Saturday, December 3, 2022


Ask Dave: I lost the water heater tank rinser inside the tank. Help!


Hi Dave,
While cleaning my hot water tank, I used a tube attached to a hose to clean out the debris. I used the Camco one (the water heater tank rinser pictured below) with the little gray tube on the end. When I opened the black valve, the tube shot into the water heater! I tried to fish it out but I just can’t find it. Will this hurt anything? Any ideas? Thanks so much. —Robert

The Camco water heater tank rinser for RVs

Dear Robert,
My only concern is with the hot temperature and if the plastic of the water heater tank rinser melts or disintegrates and get clogged in the pipes or faucets. I just did a test with mine and it does float, so you might try putting the lower plug back in and taking the relief valve out on the top as it is a larger opening. Fill the tank with water and use a flashlight to look inside. You could use a coat hanger with a slight hook to move the water around and you might get lucky and see it.

Here is the response from Robert. Sometimes we get lucky!

It worked! You’re a genius. I lowered the right side of the trailer where the water heater is. That seem to help bring the rod closer. I then used the bent hanger to bring the tip out and used needle nose pliers to pull it out. Thank you so much.

It looks like it’s been a problem for others. I found an article on RV Travel by Nanci Dixon from April 18, 2022, about the same problem. I’ve attached a couple pictures in case it would be helpful for others. Thank you so so much. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving. —Robert

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

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Lee A
7 days ago

The Camco water heater rinsers are cheaply made and all are prone to having the grey tube separate from the hose connection. Mine failed on the first use. I contacted Camco about the problem and they said not to worry about it, the water would keep the tube from melting. They also said that “they have never heard of the problem”. To make a long story short it took me about 2 weeks to finally remove it from my heater. Trying to remove it from the drain plug was impossible, so I ended up removing the heating element…it has a bigger hole. It took many tries to finally grab it with long locking forceps and remove it from the tank.

If you have the Camco rinser I suggest either putting a hose clamp on the tube securing it to the hose fitting, or spend a bit more money and buy a better product. I bought a quality one from Amazon:

Lawrence Neely
7 days ago

best to have one of these in the tool box. come in handy for different situations to grab small things.

Dennis Johnson
8 days ago

Being an old plumber, I made mine with 1/4″ copper tubing and an undersink compression shutoff valve, then added a hose adapter to the 1/2″ iron pipe side. The 1/4″ tubing is longer than the water heater is deep.

9 days ago

A quick tip… try using 1/4” drip line (used to water potted plants). You can make your own with a few parts from the hardware store and make it as long as you like, with no parts to come off in the tank. It’ll only cost ya a few bucks!!!

9 days ago

I was going to buy one of these, but after reading all the problems with it breaking, I ended up making my own. The tube is much longer that what Camco puts on and there is no way it can get lost inside the tank. Sticks out of the tank about 10 inches when fully inserted. 1/4″ pvc all glued together.

9 days ago

My nozzle cracked so I cut it shorter, looks like I should put some glue on it or maybe replace it with metal tubing glued on. I use glue called lightning bond, far better than most glues.

Wayne Caldwell
9 days ago

When mine separated a few weeks ago, I found a short length of 5/16 fuel line fit the valve perfectly. Then I added a gallon or so water and let it flow out the anode rod hole causing the plastic wand to come to the hole where I pulled it out with needle nose pliers.

9 days ago

I have the same Camco hot water rinser. It does (and is) look like a poorly built device so I only gradually increase the water pressure all the while holding on to the curved wand that can come loose.
C’mon Camco, this is the best you can do?

Bob p
9 days ago

Looks like a case for gluing a safety string to the tube in case this should happen again, use water proof glue.

Seann Fox
9 days ago

They use such cheap plastic when making that wand… Mine cracked after the first use. I threw it out and made my own.

9 days ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

Cheap junk. Mine was already cracked, new in the package!

Joseph Testa
9 days ago

What I did was take a small steel clamp and put it at the end connection point, crank it down and now it won’t come off.

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