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Old 02-24-2017, 08:29 PM   #1
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Something we don't talk about here...Anode rods

We all discuss replacing anode rods in Suburban HW heaters in out RV's but I bet not many of us realize that in our residential basements there is another sacrificial anode rod that needs replaced at least every 5 years that probably never gets replaced and is the leading cause of HWH failure in residential heaters, both gas an electric..

The anode rod.

It's cheap, about 25 bucks. They all take a 1 1/16" socket and breaker bar to loosen.

Replacing every 5 years or sooner will double the life of your water heater.

We replace the anode rods in our Suburban RV units and completely forget that there is another anode rod that needs replaced... in our basements.

25 bucks is a lot cheaper than a new water heater anyday.

Just a little FYI....
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Old 02-24-2017, 11:07 PM   #2
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Didn't even realize or even think to check that our residential one would have one as well!
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Old 02-25-2017, 12:45 AM   #3
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I actually did run into this info a number of years ago. Bought a new rod but couldn't get the old one out! Well the tank is now 29 years old and still going strong. And this is on a private well. Clean living I guess.
However, I have a new one already in the basement that I'm going to put in shortly.
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:52 AM   #4
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They don't come out easy. I soaked my top fitting with PBlaster and used a 1/2" impact wrench on it. I tried the socket and breaker bar method and all I was doing was rotating the heater... not good.

They sell them jointed now so where overhead clearance is an issue (the anode rods are 4 feet long) you can still get it in.

Same thing happens in your residential HWH that happens in your RV heater. The anode rod gets consumed and then the minerals in the water attack the tank and eventually cause it to leak.
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Old 02-25-2017, 09:11 AM   #5
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And then there is me.

First thing I do when I get a home water tank is remove the anode.
We have heavy iron and tannins and even with iron filters and softeners, leaving the rod in the tank makes the worst rotten egg smell imaginable.

So if you leave it in, you have to chlorine shock the tank about once a month. What a pain. Everyone around here just removes them.
Tanks last 15-20 years WITHOUT them.

Go figure.
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Old 02-25-2017, 09:16 AM   #6
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What's a 'basement'???
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:28 PM   #7
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Hot water heater is glass lined and no anode rod. I understand that the Atwood water heaters in RVs are also glass lined and do not require an anode.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:38 PM   #8
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Better look again. 'Glass Lined' is really a spray on coating not glass in the actual term. Only the ultra high efficiency electric residential heaters have plastic (not metal tanks)(.

Atwood RV heaters are metal tanks, not mild steel but aluminum or stainless, not sure which. I had an Atwood in my other RV and no anode rod.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:51 PM   #9
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Don't forget to drain it every year, especially in areas with high mineral water.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:59 PM   #10
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From Atwood website;


Atwood water heater tanks are constructed of a high strength aluminum.
The interior of the tank consists of a .0015 thickness of type 7072
aluminum (pure aluminum and zinc) that is fused to the core during the
rolling process. This material protects the tanks from the effects of heavy
metals and salts found in waters throughout the country. It is anodic to
these heavy metals and acts much like an anode in a steel glass lined
tank except it will last much longer. Aftermarket Anode Rods are not
required and should not be used and will void warranty.
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Old 02-25-2017, 02:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drelec View Post
From Atwood website;


Atwood water heater tanks are constructed of a high strength aluminum.
The interior of the tank consists of a .0015 thickness of type 7072
aluminum (pure aluminum and zinc) that is fused to the core during the
rolling process. This material protects the tanks from the effects of heavy
metals and salts found in waters throughout the country. It is anodic to
these heavy metals and acts much like an anode in a steel glass lined
tank except it will last much longer. Aftermarket Anode Rods are not
required and should not be used and will void warranty.
This is the information I found on the following link: RV Water Heater Repair and Troubleshooting - Anode Rods, Smells, and More

"Atwood water heaters are of the glass-lined variety and an anode is not required."

Another link RV Tech Library - Water Heaters states

"Hot water heaters are made by two well known companies. You either have an Atwood hot water heater or a Suburban hot water heater. The biggest differences are that the Suburban hot water heater uses a steel tank while the Atwood uses an aluminum tank. Both tanks are glass lined but the Suburban uses a sacrificial anode rod to control corrosion in the tank while the aluminum clad Atwood tank does not use an anode rod.

Clear as mud. All that matters is that Suburban's have anode rods that must be changed every year whereas Atwoods do not have anode rods. When my Suburban tank bites the dust, I am replacing it with an Atwood.
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Old 02-25-2017, 03:27 PM   #12
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I am certain that I will be corrected but I don't see much need for anode rod if the water heater is drained after each outing. Since during use the water in the tank is being refreshed regularly.
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Old 02-25-2017, 05:07 PM   #13
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Went to a tankless heater 5 years ago. No more anode rods.
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:04 PM   #14
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I don't use them at home.

Here in Central Ohio there is an abundance of Sulfur in our well water. I am fortunate enough to only have enough that shows up when the Hot water is turned on. Tried both Magnesium and Aluminum rods to no avail. Even the plumbers in the area told me that they regularly cut the rods off. I am on my 2nd WH in 20 years so I suppose I am lucky.
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Old 02-25-2017, 11:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidecarFlip View Post
Better look again. 'Glass Lined' is really a spray on coating not glass in the actual term. Only the ultra high efficiency electric residential heaters have plastic (not metal tanks)(.

Atwood RV heaters are metal tanks, not mild steel but aluminum or stainless, not sure which. I had an Atwood in my other RV and no anode rod.
Most residential water heaters made by and sold under the A.O. SMITH brand have a true glass lining- a process first developed by that company nearly 100 years ago. I know this because my wife told me so- she worked for AO for 22 years.

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Old 02-26-2017, 04:29 AM   #16
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If I dug a basement here in S Louisiana all Id get is a very dirty shallow swimming pool.

We put our water heaters in the attic with a drain pan underneath in case of a leak. They are usually so close tot he roof that removing the anode would be impossible without completely draining it, unhooking it, layingit on its side to get the rod out and replaced.

NOBODY does it
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Old 02-26-2017, 04:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BandJCarm View Post
What's a 'basement'???
What's a 'house' ??
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:50 AM   #18
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What's a 'basement'???
I was going to ask the same thing.
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:47 AM   #19
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I was going to ask the same thing.
It is the large room below the house,,, it's where you go when you see a Tornado coming !!!
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Old 02-26-2017, 11:57 AM   #20
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Then we're in trouble. Some houses here have 'safe rooms' that are solid concrete all around, and a pre-stressed concrete ceiling. Most of us don't. We had a EF2 roll through part of our town last January and really roughed things up. People are still fixing up their battered homes.
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