCN0490DSCN0498DSCN0471Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

NOTE: We are back at our winter site until March 1st in Bonita Springs, Florida…

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Quintessentially Key West…

There is never a dull moment in Key West Florida so we felt very fortunate to have been able to spend a week there. What did we do? Not a whole lot because upon arriving in Key West the pace immediately slowed way down allowing us to completely relax while simply enjoying the Island vibe.

Image may contain: sky, tree, ocean, shoes, outdoor and natureImage may contain: sky, ocean, cloud, tree, outdoor and nature

The house we stayed at had a fabulous bay view of the turquoise blue waters the Florida Keys are widely known for. Lounging on the back porch became an activity in itself. Also on the porch was a hot tub I actively used as I love to sit and soak. It was fabulous.

Image may contain: ocean, sky and outdoorImage may contain: Sharon Hinton and John Hinton, people smiling, sky, hat, sunglasses, outdoor and closeup

In the evening as darkness fell an underwater light came on right near where the owner’s jet skis were parked.I was completely entertained watching schools of fish flit about in the reflected light. Occasionally tarpon as large as 6 feet in length would pass by the light sending the schooling fish in flight, hiding under the jet skis. I even saw a large nurse shark pass by the nighttime lights. Indeed this was a fun and relaxing activity…

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

Happy hours were another enjoyable activity we both loved while in the Keys. The Keys actually have some of the best happy hours in Florida as they offer inexpensive drinks and eats. Our favorite spots were the Boathouse under the Commodore Hotel and the Half Shell Oyster Bar. We always sat at the bar whenever possible knowing we had to arrive early in order to do so.

Image may contain: outdoorImage may contain: ocean, tree, sky, plant, outdoor, nature and water

Sitting at the bar usually ensured we would meet the people on either side of us and was a great way to get to know new people and maybe make future friends. It is after all, how we first met Kathleen and Jerry, who allowed us the use of their beautiful home in Key West. You never know who you’ll meet as sometimes it is other vacationers or often a local as happened one night when we met a lady who has lived in Key West 23 years.  Everyone we met at happy hours was in a great mood as it seems the island vibe overtakes all who stay in this wonderful place!

Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and natureImage may contain: one or more people, people sitting and indoorImage may contain: outdoor

Walking down Duval Street prior to Happy Hour, was also a treat for people watching. Often a cruise ship was in port so we would see cruisers or we would pass by  foreign visitors speaking other languages. In addition we noticed many Key West “characters” such as street entertainers or once we saw one gentleman at Sloppy Joe’s wearing only his hotel bathrobe! While walking we would often pause at the bars to listen to the live music mingled with the laughter and conversation of the customers.  It was just such a happy place to be….…

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, plant, house and outdoorImage may contain: bird, sky, tree, plant and outdoor

But alas our week ended and we made our way back to Bonita Springs to finish out the month of February as we continue our journeys on our Road of Retirement…

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and drinkNo photo description available.

NOTE: We are back at our winter site until March 1st in Bonita Springs, Florida…