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Old 04-22-2015, 08:10 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 12
So, Forgot to Change the Water heater Anode in my 261bhxl

Hi All

Here was my "I should of spent $20" and replaced my old Anode, but instead I didn't and ended up spending $140

Family and I decided to go camping, went to the campsite and hooked up like normal didn't have any water coming out of the hot side... Tried to purge the lines didn't work. Read about things and most advice was to check the anode in the hot water heater. It takes a 1 and 1/16 inch socket to remove the anode. Removed the old one and only had a wire left!
Started washing out the hot water tank and had all kinds of sediment coming out.
Put in a new anode and tried the water still no hot water, bypassed the water heater, and had water coming out.

I thought the worst that my hot water heater was shot! they run in the $500 range. Which seems odd because you could get a house sized one for 200-300.

Besides that i removed the old fittings located around the water heater bypass and was going to clean them out if able to.

That didn't work the lines going into the cold water and hot water on the ball valve that lets the water flow into the cold and into the hot were stopped up with sediment.

Ended up having to replace water heater H pex plumbing, all those fittings I was able to get at home depot , and a woman that ended up helping me knew more about plumbing than the guys that worked there did! Which impressed me! I used the white Pex tubing just because. It ended up being 4 elbows, 2 T's, 3 ball valves, and 2 male adapters. I already had the cutting tool and the crimper. This ran $120 for the fittings. If I would've chosen the sharkbite only type fittings it would of been more!

Needless to say after reinstalling all the plumbing and then trying it out it worked! I've since read that the Anode should be replaced every year! and removed during the winter. I will be sure to do this as to not make the money wasting mistake again.

Hope this helps someone to decide to perform proper maintenance on their hot water heater!
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:34 AM   #2
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Nice plumbing job! Check the A-Rod every (6 mo)) replace as Needed! Youroo!! Also in your case Drain tank after Trips (Less Eating of the A-Rod and Heips Rid the Tank of GUNK)!

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Old 04-22-2015, 09:43 AM   #3
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You must have bad water in your area.
mine lasted for almost 7 years.
But we have great water in our area
Dan-Retired Firefighter/EMT
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:09 AM   #4
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Bad water...

We've got extremely hard water here, majority of it is all well water too. So, that might have helped eat away at the anode lol!
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:14 PM   #5
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10 years of campground water from all over the country. I drain the water heater several times each year, so am able to inspect the anode rod. I've never been close to needing a new one. Strange.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:34 AM   #6
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The original equipment anodes are made of magnesium. When you pulled the rod, all of the magnesium fell off the rod as you pull it out because it had swollen larger than the hole. The problem is that all of the magnesium chunks (some large / small) clogged up the lines. A better anode is made of ZINC. They are a replacement for magnesium rod and can be found in any RV store. The zinc rod is only about 3-4 inches long and about half to three quarter inch in diameter. They just dissolve and leave no mess. They still need to be replaced regularly. After spending almost an hour flushing out my WH tank with the original rod, I replaced it with a zinc rod. Should have replaced it before I even started using it, but I forgot how much work it was and wanted to get RVing.

I have a boat used salt water that has ZINC anodes on the boat, engine, drive unit (jet) and heat exchanger. the heat exchanger anode needs replacement quit often because like the RV water heater it is dealing with hot water.

Just a suggestion to reduce the anode cleanup mess.
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Old 04-24-2015, 09:45 AM   #7
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Nice plumbing job - but I guess you really didn't want the practice. I always drain my hw tank before leaving cg and in winter take out rod and dry it and store - put an old cut off one back in the hole to keep out critters

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anode, heater, water, water heater

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