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Old 10-16-2019, 12:26 PM   #1
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Rusty anode rod threads

Couldn't find where to ask a new question, so here goes. How do you handle the constant rusting of the threads on the water heater, threads were rusty the even on the day of delivery on new trailer. Was hoping we would get one that didn't need an anode rod or at least to have the design updated so access to it wasn't such a pain in the butt! Seriously suburban make some changes!
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:48 PM   #2
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I just pulled out my Suburban anode rod during my winterization.
I didn't notice any obvious thread corrosion and it came out easily with a 1" 1/16" socket.
But I will put a dab of anti-seize on the threads the next time I remove it.
The rod is designed to sacrifice itself so it is in a hostile environment at the bottom of the WH.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:52 PM   #3
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This always causes a "my dog's faster than your dog" debate... but I use a couple of wraps of white Teflon tape on my threads. I probably wouldn't eat off them but they are not too rough to start and to screw into place.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:55 PM   #4
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Surface rust on the threads of the anode rod and the bung port the rod screws into, pose no threat of damage to either.

I wire brush both when cleaning/inspecting and do the same the next time.

You'll notice the anode rod eats away quicker near the threads... it's because it is protecting the mass of steel that is the threaded plug and the bung.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:00 PM   #5
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I use one of these to clean the threads each time I remove the anode. It's called a "plumber's brush". Any hardware store will have them.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:04 PM   #6
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It's important not to insulate the threads on the rod from the hole in the tank. The sacrificial process requires the flow of electricity between the tank liner and the anode (that's right, your water heater is a battery of sorts). Too much sealant tape can block this weak current and defeat the purpose.
I prefer to use a type of pipe dope that is sold like a thick crayon. You just scrape some all around the threads of the anode then screw it in snugly. The waxy dope prevents leaks without isolating the connection, and I never had trouble taking the rod back out later.
Works for me...just my $.02.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:12 PM   #7
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It's important not to insulate the threads on the rod from the hole in the tank. The sacrificial process requires the flow of electricity between the tank liner and the anode (that's right, your water heater is a battery of sorts). Too much sealant tape can block this weak current and defeat the purpose.
I prefer to use a type of pipe dope that is sold like a thick crayon. You just scrape some all around the threads of the anode then screw it in snugly. The waxy dope prevents leaks without isolating the connection, and I never had trouble taking the rod back out later.
Works for me...just my $.02.

I wouldn't worry too much about teflon tape insulating the plug from the tank. Threads are sharp and cut through the tape. Tape is then forced into voids that keep it from leaking. If one took an Ohm Meter and checked resistance between plug and tank it would probably read Zero.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:12 PM   #8
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I read somewhere that when you pull it out to clean the threads with a small wire brush and put a little mineral oil on them.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:16 PM   #9
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I wouldn't worry too much about teflon tape insulating the plug from the tank. Threads are sharp and cut through the tape. Tape is then forced into voids that keep it from leaking. If one took an Ohm Meter and checked resistance between plug and tank it would probably read Zero.
Yes.... this ^^^^.
Every time I pull an anode rod, I can see where threads have cut through the tape and made a solid connection.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:17 PM   #10
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I wouldn't worry too much about teflon tape insulating the plug from the tank. Threads are sharp and cut through the tape. Tape is then forced into voids that keep it from leaking. If one took an Ohm Meter and checked resistance between plug and tank it would probably read Zero.
If properly applied that is correct, but I've seen folks put wrap after wrap of tape on a fitting, probably in an attempt to stop a leak. That could cause an issue, especially considering the millivolts of power we're talking about.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:22 PM   #11
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If properly applied that is correct, but I've seen folks put wrap after wrap of tape on a fitting, probably in an attempt to stop a leak. That could cause an issue, especially considering the millivolts of power we're talking about.
There are also multiple incorrect ways to apply and incorrect chemical make-ups of various dopes which can be applied... all of which can cause problems. That's why I wrote "a couple of wraps of white Teflon tape".
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Old 10-16-2019, 02:27 PM   #12
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I use a wire wheel on my Dremel, then flush it vert well. A little Teflon tape and I’m good to go.
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Old 10-16-2019, 02:29 PM   #13
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After 10 years, it is more than just a little bit of surface rust. I bought a 3/4 NPT Tap to clean out the threads but be very careful.
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Old 10-16-2019, 02:32 PM   #14
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Also consider that when there is water in the tank, water is a great conductor. The anode is not isolated from the tank.
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Old 10-16-2019, 02:38 PM   #15
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Don't know as if I would use an anti seize compound on the threads. For the most part that stuff contains heavy metals. Don't want that coming into contact with a potable water source.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:29 PM   #16
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Could always use a light coating of petroleum jelly, won't hurt you and won't impede any galvanic activity.
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Old 10-16-2019, 05:25 PM   #17
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While we're talking anodes...

Is there a good reason not to put the anode rod back in the WH after winterizing is complete? In the past I have screwed in a plastic 3/4 inch plug over the winter and now I can not find it. So?

TIA for your ideas and sorry for the hijack

BTW I use a 3/4" tap to remove sludge and rust.

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Old 10-16-2019, 06:01 PM   #18
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Surburan water hearter

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Couldn't find where to ask a new question, so here goes. How do you handle the constant rusting of the threads on the water heater, threads were rusty the even on the day of delivery on new trailer. Was hoping we would get one that didn't need an anode rod or at least to have the design updated so access to it wasn't such a pain in the butt! Seriously suburban make some changes!
Don't worry about a little rust. The Suburban water heater is steel and is stronger than Atwood. Don't complain, you have a much better water heater. Just put Teflon tape on the threads and put it back in when you go camping. Steel tank does require an anode rod but is easy to deal with. Drain your tank after camping if you are not going to use it for 3 or 4 weeks and winterizing. Enjoy camping. Life is good. BSMillers
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:04 PM   #19
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Find someone who has a 3/4 pipe tap, put a little lubricant on tap and chase the threads. My heater did same thing because it's iron threads. Used tap now rod goes right in no problem.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by raytwntrvlr View Post
Is there a good reason not to put the anode rod back in the WH after winterizing is complete? In the past I have screwed in a plastic 3/4 inch plug over the winter and now I can not find it. So?

TIA for your ideas and sorry for the hijack

BTW I use a 3/4" tap to remove sludge and rust.

Mike
Only reason I'd put the anode back in after winterizing is so I don't forget to in the spring. Maybe to keep any bugs looking for a winter home out too.
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