Water Heater Door

To make it easy to get to your water heater to open or close the bypass valves when winterizing, to adjust the thermostat or to replace the heating element it is easy to make a door in the back of the under sink cabinet.


The panel was cut out with a saber saw.  A piano hinge was pop riveted to one side and a 1" wide strip of aluminum was pop riveted to the other side.  A thumbscrew was fastened to the door and held in place with a small "E" clip on the back of the door.  The aluminum strip was threaded for the thumbscrew.

I had previously installed a 1/4" pipe thread ball valve to make it easier to drain my water heater tank but had installed it horizontally under the tank using a brass elbow in the bottom of the tank.  The exit of the valve was attached to the existing drain hose. I have found that the elbow on the bottom of the tank would collect scale and clog the drain and also that the small diameter of the drain hose would cause very slow draining.  I changed the ball valve so that it goes straight down from the water tank.  I located where the center of the downpipe would enter the wheel well.  I used a 1/8" diameter, 6" long drill bit to drill a pilot hole. I then drilled a 1/2" hole from below the wheel well and filed it a little to clear the pipe nipple.  It was necessary to bend about 3/8" of the handle of the 1/4" pipe ball valve before installing it so that it will clear the top of the wheel well. After installing the ball valve, I used a 1" short pipe nipple to thread up from the wheel well into the bottom of the valve.  I sealed the pipe to the wheelwell with some Permatex silicone sealant.  Now it drains much faster and if the pipe gets clogged I can easily push a wire up into the tank to unclog it.

I had been requested to give more details on winterizing the GMC water system.

No taking off of panels or pulling drawers to get at drain valves.  No need
to get out the air compressor and hope that the lines are blown dry.

First let me recommend a couple of products that will help immensely.  Get a
hot water heater bypass valve.  Camping World (15717 $19.99) has one they
call a Quick Turn Permanent Water Heater By-Pass Kit Features Single Valve
Operation.  I installed this last year to replace a three valve bypass that I
previously had.  I used the 3 valve bypass beneath the kitchen sink so that I
could bypass my water filter.  When installing the new water tank bypass I
drilled a small hole in the handle and fashioned a push/pull wire of about
1/8" dia. so that I could open the right hand door and turn the bypass on and
off without taking out the cabinet. (side bath - wet model).  This bypass kit
also comes with a check valve that is installed in the water heater output
(top).  This check valve will also prevent some of you from getting hot water
out of your cold water faucets when you are using the water heater.

The second thing you want is Camping World's Permanent Pump Converter which
lets your pump draw RV antifreeze directly from the bottle. (6279  $13.98).

Once these are in place you can begin.

Here's what I do.
1.  Open the water tank drain
2.  Rotate antifreeze winterizing valve, remove cap and attach hose
3.  Put hose into the antifreeze jug (use water line antifreeze available
from Walmart, K-Mart or an RV store).  The bottle will indicate that it is
safe for drinking water contact.  It should also show that it is propylene
glycol.  NEVER use ethylene glycol.  It is toxic.
4.  Kitchen -- remove water filter and close bypass valves.
5.  Bath room -- close water heater bypass valve.  Open drain on bottom of
water heater tank.  Open lever of temp/pressure release valve to allow air to
enter tank.
6.  Turn on water pump.
7.  Open bathroom cold water faucet until you get pink antifreeze out of it.
Close faucet.
8.  Open bathroom hot water faucet until you get pink antifreeze.  Close it.
9.  Flush toilet until you see pink.
10.  Turn on shower while running water into toilet.  Run till pink and close
11.  Open kitchen cold water faucet until you get pink antifreeze.  Close it.
12.  Open kitchen hot water faucet until you get pink antifreeze.  Close it.
13.  Take hose out of antifreeze jug.  Remove hose from valve and put cap on
14.  Pour a little bit of antifreeze into the shower drain to freeze proof
the trap.
15.  Disconnect electrical wire connector at pump to prevent it
running when tank is empty".

You are done.  I just timed it and it took me 10 minutes.  I often do this
about 4  times in the winter because I use the GMC year around.  I used
approximately 7/8 gallon of antifreeze.  I have used less in the past but I
let the faucets run a bit more to make sure that I had enough antifreeze in
the drains.

Couldn't be much simpler and I've never had any lines, traps, etc. freeze
even in well below 0 degree weather. Emery Stora