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Old 01-31-2015, 10:38 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DXSMac View Post
So it's the anode rod they have to pull? Aw man, I had the RV dealer in Chehalis (where the body shop was) replace the anode rod.......
Unfortunately, yes. New or old, it only takes a couple of breaths to toast an anode when no water is present. Most of the time all it takes is a new rod... $20 bucks and 10-15 minutes.

If it was on for 30 minutes, and changing the anode does not provide hot water, then it's possible the temp relay could have been damaged as well. But that's only another $10 and 5 minutes. Again.. no long term damage with a fired relay either.

Point being.. if you are taking your rig in to have it done for you, don't let them just change out your anode and send you on your way. Make sure you are getting hot water before you leave.

Most of all, this falls under the "little things" category.. don't sweat it. I know more than a few very seasoned full timers that have done the same exact thing.. repeatedly! Not me of course (whistling casually to the side).
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Yarome View Post
Unfortunately, yes. New or old, it only takes a couple of breaths to toast an anode when no water is present. Most of the time all it takes is a new rod... $20 bucks and 10-15 minutes.

If it was on for 30 minutes, and changing the anode does not provide hot water, then it's possible the temp relay could have been damaged as well. But that's only another $10 and 5 minutes. Again.. no long term damage with a fired relay either.

Point being.. if you are taking your rig in to have it done for you, don't let them just change out your anode and send you on your way. Make sure you are getting hot water before you leave.

Most of all, this falls under the "little things" category.. don't sweat it. I know more than a few very seasoned full timers that have done the same exact thing.. repeatedly! Not me of course (whistling casually to the side).
Yarome, not to confuse OP, it is the electric "element" that needs replacement and not the "anode"....
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:42 AM   #13
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You need to replace the heating element, not the anode rod. That is what burned out when you ran it with no water. The heating element is what heats the water. The anode rod is simply a sacrificial rod that prevents corrosion of the HW tank. In the attached photo.
I don't know why these facts are so HARD to comprehend... but it seems like someone furthers the misconception every month that the anode rod is the "heater" or they are mad that the anode rod is metal with a metal threaded end instead of plastic.
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:59 AM   #14
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fonzie, thank you for posting the video. Very useful.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:03 AM   #15
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The electric element and the anode rod are often confused on the Suburban water heater (as well as the terminology for the two) since they are almost side by side on the heater.....even though they are two total different things.

The easiest way to remember, is if it has electric wires going to it, it's the electric heating element. You usually have to remove the gas flue pipe and then a cover to access the heating element.

No Wires, then it's the sacrificial anode rod, that is what you also remove to drain the water heater. This anode will also need periodic replacement, as it "sacrifices" itself so the tank won't rust out. That's the reason the rod is used at the drain location, so you can keep your eye on it each time you drain the heater, to see if it needs replacing.

As far as replacing the electric heating element, KyDan has a great tutorial with pics, in our FAQ section:

Suburban water heater electric element R&R

EDIT: I took and edited one of Dan's pics for his tutorial above, to show the location of the electric heating element and anode rod. The gas pipe has already been removed in the pic.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:29 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Flybob View Post
As mentioned above, If you turned on the electric side of the water heater and you were connected to shore power ( 110VAC) you burned out the heating element. It takes less than a few seconds.
Not necessarily true. I made this mistake and my element survived 20 minutes before I filled the WH. it has worked fine for a year now.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:51 AM   #17
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I burnt out the electric element on my previous trailer. It was an easy fix once I got the old element out. Extracting the old element, even with the correct tool, was a tough job that required a lot of brute strength to start the turn and without being too heavy handed where I would have caused further damage to the side of the trailer. Lesson learned. I now always make sure I have water in the tank before adding the power.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:51 AM   #18
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Have both the heater element and anode replaced and the tank flushed, one stop all done!
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:42 PM   #19
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DX are you getting hot water? I would try it before I went through the hassle of changing it.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:06 PM   #20
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Don't feel bad. Been there, done that!
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