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Old 03-30-2010, 06:05 PM   #11
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All the rods that are made for your water brand of heater have the same threads.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:52 PM   #12
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There are two different sizes of bungs. Basically a big one and a small one. Suburban brands use the big one that requires a 1 1/8" socket. Now as for the water chemistry part, if yours looks like the one at the top of this thread after 2 or more seasons, you have no need to replace it each spring. You SHOULD pull it out for the winter and take a minute to look at it. There is a corrosion vunerable core that is just a steel wire brazed into the cap. the cap is usually corrosion resistant brass. Those of you familiar with galvanic couples know that at that joint is where corrosion will weaken the anode assembly. If you like to run your anode down to just the bare wire clear down to the tip, it won't take more than a little mechanical force to separate the cap from the rest of the anode. So don't go out and bend and wiggle the wire or you will be getting a new one out. Too much information, I know.

But this is my main point - there is nothing to gain from constantly installing new anodes unnecessarily. Galvanic cell corrosion is a slow process. The anode is a sacrificial conductor in that circuit and as long as there is anode material, it is sufficient to mitigate corrosion of the heater tank. But only if that center wire is intact. The couple (or the circuit) only inhibits corrosion if the metals are all touching. So if you have an anode with an exposed core, make sure the core is still solidly connected to the cap regardless of how much anode material is left.

$15. Too me that is a twelve pack and a bag of chips. To my kids it's a fortune and another days camp fees. I only change my oil every 3000 miles and I only rotate my tires every 6000 miles. I top off the gas tank when I'm low on gas. But I also firmly believe each camper should be helped to be knowledgable and decide what works for them. I let my corrode till theres only 1/2" left.

Other water heaters may not come with anodic protection. These tanks are ceramic lined. The porcelain surface is an insulator that separates the water from the metal. Galvanic cell corrosion only occurs where two different metals are coupled and submerged in a conductive fluid, like water in the tank that naturally contains traces of calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, lead, arsenic, carbonates, sulfates, and many other ions. But the film doesn't cover every little corner of the tank. Corrosion can be found at the pressure relief bung, the heating element bung, the thermocouple well, or any penetration or area that was welded or brazed. I cannot say if any manufacturer recommends against anodic protection, that seems unlikely and I am suspicious because the technology is very old and proven. I am at this moment surrounded by very large vessels of all kinds of metal compositions with a wide variety of corrosion inhibitors, films, and chemical additives. The temperatures and pressures are WAAAAAy above and beyond what our equipment in our campers will ever see. But the tanks all have simple sacrificial metal anodes just like the suburban water heater. So if you choose not to add an anode as many people do, you may consider water filters and water treatment equipment. These will also help protect the water heater and the remainder of the system by reducing the conductive ions naturally present in campground water. Adding an anode will enhance the protections that are already there from the manufacturer and as others have already pointed out, it's cheap relative to the $500 water heater. I'll shut up now.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:41 PM   #13
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There are two different sizes of bungs. Basically a big one and a small one. Suburban brands use the big one that requires a 1 1/8" socket. Now as for the water chemistry part, if yours looks like the one at the top of this thread after 2 or more seasons, you have no need to replace it each spring. You SHOULD pull it out for the winter and take a minute to look at it. There is a corrosion vunerable core that is just a steel wire brazed into the cap. the cap is usually corrosion resistant brass. Those of you familiar with galvanic couples know that at that joint is where corrosion will weaken the anode assembly. If you like to run your anode down to just the bare wire clear down to the tip, it won't take more than a little mechanical force to separate the cap from the rest of the anode. So don't go out and bend and wiggle the wire or you will be getting a new one out. Too much information, I know.

But this is my main point - there is nothing to gain from constantly installing new anodes unnecessarily. Galvanic cell corrosion is a slow process. The anode is a sacrificial conductor in that circuit and as long as there is anode material, it is sufficient to mitigate corrosion of the heater tank. But only if that center wire is intact. The couple (or the circuit) only inhibits corrosion if the metals are all touching. So if you have an anode with an exposed core, make sure the core is still solidly connected to the cap regardless of how much anode material is left.

$15. Too me that is a twelve pack and a bag of chips. To my kids it's a fortune and another days camp fees. I only change my oil every 3000 miles and I only rotate my tires every 6000 miles. I top off the gas tank when I'm low on gas. But I also firmly believe each camper should be helped to be knowledgable and decide what works for them. I let my corrode till theres only 1/2" left.

Other water heaters may not come with anodic protection. These tanks are ceramic lined. The porcelain surface is an insulator that separates the water from the metal. Galvanic cell corrosion only occurs where two different metals are coupled and submerged in a conductive fluid, like water in the tank that naturally contains traces of calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, lead, arsenic, carbonates, sulfates, and many other ions. But the film doesn't cover every little corner of the tank. Corrosion can be fount at the pressure relief bung, the heating element bung, the thermocouple well, or any penetration or area that was welded or brazed. I cannot say if any manufacturer recommends against anodic protection, that seems unlikely and I am suspicious because the technology is very old and proven. I am at this moment surrounded by very large vessels of all kinds of metal compositions with a wide variety of corrosion inhibitors, films, and chemical additives. The temperatures and pressures are WAAAAAy above and beyond what our equipment in our campers will ever see. But the tanks all have simple sacrificial metal anodes just like the suburban water heater. So if you choose not to add an anode as many people do, you may consider water filters and water treatment equipment. These will also help protect the water heater and the remainder of the system by reducing the conductive ions naturally present in campground water. Adding an anode will enhance the protections that are already there from the manufacturer and as others have already pointed out, it's cheap relative to the $500 water heater. I'll shut up now.
turbopuppy, I must say....Excellant reply When camping season is over I pull the anode out and it stays out until next spring. I inspect it before I reinstall. Now as you have mention you let yours go until you have a 1/2 left, I am told that when 90% is gone then it is time to replace it or unless it breaks. As far as cost, I paid $13.00. The socket that I used on this anode is 1 1/16". Before reinstalling the old anode or new, you must clean the threads in the hot water heater, and I use a brush that is used for copper pipe fittings and I spin it in the opposit direction in which the brush is used, I spin it counter clock wise then I apply teflon tape to the nut on the anode.
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:30 PM   #14
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We also change ours out every year. Cheap insurance. We also camp full time for three months in Florida in our Georgetown and the hot water tank gets use everyday during that time. In the summer, it get use three days a month with our good sam camping chapter. Last year we made a three month trip out west after we came back from Florida, and the hot water tank was used all the time. The rod looked like the one in the picture. So we changed it for a new one.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:39 PM   #15
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Aluminum or Magnesium? I think the one my suburban WH has in it is magnesium and the one I bought is aluminum.. Is it okay to change?
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:03 AM   #16
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Usually a tank made of-------------------

Usually a hot water tank made of aluminum does not require a anode rod or ZINK rod for protection.

The deterioration of the rod's life depends on amount of usage and the type of water you run through your hot water tank.

On Navy ships ZINK or anode rods are in everything that has water pass through. I use to mfg the replacement rods from bulk rods that came in 10 ft lengths. Thread the end that screwed into the "PLUG". On salt water applications, the rod had a very short life. But in the RV application, as a rule the water usage is small, the rod will last much longer. I would suggest the rod be inspected at least every 12 months (unless you are using a water softener) then every six months. I would replace the rod when 50% of the rod remains just to be on the safe side. As someone posted earlier, "the price of a six pack and a bag of chips" is pretty cheap
protection for your hot water tank.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:47 AM   #17
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I'm afraid that the weak point near the nut end will break off in the heater.
That's actually not a weak point more like the first place the rod corrodes. There's a metal rod underneath that runs the length from the nut to the tip.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:55 AM   #18
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i'm trying to recall if i've seen an anode in a gas water heater. pulled mine last year after for first time after 8 yrs. had abt 1/3 of the sacrificial metal left. believe that is considered the replacement point.
when i winterize, that's the only way to drain it.

as far as the metal, personally, i would go back with exactly what they had in it.
how fast it goes is dependent on the minerals in the water. where i worked, we used the passive protection in some of the exchangers. open cooling boxes and the docks, we used an active system.
for catholic protection, we left that for the guys with the long pencils with the short erasers to figure out. then applied it.
oh, when u pull ur anode, put a plug in there. my thoughts are for rust; other, for some reason, want to keep little critters out.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:03 AM   #19
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I drain my heater after each and every use.
therefore I never replaced a rod in my tt . 6 years old and looked great.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:41 AM   #20
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Aluminum or Magnesium? I think the one my suburban WH has in it is magnesium and the one I bought is aluminum.. Is it okay to change?
when i pulled mine, i didn't know what metal it was. i depended on the label at the store. i'm thinking they had only one metal available for mine so the choice was easy. unfortunately, i would have to go back to the book to tell u the right one.
the hole diameter is larger on the suburban. i didn't have any length choices for mine at camping world.
i believe i went back with magnesium. i know very little abt the metals and cathodic protection and tend to replace in kind. i figure that choice was made by suburban for a reason.
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