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Old 03-20-2018, 01:31 PM   #1
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On the road past 14 months. Water heater ?

I have been on the road for 14 months and for the most part loved it.

The water has been running down the kitchen sink 24/7 for 5 months even with heated pipes just to ensure there is no freeze on the drain side of the house.

I pulled the main plug today as we are now warm. Upper 30's and mid 40's Fahrenheit.

I ran the water heater full blast to flush the water heater. and no issues. The drain rod had some mild calcium on it so I cleaned with CLR.

Is there anything needs done to ensure the next year is issue free. It will be at least one more winter before I buy my retirement home.

Honestly I do not remember the brand, but can look if it changes.

God bless all and safe journies.
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:41 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by TonyShope View Post
I have been on the road for 14 months and for the most part loved it.

The water has been running down the kitchen sink 24/7 for 5 months even with heated pipes just to ensure there is no freeze on the drain side of the house.

I pulled the main plug today as we are now warm. Upper 30's and mid 40's Fahrenheit.

I ran the water heater full blast to flush the water heater. and no issues. The drain rod had some mild calcium on it so I cleaned with CLR.

Is there anything needs done to ensure the next year is issue free. It will be at least one more winter before I buy my retirement home.

Honestly I do not remember the brand, but can look if it changes.

God bless all and safe journies.
Tony I emboldened in red font some things above in your quoted post that are either of concern or confusion by myself.

When you say main plug and then drain rod, are these one and the same thing?

I am going to assume you possibly are referring to an "anode rod" which does act as the means to drain a Suburban tank type water heater.

If you are referring to an anode rod, then my next concerns are what you mean by calcium build-up and using CLR to clean it. An anode rod is most likely going to be made of magnesium. The purpose of the magnesium is to sacrifice itself so the anode rod deteriorates instead of the water heater tank rusting out. The magnesium will eventually sacrifice itself out to the point of where there is just a bare thin steel rod left. You are supposed to replace the anode rod before it gets to that point as part of routine maintenance.

If you look at this pic below, you will see a brand new anode rod at the top and a wore out one at the bottom, that has sacrificed itself due to normal use. I'm thinking that you may have removed the last of the magnesium with the CLR to get down to a bare wire/rod thinking it was calcium. If so, you need to immediately replace this anode rod.




Here is another chart that shows you want to always replace this sacrificing anode rod by the time it gets to 75% worn/sacrificed.



OK, my next concern is the statement that you may have removed the anode and flushed out the water heater. If you did do as much, and your water heater has an electric heating element, did you make sure to turn it off before doing such? If you drain the water heater, and leave the heating element on, you will burn up/destroy the electric heating element if still connected to 120 volt AC power.

We keep a series of instructional videos made by Suburban at this link, which the very first one explains how to change the anode rod, as well as another one there that explains how to flush/clean the tank as part of maintenance.

Suburban Water Heater Video Guides

We also have a detailed thread we keep in the FAQ's which explains the operation of the Suburban tank type water heaters, and to make sure you turn off the electric heating element BEFORE draining.

Suburban's electric switch and much more

If you do have a Suburban water heater, I hope all the above helps with your questions.
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Old 03-21-2018, 06:44 AM   #3
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Thank you. I did mean the annode rod. I will purchase ororder a new one just in case. There is an RV dealer in town so I might be able to just get a new one this morning. The power was off to the tank and it did not try and lite on gas so no heat.

I did not understand the purpose of that rod being so long so in my mind and am thankful I asked. I thought I would buy a shorter "plug"

Again many thanks.
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Old 03-21-2018, 07:53 PM   #4
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Thank you. I did mean the annode rod. I will purchase ororder a new one just in case. There is an RV dealer in town so I might be able to just get a new one this morning. The power was off to the tank and it did not try and lite on gas so no heat.

I did not understand the purpose of that rod being so long so in my mind and am thankful I asked. I thought I would buy a shorter "plug"

Again many thanks.
Good deal, Tony. I would venture to guess that about any RV dealership with a parts department would carry this very common anode rod.

The videos in the previous link provided to us by Suburban and narrated by Mark Polk, explain the reasoning behind why you need the anode rod in the Suburban brand water heaters and their steel tanks.

Atwood brand tanks are usually aluminum, and thus do not need an anode rod.

Glad to hear, you got it all figured out now.

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Old 03-22-2018, 07:19 PM   #5
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wmtire: thanks for your continual support to those who have questions. Your responses seem to always spot on, and I am sure that many readers of this forum appreciate your help.
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Old 03-23-2018, 06:44 AM   #6
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wmtire: thanks for your continual support to those who have questions. Your responses seem to always spot on, and I am sure that many readers of this forum appreciate your help.
Thanks for the nice words. I just try to "pay it forward" many of the things I have learned here from the great members we have in our community.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by TonyShope View Post
I have been on the road for 14 months and for the most part loved it.

The water has been running down the kitchen sink 24/7 for 5 months even with heated pipes just to ensure there is no freeze on the drain side of the house.

I pulled the main plug today as we are now warm. Upper 30's and mid 40's Fahrenheit.

I ran the water heater full blast to flush the water heater. and no issues. The drain rod had some mild calcium on it so I cleaned with CLR.

Is there anything needs done to ensure the next year is issue free. It will be at least one more winter before I buy my retirement home.

Honestly I do not remember the brand, but can look if it changes.

God bless all and safe journies.
Did you have a leak or did you leave just a trickle to keep pipe from freezing??? Never leave a unit very long with water turned on. Sorry if I read it wrong.
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:54 AM   #8
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Did you have a leak or did you leave just a trickle to keep pipe from freezing??? Never leave a unit very long with water turned on. Sorry if I read it wrong.
I left it on a trickle and in the north you have no choice but to leave it run when it is below zero for months. Had she flooded thats what insurance is for I suppose. Even with all things heat taped the lines will freeze 6 feet below ground so it is a must run. Our frost line went over 8 ft this year I am told by the engineers.
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Old 03-23-2018, 11:09 AM   #9
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Even with all things heat taped the lines will freeze 6 feet below ground so it is a must run. Our frost line went over 8 ft this year I am told by the engineers.
I know of at least one City up near the Arctic Circle that has two water "mains" running under their streets. One that the customers are all hooked up to and the other to run water back to the pumping plant and be continuously circulated so it doesn't freeze.

"Life below Zero" has a lot of challenges.

I wintered in my TT where the temp's went below zero ONCE. I just kept the water tank full and turned off the outside hydrant at night. If I turned it back on in the morning and water didn't flow I used water from the tank and waited for the heat tape to thaw the line after the temp went up a few dozen degrees.
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