Originally Posted by wmtire
After draining my tank, I always put mine back in to keep any kind of bugs/spiders/ants from being able to get in the tank......as well as keeping the rod itself from becoming contaminated with things that may get on it.
I just finished doing mine.
1) MAKE SURE the 120 volt AC switch is OFF!!!
CLOSE the bypass valves first (this keeps the crud (Calcium nodules and bits of anode) from being sucked into the plumbing when you drain the tank). When you then pressurize that crud will clog your toilet valve and block your faucets.
2) Remove and inspect the anode. (1 1/16 inch socket required
. DO NOT use vice grips or other wrench - bugger those threads and you may be buying a new heater). Also watch your shoes...
3) Flush out the remnants in the bottom of the heater. There will be lots of junk in there. I use a piece of small diameter vinyl tubing on a bib connected to the garden hose. It will flop around inside and flush out the crud.
4) I stick a long piece of paper towel in the hole and let it hang down outside. This creates a wick siphon and will remove the last of the water while I finish winterizing the rest of the camper.
5) When empty, I use Teflon pipe dope (or tape) on the threads. NEVER install the threads dry. They will weld themselves to the tank and you will have a VERY hard time getting it out next year. Just a wipe around to coat the threads.
6) Install the old rod (my OEM one lasted 4 years and most likely could have gone 2 more, but I replaced it this spring). See pictures of what a bad rod looks like.
7) Tighten rod snug but JUST enough for it not to leak. Easier to give it another turn than crank it in and not be able to get it out next year. It is pipe thread so about 1/2 of the threads will be visible.
That is it. Next year I just open the valves and pop the pressure relief valve to make sure it fills to the top before I try to heat the water.