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Old 03-28-2019, 07:18 AM   #1
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Anode rods....really?

Spring has sprung here in New Mexico. Been getting the Flagstaff ready to go for the summer. One job I always end up cussing at is re-installing the anode rod. First, with all the hard water there is the white 'chalk' coating the treads and then just getting the rod back in always ends in a wrestling match.

Can't they make these water heaters so it is easier to service them? Is there some sort of secret handshake to doing this that I'm not aware of?
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:22 AM   #2
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Suburban sent us some video guides on their water heaters awhile back that we keep at this link:


Suburban Water Heater Video Guides


This first one (copied below) may give you some ideas on what to do with the threads ti make it easier to install the anode rod:


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Old 03-28-2019, 07:36 AM   #3
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It can sometimes be a bit challenging replacing the anode rod if the threads are a bit corroded. Often times I read of folks removing the rod when winterizing and leaving it out till spring and then installing it when getting ready for the season.

I never do that. When I remove mine in the fall to winterize, I flush the water heater and reinstall the rod. No need to drag the 2nd step out until spring and no chance for the threads to get corroded.

As in the video, I use a small wire brush to clean the threads. After prepping the anode rod with Teflon tape I sometimes use my thumb, pushing on the face of the rod plug to overcome the counterbalanced weight of the rod sticking into the tank.

If you have a good fitting socket, you can also place a thin piece of paper across the open socket end, push the anode rod into the socket and then use the socket to install the rod. The paper will hold the anode rod tightly for insertion. You lose a bit of the "feel" of the threads this way but it does make aligning the anode rod simpler.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:23 AM   #4
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Wonder how many trys it took the dude in the video to 'hit' the anode install on the first attempt like it implies. I have never been that lucky.

5picker... I'll try that socket trick the next time I'm in there, though it seems they could make the whole process much easier if they'd just put in a more convenient location. I've always left the rod out over the winter so things can dry out completely.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:44 AM   #5
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Iím not sure where youíd prefer they locate the anode to be a more convenient location. Itís pretty much centre, and itís at the bottom of the tank to allow it to drain as much as possible.

The biggest problem is holding the head of the anode KNOWING itís unbalanced for its entire weight, which means you have to angle it slightly upwards as you hold it to keep it perpendicular to the tank wall and the threads to secure it.

Just practice.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:57 AM   #6
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I must be doing something wrong. I don’t have any trouble starting my anode rod (in 4 different trailers) using nothing but my fingers.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseldodge View Post
Wonder how many trys it took the dude in the video to 'hit' the anode install on the first attempt like it implies. I have never been that lucky.

5picker... I'll try that socket trick the next time I'm in there, though it seems they could make the whole process much easier if they'd just put in a more convenient location. I've always left the rod out over the winter so things can dry out completely.
That is Mark Polk in the video. If you are not familiar with him, he has a RV repair company, as well as a lot of repair/RV how-to materials. Super nice guy.You can Google him.

As much experience as Mark has, he probably got it the first try.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:01 PM   #8
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I use a 12 pt 1/2" drive socket. Get a 2-3-4" squareish piece of paper.. lay over socket opening and push head of anode rod(hex part) into socket. Paper will tighten the fit to the socket. Presto..use extension and stab her in.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:01 PM   #9
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Add all the site team members expertise together.....and theyíre almost as good as Mark. Almost.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
It can sometimes be a bit challenging replacing the anode rod if the threads are a bit corroded. Often times I read of folks removing the rod when winterizing and leaving it out till spring and then installing it when getting ready for the season.

I never do that. When I remove mine in the fall to winterize, I flush the water heater and reinstall the rod. No need to drag the 2nd step out until spring and no chance for the threads to get corroded.

As in the video, I use a small wire brush to clean the threads. After prepping the anode rod with Teflon tape I sometimes use my thumb, pushing on the face of the rod plug to overcome the counterbalanced weight of the rod sticking into the tank.

If you have a good fitting socket, you can also place a thin piece of paper across the open socket end, push the anode rod into the socket and then use the socket to install the rod. The paper will hold the anode rod tightly for insertion. You lose a bit of the "feel" of the threads this way but it does make aligning the anode rod simpler.
Duhhh I see your socket advice X2
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:09 PM   #11
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Swap out the WH for a Glass lined WH. I think that's what I'm going to do. No more Anode Rod.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:18 PM   #12
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Add all the site team members expertise together.....and theyíre almost as good as Mark. Almost.

Almost works for horseshoes, hand grenades and drive-in movies. Now I gotta add site team members to the list, that's going too far.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:19 PM   #13
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Add all the site team members expertise together.....and theyíre almost as good as Mark. Almost.
Can't speak for the rest of the team, but Mark probably forgot more about RV's yesterday than I ever knew.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:22 PM   #14
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Swap out the WH for a Glass lined WH. I think that's what I'm going to do. No more Anode Rod.
Suburban water heaters are porcelain lined, and still need such.

https://www.airxcel.com/suburban/products/water-heaters

Atwood's are aluminum tank, thus no need.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:26 PM   #15
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Can't speak for the rest of the team, but Mark probably forgot more about RV's yesterday than I ever knew.
......yeah but can he KLR as good you too?
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
It can sometimes be a bit challenging replacing the anode rod if the threads are a bit corroded. Often times I read of folks removing the rod when winterizing and leaving it out till spring and then installing it when getting ready for the season.

I never do that. When I remove mine in the fall to winterize, I flush the water heater and reinstall the rod. No need to drag the 2nd step out until spring and no chance for the threads to get corroded.

As in the video, I use a small wire brush to clean the threads. After prepping the anode rod with Teflon tape I sometimes use my thumb, pushing on the face of the rod plug to overcome the counterbalanced weight of the rod sticking into the tank.

If you have a good fitting socket, you can also place a thin piece of paper across the open socket end, push the anode rod into the socket and then use the socket to install the rod. The paper will hold the anode rod tightly for insertion. You lose a bit of the "feel" of the threads this way but it does make aligning the anode rod simpler.
X2, and to clarify, just the socket with a thin piece of paper to snug the anode nut in the socket. Never start with the ratchet attached or cross-threading may occur.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:33 PM   #17
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Wonder how many trys it took the dude in the video to 'hit' the anode install on the first attempt like it implies. I have never been that lucky.
I imagine he’s done it a time or two unless, like you say, they had to do a few takes before they got the shot of him nailing it right away.

The key is nice, clean threads on both the male and female sides, and pipe dope instead of PTFE tape — especially if you go nuts on the number of wraps of tape. The pipe dope will give you a better feel for when the threads are mated correctly.

After you’ve done it a few times, it will be easier for you. Installing an anode rod on a Suburban water heater is a little easier than replacing an element on a residential water heater, but I have done so many element replacements, I can’t remember the last time I drained the tank to replace one — I just draw a partial vacuum on the tank and swap them out fast. You have to hit the threads on the first shot or you make a wet mess. My point is; it just takes practice.

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Old 03-28-2019, 12:34 PM   #18
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Suburban water heaters are porcelain lined, and still need such.

https://www.airxcel.com/suburban/products/water-heaters

Atwood's are aluminum tank, thus no need.
Thank you.....I put that whole thing Bass Akwards.
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Old 03-28-2019, 12:52 PM   #19
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Can't they make these water heaters so it is easier to service them?

My thought, it would be a bit easier to service if the opening was a bit larger on the bottom side. Give a bit more room to get a hand in there.
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Old 03-28-2019, 02:35 PM   #20
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SailorSam20500....my point exactly. Just because they have built them that way (low, recessed, cramped space) since dirt doesn't mean they have to be that way. Move them out a bit, provide a little room for a hand. Would that be so difficult? Been RVing over 20 years, have had plenty of 'practice' with anode rods. Still find it a pain.
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