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Old 07-09-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
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Removing anode rod to drain hot water heater.

I have a Flagstaff 831BHDS. I'm removing the anode rod to drain the hot water heater after each use. I do this to extend the life of the anode rod. However, I cannot prevent the water from running into the interior of the camper. Water runs under the heater into the cabinet and into the kitchen floor. I've never had this happen in other campers I've owned. Anyone has this issue and offer any advice on how to prevent the water from running inside?
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:16 PM   #2
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1st of all, I doubt removing the anode rod after every camping trip is gonna make a huge difference in how long the anode rod lasts, unless you have really hard water. If even you have to replace it 1 year sooner, it is a lot of trouble to remove that puppy after every camping trip, unless you might go months before then next trip.

I had the same problem of water running back into the camper when I drained my water heater for winter. I recaulked the bottom where the outside flange meets the inside flange, and that cured the problem. I also caulked up the sides a bit, in case the water backed up some if the camper wasn't exactly level.

You could also fashion a "chute" out of aluminum foil to divert the water out of the compartment.

There is a also an anode rod available that has a drain petcock that allows you to drain the water heater without removing the entire component, but you think I could find that on the web tonite.....nnnooooo.

Update: http://www.amazon.com/NW-Leisure-Pro.../dp/B000HYOUSC
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:21 PM   #3
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Throw a couple 2x's under the wheels of the opposite side of the camper before you drain it.......
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:34 PM   #4
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Anyone offer any advice on how to prevent the water from running inside?
Yes, leave the anode/plug in. From what I can remember, an anode rod is $15 - 20 to replace. Sure seems like way too much messing around IMHO not to mention potential water damage to the floor. Drain the WH at the end of the season.

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Old 07-09-2012, 08:41 PM   #5
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If the anode rod is doing the job it's supposed to do, it should last at least a couple of years, unless you've got some real skanky water that will corrode the tank. I drain my HW tank when I winterise, not beteween trips.

The hot water is for showers and washing dishes. You're not going to be drinking it.

The concept of the anode rod is that same as "zincs" on a boat. It's a sacrificial metal that will corrode instead of the steel water heater barrel going rusty. If you're really bothered by it, replace the water heater with a composite plastic one that doesn't need an anode rod. I don't remember which brand is composite and can't be bothered to go look what brand I have (which has an anode rod).

My WH drains into its compartment, but that compartment doesn't connect to the inside of the rig. Even so I'm going to make a small aluminum chute to carry the water overboard.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkmiller
I have a Flagstaff 831BHDS. I'm removing the anode rod to drain the hot water heater after each use. I do this to extend the life of the anode rod. However, I cannot prevent the water from running into the interior of the camper. Water runs under the heater into the cabinet and into the kitchen floor. I've never had this happen in other campers I've owned. Anyone has this issue and offer any advice on how to prevent the water from running inside?
I to drain my tank after each use I've had to many issues with high sulfer content from cg water.
1 or two times of that and its just easier to drain it after each trip.
I also like the fact that I'm continuously draining lime and scale deposits.
My then 6 year old flagstaff had the original anode rod when I traded it last year and looked 75%.
I don't mind the extra effort.
As stated previously caulk the lower edges.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:30 PM   #7
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Don't see the fuss, takes about 10 secs to unscrew the anode rod and about 30 secs to re-wrap with teflon tape and re-install. I carry a new spare just in case, they're less than $15 and fit right in the wh compartment along with the 6" long 1/2" drive extension and 1-1/16" socket.
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:02 AM   #8
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I know where I live has hard water and I have been taking mind out between trips also. It doesn't take but a couple of minutes to do. My anode is pretty much on the outside of the TT so I don't have water going inside my camper. Kinda like a cheap insurance if you ask me.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
I to drain my tank after each use I've had to many issues with high sulfer content from cg water.
1 or two times of that and its just easier to drain it after each trip.
I also like the fact that I'm continuously draining lime and scale deposits.
My then 6 year old flagstaff had the original anode rod when I traded it last year and looked 75%.
I don't mind the extra effort.
As stated previously caulk the lower edges.
This is the 5th camping season without draining my water heater except in the fall, and this is my anode rod:

Click image for larger version

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Can't respond to the sulfur problem with water sitting in the water heater.

Regardless, every member needs to do what they think best. I can't fault someone that wants to drain after every trip......that is their decision. For me, I got enough other stuff to do when I get home than to mess with draining the water heater.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mtnguy View Post
This is the 5th camping season without draining my water heater except in the fall, and this is my anode rod:

Attachment 16313

Can't respond to the sulfur problem with water sitting in the water heater.

Regardless, every member needs to do what they think best. I can't fault someone that wants to drain after every trip......that is their decision. For me, I got enough other stuff to do when I get home than to mess with draining the water heater.
Ditto. 3 years old and only drain and flush at winterizing.
Same OEM anode rod it came with. Maybe this year I will treat it to a new one; will find out when I yank it in October/November.

Last year it still had 75% of the anode material on it. Looks bad but still working as long as there is any anode material left.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:49 AM   #11
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I'm with herk drain and flush when winterizing the unit for storage
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:16 PM   #12
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Removing the anode rod is the only way to 1) drain the tank completely 2) inspect anode rod condition (@ least annually) and 3) eliminate about 100 lbs of weight while towing (2012-13 Creeks w/ super kitchen slide has heater installed above & fwd of left fwd wheel.

When in short period storage, consider the corrosive effect of the chlorine in water on the aluminum tank and drain the water by removing the anode rod (Suburban requires a 1 1/16" socket for removal)

Travel safe & enjoy the journey
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:24 AM   #13
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Removing the anode rod is the only way to 1) drain the tank completely 2) inspect anode rod condition (@ least annually) and 3) eliminate about 100 lbs of weight while towing (2012-13 Creeks w/ super kitchen slide has heater installed above & fwd of left fwd wheel.

When in short period storage, consider the corrosive effect of the chlorine in water on the aluminum tank and drain the water by removing the anode rod (Suburban requires a 1 1/16" socket for removal)

Travel safe & enjoy the journey
Thank you for posting Mike. On the surface your logic sounds good. Just a couple of "adds" though. Unless you have a 12 gallon water tank, the water in most water heaters (6 gallon predominates) the water (at 8.3 pounds per gallon) weighs about 50 pounds.

Additionally, the most common RV water heater boilers (Suburban) are glass lined iron. That is why the sacrificial anode is made of an aluminum/magnesium alloy so IT will "rust" and not the tank's innards.

Atwood now makes models that are glass lined aluminum, but they do not have anodes (that is how you can tell if it is an aluminum boiler tank).
http://www.atwoodmobile.com/images/W...tage-Sheet.pdf

RV Tech Library - Water Heaters

It you HAVE a removable anode, removing it actually will destroy your tank over time because it will not be there to "suck" the ions that cause "rust", normally present in all water to some degree, away from the iron and onto itself.

If you like to travel with it empty, rather than removing the anode which will rot out your water heater very quickly (3-5 years) when it will need to be replaced (after a heck of a flood), install one of these (get the model for your heater):

Anode Rod with Drain for Atwood Water Heaters - 4 1/2" - Camco RV 11533 - Water Heaters - Camping World

It is a slightly more expensive than a standard anode and will be replaced more often (due to less anode material) but will keep you from destroying your boiler over time:

Amazon.com: Camco 11553 RV Magnesium Anode Rod Fits Atwood Heaters: Automotive

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:43 AM   #14
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...It you HAVE a removable anode, removing it actually will destroy your tank over time because it will not be there to "suck" the ions that cause "rust", normally present in all water to some degree, away from the iron and onto itself. If you like to travel with it empty, rather than removing the anode which will rot out your water heater very quickly (3-5 years)...
Don't understand this, if there is no water in the tank, how can it rot out more quickly?
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:52 AM   #15
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Don't understand this, if there is no water in the tank, how can it rot out more quickly?
With water in the tank, the only oxygen (needed to bind with the iron to form Ferric (Iron III) Oxide) is dissolved in the water. If you remove the water, the iron is exposed to the air which has much more water vapor and O2 in it than plain water and no way (electrical path) for the ions to find their way to the anode.

Example: take a piece of flat iron; cut it in two; clean both pieces with acetone to remove all protective oils and put one in a water bath and leave one hanging from a string. See which one rusts first.

My bet is the one hanging will have surface rust before you even get out of the workshop.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:24 AM   #16
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With water in the tank, the only oxygen (needed to bind with the iron to form Ferric (Iron III) Oxide) is dissolved in the water. If you remove the water, the iron is exposed to the air which has much more water vapor and O2 in it than plain water and no way (electrical path) for the ions to find their way to the anode.

Example: take a piece of flat iron; cut it in two; clean both pieces with acetone to remove all protective oils and put one in a water bath and leave one hanging from a string. See which one rusts first.

My bet is the one hanging will have surface rust before you even get out of the workshop.
Agree 100% on the bare steel, but the inside of the tank is porcelain coated and not bare.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:38 AM   #17
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Agree 100% on the bare steel, but the inside of the tank is porcelain coated and not bare.
Feel free to:
Use the anode rod;or not.
Leave it in when winterized; or not.
Leave it full of water; or not.

I have never seen porcelain coated iron rust. Oh, wait ...
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:47 AM   #18
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It seems logical to drain the water after breaking camp especially if you are not going to be the unit for a while....I was in the habbit of removing the rod as well until the last trip we had. I had installed 1/4 turn ball valves on the low point drains and fresh water drains and open them after dumping the tanks. I left them open until we got home....pulled the anode rod and the tank had drained out. I am going to do this from now on....
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:52 AM   #19
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Feel free to:
Use the anode rod;or not.
Leave it in when winterized; or not.
Leave it full of water; or not.

I have never seen porcelain coated iron rust. Oh, wait ...
Would never leave it out with water in the tank.

I have seen a lot of porcelain coated steel pots last for several decades even without anode rods.

Don't think I've ever seen porcelain coated iron.

That's what makes this a great forum. We can all have different opinions and still help each other. I LIKE it!
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:00 AM   #20
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Don't think I've ever seen porcelain coated iron.

That's what makes this a great forum. We can all have different opinions and still help each other. I LIKE it!
I was referring to those porcelain coated gas grill tops. Any crack in the coating makes those things unusable in short order as they then rust from inside and "burst though" the coating from underneath.

When intact, a porcelain coating will allow antique utensils to last many lifetimes, yet any cracks in the coating will reduce one to dust in a few years.

Also in the boiler, the area around the fittings are not coated. Stick your finger in the anode fitting (put some Vaseline on it first - Jeez) and feel behind it. You can feel where the coating starts.

As to your last comment I am also in 100% agreement!

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