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Old 09-30-2013, 06:48 PM   #1
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Water Heater Anode

I have a Suburban propane and electric water heater. It is time to change the anode rod. Should I use aluminum or magnesium? The original was magnesium. Comments?
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:10 PM   #2
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From what I know of anode rods...when comparing two, the faster / more a rod corrodes, the less the tank walls are corroding (corroding the rod instead of the tank). Magnesium is said to corrode faster than aluminum. They are also slightly more expensive (a few dollars). Looking at the life span of an RV water heater and how often you replace an anode rod, I'd say that there's not a whole lot of advantage either way. I'd stick with whatever it came with.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:40 PM   #3
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From what I know of anode rods...when comparing two, the faster / more a rod corrodes, the less the tank walls are corroding (corroding the rod instead of the tank). Magnesium is said to corrode faster than aluminum. They are also slightly more expensive (a few dollars). Looking at the life span of an RV water heater and how often you replace an anode rod, I'd say that there's not a whole lot of advantage either way. I'd stick with whatever it came with.
Suburban Water Heater Anode Rod magnesium in eBay Motors | eBay

Suburban Water Heater Anode Rod Aluminum 232768 | eBay

According to these, the magnesium is $1.99 cheaper
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:57 PM   #4
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Ah...about the same difference in the other direction from where ever it was I looked last. I'd call it a draw and stick the original back in, don't see any advantage either way.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:08 PM   #5
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I think if you check, you want aluminum for suburban and magnesium for atwood. The water heaters are made out of different materials.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:31 PM   #6
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The magnesium one would also make a great fire starter stick!
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:04 AM   #7
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The magnesium one would also make a great fire starter stick!
Wear you welding helmet before throwing a mag log in the fire !
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:39 AM   #8
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I think if you check, you want aluminum for suburban and magnesium for atwood. The water heaters are made out of different materials.
Atwoods don't use anode rods.
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:42 AM   #9
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I have a Suburban propane and electric water heater. It is time to change the anode rod. Should I use aluminum or magnesium? The original was magnesium. Comments?
Unless your anode is 3/4 eaten away it's probably OK.
You said "it's time" but I'm just sayin.....

I figured Lou would post his photos of various stages of anode life....
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:12 AM   #10
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Thanks for the input. I have read Lou's post on anode rods. Very informative.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:17 AM   #11
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Just a FYI thing for everyone who may read this and not know. We keep a copy of the anode rod usage chart that Lou posted in the FAQ section of the forums under the water heater topic.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...aqs-36254.html

There are tons of great information in the FAQ forums:
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:43 AM   #12
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Anode rod...in or out?

Along these lines, after you drain the hot water tank, when winterizing, do you leave the anode rod out till spring, or do you put it right back in?
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:47 AM   #13
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Along these lines, after you drain the hot water tank, when winterizing, do you leave the anode rod out till spring, or do you put it right back in?
After draining my tank, I always put mine back in to keep any kind of bugs/spiders/ants from being able to get in the tank......as well as keeping the rod itself from becoming contaminated with things that may get on it.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:18 AM   #14
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After draining my tank, I always put mine back in to keep any kind of bugs/spiders/ants from being able to get in the tank......as well as keeping the rod itself from becoming contaminated with things that may get on it.
Me too. I just hand tighten it because in the spring I rewrap the threads with new Teflon tape.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:23 AM   #15
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After draining my tank, I always put mine back in to keep any kind of bugs/spiders/ants from being able to get in the tank......as well as keeping the rod itself from becoming contaminated with things that may get on it.
Me too, too. My concern is the threads rusting on either the anode rod or the tank itself and not being able to get the rod back in come spring.

I sanitize the water system in the spring.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:46 AM   #16
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Atwoods don't use anode rods.
Though Atwoods have an aluminum tank, and do not come with a anode rod, they are still available. The last Atwood tank I had, the anode rod simply goes in place of the plastic drain plug. Obviously, the material would have to be magnesium to be sacrificial since the tank is already aluminum.

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Old 10-01-2013, 01:26 PM   #17
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Me too, too. My concern is the threads rusting on either the anode rod or the tank itself and not being able to get the rod back in come spring.
I leave mine in for 2/3 of the year...I use it about every month and a half, so it doesn't sit for too long. If I'm not going to be using it for longer than that, I drain and blow the lines and pull the rod. I replace it with a plug so the threads don't rust up.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:58 PM   #18
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After draining my tank, I always put mine back in to keep any kind of bugs/spiders/ants from being able to get in the tank......as well as keeping the rod itself from becoming contaminated with things that may get on it.
I just finished doing mine.

1) MAKE SURE the 120 volt AC switch is OFF!!! CLOSE the bypass valves first (this keeps the crud (Calcium nodules and bits of anode) from being sucked into the plumbing when you drain the tank). When you then pressurize that crud will clog your toilet valve and block your faucets.

2) Remove and inspect the anode. (1 1/16 inch socket required. DO NOT use vice grips or other wrench - bugger those threads and you may be buying a new heater). Also watch your shoes...

3) Flush out the remnants in the bottom of the heater. There will be lots of junk in there. I use a piece of small diameter vinyl tubing on a bib connected to the garden hose. It will flop around inside and flush out the crud.

4) I stick a long piece of paper towel in the hole and let it hang down outside. This creates a wick siphon and will remove the last of the water while I finish winterizing the rest of the camper.

5) When empty, I use Teflon pipe dope (or tape) on the threads. NEVER install the threads dry. They will weld themselves to the tank and you will have a VERY hard time getting it out next year. Just a wipe around to coat the threads.

6) Install the old rod (my OEM one lasted 4 years and most likely could have gone 2 more, but I replaced it this spring). See pictures of what a bad rod looks like.

7) Tighten rod snug but JUST enough for it not to leak. Easier to give it another turn than crank it in and not be able to get it out next year. It is pipe thread so about 1/2 of the threads will be visible.

That is it. Next year I just open the valves and pop the pressure relief valve to make sure it fills to the top before I try to heat the water.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:12 PM   #19
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Just a FYI thing for everyone who may read this and not know. We keep a copy of the anode rod usage chart that Lou posted in the FAQ section of the forums under the water heater topic.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...aqs-36254.html

There are tons of great information in the FAQ forums:
Thanks for that (and thank to Lou for posting it again). I just pulled my anode rod out yesterday and wondered if it needed to be replaced. It looks good.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:31 PM   #20
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Thanks for that (and thank to Lou for posting it again). I just pulled my anode rod out yesterday and wondered if it needed to be replaced. It looks good.
Can you tell me where the FAQ section is using an iPad?
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